As a lively beach town on Costa Rica‘s Pacific North coast, Tamarindo pretty much has it all – multiple surf breaks, great accommodation, boutique shopping, yoga studios, Spanish schools, not to mention over 100 restaurants and bars. Take a look at these local recommendations for the most delicious spots in town.
Pangas Beach Club
Restaurant, Fusion, Seafood, Central American, Gluten-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, $$$
Pangas is a favorite with locals and visitors alike. The ambience and setting are both unbeatable, as it sits on the far north end of the beach overlooking the Tamarindo estuary. While not physically far away from the rest of town, it feels peacefully removed from it all. The fresh fusion fare is divine – the menu has something for vegetarians, meat-eaters, and seafood lovers. This is a great place to go with a group and split a bunch of different items. It is also a perfect spot to have a sunset cocktail and appetizer.
Seasons is a restaurant in a class all of its own. It is a spot that could easily be missed because of its tucked away location off of the beach, but definitely should not be missed. The menu is Mediterranean inspired and mainly seafood and vegetarian dishes, although there are some meat options. Shlomy’s creations are truly unique and will leave a lasting impression and craving for more. Make sure you bring cash, as credit cards are not accepted.
Bamboo Sushi Club is an intimate and tastefully-decorated restaurant located in the heart of Tamarindo – though once you walk into the garden-like setting, it is quiet and romantic. They have a great selection of traditional and unique speciality rolls, as well as salads, noodle and rice bowls, sashimi, dumplings, and other Asian-inspired dishes. The fish is always fresh and with the exception of salmon, caught in Costa Rica.
Dragonfly Bar and Grill is one of the top picks for places to grab dinner in Tamarindo. This beautiful outdoor restaurant has a small menu with some very big flavors. The menu is a creative blend of Costa Rican flavors and ingredients mixed in with international inspirations. The portion sizes are perfect and everything on the menu is a good choice. They have a great wine, cocktail, and craft beer menu, as well. Dragonfly frequently has live music and is a wonderful place to spend an evening out.
Be prepared for awesome | Courtesy of Wok and Roll
Wok and Roll is a local favorite. Conveniently located in people-watching central, this Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, and Mongolian fusion restaurant has an impressive menu with dishes that you will find nowhere else in town – there’s everything from sushi and woks, to duck tacos and samoas, as well as locally-raised oysters. The biggest challenge is deciding what to eat because everything sounds (and is) so good.
Cafe, Bodega, Fast Food, Vegetarian, Coffee, Tea , BBQ, $$$
Perfect patio to enjoy a delicious meal on | Courtesy of La Bodega
La Bodega is an organic café and store that is one of the best places for breakfast or lunch. They have incredible sandwiches on homemade fresh bread, salads, baked goods, coffees, juices, and much more. Each day there are three special sandwiches available, such as BBQ pulled pork, mahi-mahi, and marinated vegetables. You can buy locally-made raw honey, energy bars, coconut oil, artisan soaps, coffee, cheeses, granola, and kombucha from La Bodega’s little store.
Blackened mahi-mahi tacos, beer, and local hot sauce | Courtesy of Sprout
Sprout is a superb lunch and dinner spot right across the street from the beach that serves up organic, locally, and sustainably ingredient-sourced creative dishes. They have giant and veggie-loaded salads, pulled pork sliders, tacos, sandwiches, and red snapper and mahi-mahi plates. They make delicious iced teas and smoothies, and have a full cocktail menu too. Sprout is a laid-back and casual spot that offers high-quality environmentally and health-friendly options.
Pizzaria, Restaurant, Italian, Vegan, Vegetarian, Fast Food, $$$
Best pizza in town! | Courtesy of La Esquina
La Esquina has 19 different pizzas, calzones, a variety of appetizers, and a diverse main course menu which includes fish tacos, homemade pastas, hamburgers, and chicken fingers. Needless to say, there is something delicious for everyone here, but, the pizzas are really something special., while the service and food are exceptional. They also have a small playground area, which is great for occupying the kids while the adults tuck in.
Cafe, Gluten-free, Vegan, Vegetarian, Coffee, Tea , Fast Food, $$$
Post-surf ginger green tea and a homebaked pastry | Courtesy of Matty's Deli Cafe
Matty’s Deli Café is a gastronomical gem in Langosta (a small community a mile down the road to the south from central Tamarindo). Here you will find a mouthwatering menu of prepared to order breakfast and lunch options. Everything is homemade, fresh, and perfectly crafted to satisfy your daytime hunger. Matty’s menu includes dishes such as B.L.A.T (bacon, lettuce, avocado, and tomato) sandwich, homemade meatball sub, pear gorgonzola salad, seared ahi tuna wrap, and croissant breakfast sandwich, to name a few.
From the moment Patagonia opened in Tamarindo, there has been a line out the door. It is a good idea to call and make a reservation, if you don’t want to wait for upwards of an hour for a table, especially at peak dining hours. They have a great variety of meat, seafood, homemade pastas, and vegetarian dishes. They also have fabulous sangria (white and red), wines, and cocktails to accompany the amazing food.