San Jose is a gastronomically diverse city where visitors and locals alike can indulge in a delicious variety of dining options. Throughout the city, there are well-known restaurants and also hidden gems where breakfast and brunch reign supreme.
Bakery, Bistro, Cafe, Vegetarian, Central American, $$$
The Whisk is an artisanal bakery and café that is all the rave among the San Jose residents and those who are just passing through the area. They are best known for their assortment of homemade baked goods and sandwiches. There is a small, regular menu, with creative specials added each day. Stop in for a grab-and-go breakfast or get cozy and enjoy your brunch in the inviting atmosphere.
Maza Café Bistro has continually received high praise for their exquisite cuisine and eclectic vibe. The bistro is located next to the city park (Parque National) and even offers patrons a picnic basket option—packed in a real picnic basket with blanket—for taking their brunch with them to dine in the park. Maza Café Bistro serves up traditional Costa Rican breakfast, eggs benedict, sandwiches, mimosas, and a divine bloody Mary, among many other options. This is truly one of the best places in town for brunch.
This tiny little café is packed full of flavorful pastries and coffees. It is said that they make the best empanadas in San Jose too. The atmosphere is perfectly conducive with sharing a coffee and a chat with a friend, or relaxing solo with a book and a savory empanada. Café Miel Garage is highly recommended by an assortment of reviewers and is an excellent choice if you are in the mood for a nutrient-packed smoothie, a sweet homemade treat, or a specialty coffee.
Restuarante Grano de Oro has been named one of the best restaurants in all of San Jose. This French fusion, high-end establishment serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and is part of the five-star Hotel Grano de Oro in downtown San Jose. The breakfast menu is delicious and offers plates like truffle eggs, pancakes with roasted bananas and caramelized macadamia nuts, French toast stuffed with mango and sweet cream, and huevos ranchero served with homemade crispy tortillas. The afternoon menu offers unique small plates such as a grilled cheese, prosciutto, arugula, and tomato marmalade sandwich, three different quiches, and mini empanadas. The menu in itself should be enough to get you drooling!
Kalú has an irresistible and creatively diverse menu for breakfast, brunch, late lunch, and dessert. They also have a great selection of artisanal beers and ciders, wine, and specialty coffees. There are plates for two to share and small dishes to satiate snack time. Kalú prepares dishes such as super tacos with kale, BBQ pork on a homemade brioche, fresh ceviche, made-to-order omelets, and falafels, among dozens of other choices.
Pandeli is a Mediterranean inspired café and store. Think serrano ham, capers, feta cheese, olive oil and fresh vegetables. Pandeli offers a great selection of sandwiches, paninis, salads, and pastries. Everything is fresh, authentic, homemade, and relatively healthy. Pandeli is a breakfast and lunch gem. It is also a great spot to select food for a picnic.
Tortillería Y Café might be budget-friendly, but it is rich in traditional dishes and flavors for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you are looking for traditional Costa Rican breakfast options, this is a perfect pick. Start your day with gallo pinto, homemade tortillas, eggs, and sweet plantains. They even have cheese-stuffed tortillas, which are a must-try. The coffee is top-notch and made to order using a chorreador, the traditional method of brewing in Costa Rica. Tortillería Y Café is authentic, affordable, and absolutely delicious.
Alma de Café makes sinfully decadent coffee creations, ice cream dishes, chocolate drinks, smoothies, crêpes, salads, sandwiches, lasagnas, and quiches. The creative combination of ingredients and flavors in each one of their concoctions is unique. Alma de Café is a worthwhile culinary experience for those in the San Jose area on the quest for breakfast or brunch.
Tenedor Argentino has a truly enticing menu complete with a variety of sandwiches, salads, empanadas, grilled meats, burgers, and more. They offer great desserts, coffees, and wines too. This is a highly recommended place for a more lunch-style brunch. The smells and flavors exuding from this establishment will definitely amp up your appetite. The atmosphere is energetic, the service is great, and the food is noteworthy.