San Jose Restaurants

Costa Rica's capital beckons with the country's most varied and cosmopolitan restaurant scene. Italian, Spanish, Asian, French, Middle Eastern, Peruvian—they're all here, along with upscale Costa Rican cuisine.Wherever you eat in San José, be it a small soda or a sophisticated restaurant, dress is casual. Meals tend to be taken
Costa Rica's capital beckons with the country's most varied and cosmopolitan restaurant scene. Italian, Spanish, Asian, French, Middle Eastern, Peruvian—they're all here, along with upscale Costa Rican cuisine.Wherever you eat in San José, be it a small soda or a sophis
Costa Rica's capital beckons with the country's most varied and cosmopolitan restaurant scene. Italian, Spanish, Asian,

Costa Rica's capital beckons with the country's most varied and cosmopolitan restaurant scene. Italian, Spanish, Asian, French, Middle Eastern, Peruvian—they're all here, along with upscale Costa Rican cuisine.

Wherever you eat in San José, be it a small soda or a sophisticated restaurant, dress is casual. Meals tend to be taken earlier than in other Latin American countries; few restaurants serve past 9 or 10 pm. Local cafés usually open for breakfast at 7 am and remain open until 7 or 8 in the evening. Restaurants serving international cuisine are usually open from 11 am to 9 pm. Some cafés that serve mainly San José office workers limit evening hours and close entirely on Sunday. Restaurants that do open on Sunday do a brisk business: it's the traditional family day out (and the maid's day off). Watch your things, no matter where you dine. Even at the best restaurants, thieves occasionally target purses slung over chair arms or placed under chairs.

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  • 1. Grano de Oro Restaurant

    $$$ | Paseo Colón | Eclectic

    One of the city’s premier lodgings, the Grano de Oro also houses one of San Jose's top dining destinations. The hotel’s splendid restaurant...Read More

  • 2. Jürgen's

    $$$ | Barrio Dent | Eclectic

    A common haunt for políticos, Jürgen's attracts San José's elites, and you'll feel pretty elite too when you dine here. Decorated in gold...Read More

  • 3. Kalú

    $$$ | Barrio Escalante | Eclectic

    Camille Ratton, a longtime fixture on San José's restaurant scene, owns and manages one of the capital's hippest dining spots. The panini and...Read More

  • 4. Le Chandelier

    $$$$ | French

    San José doesn't get classier than this restaurant, where formal service and traditional sauce-heavy French dishes are part of the experience...Read More

  • 5. Tin Jo

    $$$ | Asian

    The colorful dining rooms of this converted house just southeast of downtown evoke Japan, India, China, Indonesia, and Thailand. In the Thai...Read More

  • 6. Alma de Café

    $ | Costa Rican

    Duck into the Teatro Nacional's sumptuous café, off the theater lobby, to sit at a marble table and sip a hazelnut mocha beneath frescoed ceilings...Read More

  • 7. Café de la Posada

    $ | Café

    The lack of alfresco dining in this tropical city is disappointing, but this café's covered terrace with tables fronting the pedestrian-only...Read More

  • 8. Café Mundo

    $$ | Barrio Otoya | Café

    You could easily walk by this corner restaurant without noticing its tiny sign behind the foliage. The upstairs café serves meals on a porch...Read More

  • 9. Chelles

    $ | Costa Rican

    Part bar, part soda , this downtown San José institution has been dishing up tasty, filling, and huge portions of típico food for a century...Read More

  • 10. Don Wang

    $$ | Chinese

    In a country where "Chinese cuisine" often means rice and vegetables bearing a suspicious resemblance to gallo pinto (the typical Costa Rican...Read More

  • 11. Giacomín

    $ | Los Yoses

    We have to admit that Costa Rican baked goods tend toward the dry-as-dust end of the spectrum. But Italian-style bakery Giacomín, near the University...Read More

  • 12. L'Olivo

    $$$ | Paseo Colón | Italian

    The same owners behind the west-side lodging Suites Cristina also operate this little bit of Tuscany a few blocks north of La Sabana Park. The...Read More

  • 13. La Criollita

    $ | Costa Rican

    Kick off your day with breakfast here. Mornings are the perfect time to snag one of the precious tables in the back garden, an unexpected refuge...Read More

  • 14. La Terrasse

    $$$ | Barrio Otoya | French

    The main-course offerings at this cozy restaurant rotate, but might include a blanquette de veau (veal ragout) or a daube provençale (a...Read More

  • 15. La Trattoria

    $$ | Barrio Dent | Italian

    The green and gold here might make a Green Bay Packers fan feel right at home, but it's the excellent, reasonably priced homemade pastas that...Read More

  • 16. Lubnan

    $$ | Paseo Colón | Middle Eastern

    Negotiate the quirky wrought-iron-and-burlap revolving door at the entrance and you've made it into one of San José's few Middle Eastern restaurants...Read More

  • 17. Machu Picchu

    $$ | Paseo Colón | Peruvian

    A few travel posters and a net holding crab and lobster shells are the only props used to evoke Peru, but no matter: the food is anything but...Read More

  • 18. Mantras Veggie Café

    $ | Barrio Escalante | Vegetarian

    This newest entry in the San José veggie-dining scene is more homey and less institutional than its competitors, and it's become all the rage...Read More

  • 19. Nuestra Tierra

    $ | Costa Rican

    Except for the traffic zipping by on one of San José's busiest thoroughfares—opt for a table on the side facing less busy Calle 15—you might...Read More

  • 20. Olio

    $$ | Barrio Escalante | Mediterranean

    Although this combination pub and restaurant serves the full contingent of Mediterranean cuisine, it's best for drinks and Spanish-style tapas...Read More

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