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. Gusto Beach Creativo

    $$$

    A romantic setting, ocean breezes, and a creative Italian menu make this the one of the most popular restaurants in Sámara. By day, rustic wooden...Read More

  • 2. La Luna

    $$$

    Dawn to dusk, this casually chic restaurant overlooking Playa Pelada is the most scenic place to have breakfast, lunch, cocktails, or dinner, with tables spilling...Read More

  • 3. Nectar

    $$$

    Fresh seafood is the specialty at this poolside alfresco restaurant, with inventive daily specials that focus on the day's catch prepared with Asian and Mediterranean...Read More

  • 4. Playa de los Artistas

    $$$

    Arty driftwood tables and sculpted chairs scattered along the rocky beach and an inventive Mediterranean menu have made this one of the most scenic, as...Read More

  • 5. Restaurant Deevena

    $$$

    An unexpected outpost of divine French cuisine, this oasis of elegance overlooks a sparkling blue pool edged by lush palms, while lounge chairs shaded by...Read More

  • 6. Ylang Ylang Restaurant

    $$$

    One of Montezuma's most scenic and sophisticated restaurants, Ylang Ylang is nestled between the beach and the jungle, offering views of waves crashing against the...Read More

  • 7. Bistro Cantarana

    $$ | International

    You can usually count on creative, au courant dinners at this upscale, pricey second-story restaurant in the trees. The menu changes depending...Read More

  • 8. Cocolores

    $$$

    Follow the glow of multicolor lanterns to this dinner-only, open-air eatery within sight and sound of the ocean. The simple wooden tables are on a...Read More

  • 9. La Dolce Vita

    $$ | Italian

    Two Italian brothers offer well-prepared Italian classics, as well as some interesting seafood dishes like tuna tartare and tagliolini with...Read More

  • 10. Langosta Beach Club

    $$$ | French

    This beach club–restaurant–lounge–jazz club is the most romantic and sophisticated dining spot on the beach. By day, you can lounge by the pool...Read More

  • 11. 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

  • 12. Restaurante Al Chile Viola

    $$

    Chefs Emiliano and Luz from Florence will challenge your taste buds with imaginative dishes using authentic Italian ingredients like traditional homemade pastas including beef lasagna,...Read More

  • 13. Sentido Norte

    $$$

    Come for the ocean views, stay for the bounty of Costa Rican cuisine. The chef here uses local favorites like chayote and hearts of palm,...Read More

  • 14. Mario's Cuisine

    $$$$

    A set four-course dinner, by reservation only, served at 8 pm sharp, in the home of prodigy-chef Mario Rivera, makes this underground supper club one...Read More

  • 15. Septimo Cielo

    $$

    Every gourmet dish at this French restaurant is suited to the tastes of an epicure. Taking you to “Seventh Heaven” are starters like the pumpkin...Read More

  • 16. Tabanuco Beachfront Restaurante & Bar

    $$$

    Right on the beach, this lively nightspot also has an elegant terrace restaurant that's romantically torch-lighted at night. Come for fresh ceviche and grilled whole...Read More

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