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. 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

  • 2. Mama Gui

    $$

    Located at Giada Hotel, poolside tables and ultrasophisticated cuisine make this Italian restaurant the best dining spot in Samara. Chef Gigio Palazzo prepares dishes with...Read More

  • 3. Casa Almendro

    $$

    The best perch along the Paseo de los Turistas is a table on the breezy veranda of this updated seafood and grill restaurant with a...Read More

  • 4. Ice Dream

    $

    Literally, the coolest place in town is this blissfully air-conditioned ice-cream parlor with an array of refreshing Italian gelato flavors, cool fruit smoothies, and milk...Read More

  • 5. Le Bistrot at Giardino Tropicale

    $$ | Mediterranean

    Famous for its wood-oven pizzas, this breezy, all-wood restaurant with tree-trunk pillars is set amidst trees above the hotel of the same name...Read More

  • 6. Panadería y Café Cabuya

    $

    The best place to stop before or after a visit to Cabo Blanco is this pleasant terrace café with perhaps the best baked goods in...Read More

  • 7. Beach Box

    $

    On the dirt road to Playa Avellanas, just before you hit the water, is the appropriately named Beach Box—a breakfast joint serving fresh-squeezed juices and...Read More

  • 8. Garden 248 Gastropub

    $$$

    Look for the string of paper lanterns over a white-pebble patio and you'll know you’ve arrived at this cool spot famous for creative cuisine and...Read More

  • 9. Tibidabo

    $$$

    The decor here is minimalist—polished gray concrete floor, modern tables and chairs, stainless-steel overhead fans—but the food is a cornucopia of classic Catalonian tapas and...Read More

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