Dining in Costa Rica can be as informal or as fancy as your heart desires. From typical Costa Rican sodas to five star gourmet restaurants in swanky hotels, there is something for everyone in this tropical paradise.
Practically anywhere the country, you can always find a small soda, or typical restaurant, serving up traditional, finger licking Costa Rican food. These places usually attract fewer tourists, making them fantastic places to meet and mingle with Ticos and learn about Costa Rican culture.
Gallo Pinto, a plate of rice and beans, is usually served for breakfast with eggs, cheese and toast. For lunch and dinner, casados are the norm. “Casado” means “married” in Spanish – and this enormous plate is matrimony of fresh salad, hearty beans, fluffy white rice and a serving of beef, pork, chicken or fish. Sometimes it is accompanied by a scrumptious fried platano to satisfy your sweet tooth. After dining, you can’t go wrong ordering pan de elote (corn bread), pudin (bread pudding) and tres leches (three milk sponge cake) for dessert. For something cold, head to the local grocery store for a trit ice cream sandwich.
Thanks to such a diverse population, many nationalities are represented in the cuisine throughout the nation. In terms of Mediterranean food, Santa Teresa definitely takes the cake. This surfer beach town is flooded with Israelis – and as a result there is an Israeli restaurant on every corner with fantastic fares like schnitzel, hummus and falafel. Costa Rica also has a large Chinese population, which is reflective in the various Chinese restaurants in any given town.
In places like Playa Samara, there are surprising populations of relocated Italians that own restaurants serving up exquisite Italian food. Who would have thought that you would have been able to find pizza on par with on you’d find in Italy in this small pocket of the world?