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Been to Costa Rica? What restaurants do you recommend?

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Going to CR next week. Just wondering if anyone local has tips for great eating. Any suggestions for organic markets or cafes will be much appreciated. Our 1st night will be in San Jose, then we will head to the Osa Peninsula. It seems that CR is not high on the Foodie list, but there are gems everywhere (we hope!).
Gracias.

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  1. Well people who think that Costa Rica doesn't have good food probably don't know the country very well. In Osa Peninsula you should probably stick to typical food as it is very rustic (almost no roads). If you happen to be in Drake Bay, the Drake Bay Resort has quite good fresh food from their organic farm, although it is hit or miss depending on the day. In San Jose There are very good Italian places for example. YOu can try Andiamo La on the road from San Jose to Cartago about 20 min from downtown San Jose for the best beef carpaccio I have tried (including NYC) other notable italian places are Il Torinio in Escazu and el Olivo in Sabana Norte. Best Spanish places are Casa Luisa in Sabana Sur, La tasca del novillo on the road to Santa Ana is excellent. For fusion International Costa Rican try el Grano de Oro in Paseo Colon. Amazing Argentine imported cuts at el novillo Alegre off el puente de los Anonos between Pavas and Escazu, etc..

    1 Reply
    1. re: armandia

      In Zancudo, there was a great restaurant that was run by this Italian guy out of his house. Simple and super fresh pastas and pizza. It's been about 8 years since I've been there, and I still think about that meal.

    2. gran de oro and yes i agree novillo alegre defefinetly has great steak.......havent ried the italian places mentioned but di bartolo is really good but expensive italian its on the back road of guacheplilin. also my favorite place at the moment is tonico604 its izakaya type japanese pub fare. in la sabana close to the pollo camperos, it has a huge green bonsai as a sign you cant miss it

      1. We just came back from a two-week trip to rural northwestern Costa Rica with Overseas Adventure Travel. Generally we found that the food in the hotels was generic meat-and-potatoes, prepared so as not to challenge North American tastes. It's wholesome and nutritious, and it won't make you sick, but it won't make you very happy either. It's often served with rather bland black-beans and rice. My wife is Cuban, and a very good cook, so we were not really prepared for this. On the other hand, the food in the local Costa Rican restaurants was usually very good, at least the ones we were taken to by our OAT guide, who was a local and very experienced. Some were a bit out-of-the-way (bumpy dirt roads and that). I'll look through my receipts and see if I have come up with a list of names and locations. I suspect, though, that these sorts of restaurants are common throughout the country.

        1 Reply
        1. re: TomOHaver

          I live in Costa Rica and am hooked on arroz y frijoles. Rice and beans are a staple of the Costa Rican diet. Sadly, hotels rarely do these items justice. A trip to any local restaurant is a great way to experience these humble side dishes as they are meant to be eaten.

          My rule of thumb is to look for the spot where the locals eat. And order there. Usually, I get a casado (married man's meal) which is a protein (beef, chicken, pork or fish) served with rice, black beans and veggie in the form of picadillo. This is a veggie chopped and cooked with spices. My favorite is zucchini in a milk sauce.

          The reply is a little late for the original poster but hopefully can help a future traveler.

        2. We used Trip Advisor for a reference and ended up staying and eating at an Eco-Lodge in Uvita, just at the top of the Osa Peninsula called La Cusinga. The lodge is beautiful but the restaurant (which is open to guests all the time and to the public three nights a week) is run by a chef from San Francisco and the food was amazing. He uses all local organic ingredients and fresh caught fish. We ate there both nights we stayed at La Cusinga and would definitely go again.