Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula Restaurants

Seafood and fresh fish are tops here, followed by fast food—pizza, tacos, barbecue—to satisfy the hordes of hungry surfers and beachgoers. But there are many sophisticated restaurants, too, offering Asian-fusion, Italian, French, and international cuisine, especially in the tourist-heavy beach towns of Hermosa, Flamingo, Tamarindo, Nosara, and Sámara. Many restaurants, especially tourist-oriented ones with dollar-denominated menus, do not include the 13% tax plus mandatory 12% service. By law, menus are required to show the total price including tax, but many owners flout this law. Be sure to ask if taxes are included; otherwise you may be surprised by a bill that’s 25% higher than you expected.

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  • 1. Costa Rica Sailing Center

    $$

    Relax beachside at the most laid-back yacht club you'll ever visit. There are bonfires after dark, live music, and sometimes an event like a chili...Read More

  • 2. El Chivo Cantina

    $$ | Mexican

    With an atmosphere as fun and funky as the luchadora (Mexican wrestler) legend for which it's named, everyone will have a great time and an...Read More

  • 3. Tres Hermanas Bar-B-Q & Grill

    $$$

    This roadside grill is home to the country's best barbecued pork and beef, slow roasted for 16 to 18 hours over a wood fire and...Read More

  • 4. Café de Paris

    $$

    Vestiges of the original Swiss-French owners linger on at this bakery and alfresco eatery, open for breakfast and lunch. In addition to hearty sandwiches, the...Read More

  • 5. Café Del Sol

    $$$

    There's something for everyone any time of day at this three-story bakery/bistro/lounge/cocktail bar.  In the morning, there are savory quiches and homemade granola as well...Read More

  • 6. Dragonfly Bar & Grill

    $$$

    Paper lanterns suspended over wooden tables and polished concrete floors bring rustic elegance to this A-frame restaurant supported by tree-trunk columns. The place has been...Read More

  • 7. El Lagarto Steakhouse and Seafood

    $$$

    El Lagarto serves up fresh, local seafood and high-quality meat, grilled to perfection on a massive, open-air, wood-fired barbecue. Sink your teeth into juicy tenderloin,...Read More

  • 8. El Sano Banano Restaurant

    $$

    Montezuma’s first natural-food restaurant is named after the chewy dried bananas made by the owners, who also own the upscale Ylang Ylang resort on...Read More

  • 9. Gracia Mar Vista

    $$$

    Tucked into the hills of the gated Mar Vista community, this open-air restaurant comes complete with dazzling ocean views, infinity pools for guests to enjoy,...Read More

  • 10. La Purruja

    $$

    While the day away listening to reggae, sipping on cold drinks, watching the surfers, and snacking on beach food. You can't beat the views or...Read More

  • 11. Little Lucha

    $

    Decorated with figurines and images of Mexican wrestlers, with a VW bus for the bar, this restaurant serves authentic Mexico City street tacos. Feel the...Read More

  • 12. Makoko

    $$$

    At El Mangroove’s trendy poolside restaurant, guests can dine with a glimpse of the ocean or head indoors to the more formal dining room enclosed...Read More

  • 13. Marlin Bill's

    $$

    Carnivores can sink their teeth into a 22-ounce bone-in, rib-eye steak or 16-ounce pork chops in American-size portions at this open-air restaurant with a great...Read More

  • 14. Nogui's

    $$$

    Pleasing a loyal legion of local fans since 1974, Nogui's offers a hearty menu of seafood and meat dishes that pair perfectly with a tamarind...Read More

  • 15. Pizzeria La Baula

    $$

    Wildly popular, this casually chic, alfresco pizzeria on a quiet side street has plenty of cars parked outside most nights, with patrons inside feasting on...Read More

  • 16. Restaurante Nicoya

    $$

    Nicoya has a few Chinese restaurants, but this one stands out for being the most central and atmospheric, with hanging lanterns, a colorful collection of...Read More

  • 17. The Shack

    $$

    A popular spot with expats who come for the cold beers, burritos, burgers, and pura vida vibe, The Shack successfully blends a Tico menu with...Read More

  • 18. Upstairs at the RipJack Inn

    $$$ | Seafood

    Chow down at this casual place a block from the beach, or party at the extensive bar, which occupies about a third of the restaurant. Portions...Read More

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