As perhaps Central America’s most welcoming country, it’s no surprise that the restaurants here in San José represent a variety of cultures from those who have come to make Costa Rica home. Try these top places to eat in Costa Rica while experiencing flavors from all over the world.
For an exceptionally well-crafted evening, make sure to seek out the Park Cafe. This gastronomic restaurant, located by the large Sabana Park, provides only the best and will not sacrifice quality for a larger influx of guests; so much so that you will need to make reservations here in advance. Whether sitting inside, surrounded by antiques, or in the elegant garden outside, the Park Cafe provides an intimate environment to enjoy an evening with close companions. The gourmet, European-inspired dishes, crafted by Richard Neat, are inventive and beautifully presented. The array of pictures on Neat’s blog exhibit his skill. In light of the precision required to create the evening, expect to take your time soaking up the entire experience.
With a setting that feels almost more like an art gallery than a restaurant, Café de los Deseos whisks you away to a funky evening that is, in a word, hip. With dishes inspired by cultures all over the world, it really will fulfill your deseos (wishes). They offer a variety of coffee drinks and alcoholic beverages including craft beer and sangria.
Restaurante Grano De ORO, San José | Courtesy of Andiamo La
Restaurante Grano de Oro
The fine-dining restaurant Grano de Oro, located in the boutique hotel of the same name, serves gourmet cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Featuring both European and Costa Rican dishes, the restaurant offers a variety of flavors as well as an extensive wine list. It’s no surprise the restaurant has gained such an outstanding reputation with alluring dishes such as the ‘a foie gras crème brûlée with caramelized pears. For a look behind the scenes, check out this tantalizing short video.
This Italian restaurant located in the neighborhood of Santa Ana is not to be missed while visiting San José. Enjoy traditional Italian dishes such as gourmet pizzas, ravioli, pannacotta, antipastos, calamari and gnocchi that will make you feel like you’re in Italy. The the welcoming ambiance and attentive staff make for a relaxed experience, attracting even famous clientele such as actor Chris Hemsworth.
Found in one of the most artistic areas of the city, the Escalante neighborhood, Kalú itself is a work of art. The building is home to not only the restaurant and terrace seating, but also the eye-catching Boutique Kiosco and Cafeoteca, a coffee bar where purely Costa Rican coffee is available. Inspired chef Camille Ratton creates an array of dishes that range from Indonesian vegetable soup to falafel to quiche. See the Kalú website’s gallery of photos as well as the enticing (and oh-so-well-designed) menu. Be sure to look around the boutique afterwards as it features Costa Rican artisanry.
This establishment in the heart of San José, while not large is sure make a big impression. The restaurant, somewhat of a hidden gem that you might miss just walking down the street, serves both French and Swiss food, made by the personable and attentive chef. Try familiar French foods such as cordon bleu, pâté, or escargot made with care. And be sure to give your regards to the chef on the way out!
In neighborhood of Escazu you will find this cleverly-named restaurant (they put a twist on the title of Dante’s classic, replacing “comedy” with ‘comida’, meaning ‘food’ in Spanish) which brings a bit of South America to Costa Rica. Described as “Peruvian Fusion”, La Divina Comida specializes in seafood plates such as ceviche. The restaurant is headed by the renowned chef Marco Antonio Ganoza, who even has his own series of lifestyle videos called La Dolce Vida.
La Esquina de Buenos Aires, San José | Courtesy of La Bodeguita Del Medio
La Esquina de Buenos Aires
To visit this restaurant is to feel like you are in the Argentine capital itself. Found in the center of San José, La Esquina de Buenos Aires brings the best of the Buenos Aires parrilla (grill) into an inviting environment. Pictures of Argentina’s iconography line the walls as soft music plays in the background. The steak, of course, comes highly recommended and the establishment has a variety of wines to accompany the meal. For a classy evening of fine Argentine food, La Esquina de Buenos Aires is the place to go in Costa Rica.
For a taste of Cuba, make your way over to La Bodeguita Del Medio on Paseo Colon. This fun environment makes for a lively evening of drinks with friends. While plantain and yuca-based dishes can be found in abundance, you might want to go for Cuban chicken or roasted pork as your main meal. Along with an impressive selection of drinks, Bodeguita Del Medio boasts that they serve ‘The Best Mojito in the World’, which you will have to taste for yourself.
Le Chandelier in Los Yoses specializes in authentic French cuisine, and they do it well. This establishment is both fancy and accommodating; its several different rooms vary in size and style, fitting a range of events from weddings to business meetings to simply lounging around. See the website’s gallery of delectable dishes.