San Jose Costa Rica
I spend a lot of time in Costa Rica but I am from Vancouver; a city whose restaurants are known to combine fresh food, local flair, unique menus, ambience, scenery and amazing service. Costa Rica quite often fails in one or more of those categories so it's nice to have some suggestions for good eats in CR. Here is a list to get you started compiled by my good friend and long time resident of Costa Rica. We are foodies so many of these places are a little high-end (by Tico standards)
Park Café – La Sabana – Fantastic. The only CR chef with a Michelin star. Also an interesting Antiques shop.
Beirut – very good Lebanese food in La Sabana. Very friendly owner. The lamb is amazing.
Da Marco – Great Italian food hidden away in Santa Ana.
Lo Spago de Marco – Best pizza in Costa Rica
Tin Jo – A decent mix of all things Asian downtown. Service is slow but the food and selection is good.
Lemongrass – Good Thai food near Il Panino.
Bacchus – Very good Mediterranean in downtown Santa Ana. Highly recommend.
Jurgen’s – San Pedro. Excellent International food. A bit pricey.
El Fogoncito – For Mexican tacos this is the best you’ll get in Costa Rica. Not great by Mexican standards though.
Doc Brown’s – Good burgers & salad in La Sabana and in my opinion the best soup you'll find in CR.
Café DiBartolo – Escazu. The best restaurant in CR. A bit pricey.
MiSala - Miami chic setting, beautiful people and very reliably good food.
3 Scalini – Very good Italian in Santa Ana.
Macchu Pichu – Good Peruvian seafood but the restaurant is nothing fancy.
Inka Grill - Also good Peruvian and offers a much nicer dining room, hipper crowd than Macchu Pichu.
L’Olivo – Always good Italian in La Sabana.
Hotel Grano de Oro – Good breakfast, lunch & dinner and gorgeous space.
Café Mundo – Great lunch spot on the east side of downtown.
Sash - great atmosphere and good Lebanese food. Belly dancers, fun seating arrangements
Rhapsodia - hit or miss on the service and the crowd will be very different depending on the night of the week. Its a lounge/club so it can get loud and crowded but often it's quiet and chill. The antipasto plate is excellent and the menu options are all quite good for a night out type meal. La Sabana
Hotel Poseidon – Jaco. Excellent tuna. Period!
Tsunami – Really and truly delicious sushi. Incredibly fresh fish and some interesting menu items.
Lemon Zest – Really good food in Jaco
I'll second Grano de Oro. Some colleagues and I were working in a more remote part of the country for a couple of months last year, and when we finally had a couple days off we went to San Jose to experience something remotely city-like.
The Grano de Oro is a beautiful space, excellent service (certainly for the country/region in terms of "fine dining"), and the food was delicious! Now, that might be partly influenced by the fact that I would have freaked out if I'd had one more day filled with Gallo Pinto, Sandia, Pina, and Casado Typico.
But we all felt it was quite nice!
I had a nice meal at the Grano de Oro. Excellent service throughout the meal - waters never went empty and they were professional and attentive. They had great cocktails... I think I had something with rum and sugar cane juice. They also brought an amuse bouche but I can't remember anymore what it was. My entree was a nicely cooked macadamian crusted seabass. The dessert was a fois gras creme brulee which was different but not necessarily in a good way, the only miss of the night.