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. Café Liberia

    $$$

    Step back 150 years into one of Liberia's grandest mansions, complete with an original ceiling painting of cupids, doves, and garlands of flowers. Creative takes...Read More

  • 2. Casa Inti

    $$$

    This friendly lunchtime Peruvian café has a revolving menu of flavorful delights made from fresh ingredients that are almost as beautiful as they are tasty....Read More

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. Pangas Beach Club

    $$$

    You can’t get any closer to the water than at this outdoor beach garden, where rustic tables are shaded by enormous ficus trees draped with...Read More

  • 7. Patagonia Del Mar

    $$$ | Asian

    This open-air Argentinian grill has a lovely ambience, great views of the beach across the street, and even better steak and seafood. Lounge...Read More

  • 8. 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

  • 9. 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

  • 10. Seasons by Shlomy

    $$$

    At his intimate, poolside restaurant in the casually chic Hotel Arco Iris, innovative Israeli-born and Cordon Bleu–trained chef Shlomy Koren transforms fresh local ingredients into...Read More

  • 11. The Lookout

    $$$

    As if the breathtaking view high in the hills above Playas del Coco weren't enough (you may recognize it from its feature on the television...Read More

  • 12. 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

  • 13. 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

  • 14. Angelina’s

    $$$

    Guanacaste-inspired and locally sourced, the cuisine here pays tribute to the owner's Italian roots with dishes like lobster tail served with homemade black pasta. This...Read More

  • 15. 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

  • 16. Citron

    $$$

    It might not be beachfront, but this snazzy restaurant has an upscale vibe with hardwood floors, white brick walls, and a wine bar shaking up...Read More

  • 17. 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

  • 18. 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

  • 19. El Colibrí Steakhouse

    $$$

    Sink your chops into steak (rib eye, New York, or T-bone) grilled on an open fire and served Argentine-style with garlicky chimichurri sauce at this...Read More

  • 20. 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

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