Recommendations are based solely on
the writer's personal experience.
Local author Lenny Karpman has an excellent blog with restaurant recommendations by ethnic category and region for you when you are hungry and traveling farther afield throughout Costa Rica.
Las Orquideas - Chicharronera
by Dan Pent
This is all about Chicharrones, the pork dish known nationally here.
Las Orquideas (the orchids) recently moved into their new location from up in San Isidro which was very hard to get into! There are still signs that will lead you up there along the road - don’t believe them! His restaurant is well known by many locals as the best chicharrones when up in San Isidro. It is family run most of them speak good to some degree of English.
They are open Thursday and Friday starting at 5pm and at 12 noon Saturday and Sunday closing at 9pm. They do serve alcohol and have a large gravel parking area. It is located on the road leaving Grecia passing the CoopeVictoria on the road toward Santa Gertrude’s Norte and on to Alajuela. After passing the Coope cemetery you will find the restaurant on your right just after Fereterria El Rio. The sign has a little piggy on it. It is a rustic log style building with family style eating.
You can get a plate of chicharrones for one, two or for four. We got the one for four which costs 15thousand colones. The plate for two is 9000.00. On your plate you will get a huge amount of dry rubbed pork chunks, chips covered with refried beans and chips covered with potatoes salad, corn tortillas and lemon wedges. Four people will be hard pressed to finish it all. For 5 thousand colones we also tried their shrimp plate which is beer batter style fried and very tender inside. We tried the ceviche dish which is made from Corvina (sea bass) the best for ceviche dishes. It was very good, you can get a small single dish or a larger dish for two. We have now been back 5 times! Yummy yummy! If you like chicharrones one of the best and a nice atmosphere!
Restaurante Madre Tierra
by Irina Just
Last week, we discovered a new gem near us, although Restaurante Madre Tierra has been open for a few months.
It is located on San Luis Ridge, just at the border to San Juan (the community below San Luis).
|Their direcciones are: 800 m north of Calle Murillo, San Juan. They have signage up and down the ridge making it easy to find. The 800 meters are from the main road so be prepared for a bit of rough driving for ¾ of a mile. Nothing too hard (even the BMW made it easily). You are rewarded at your destination with spectacular views towards the north, a lovely designed restaurant decorated with bamboo, interesting wood and many inviting tables, all made locally. There is indoor and outdoor (covered patio) seating.|
|The menu is extensive (10 pages, I believe), covering seafood, chicken, beef and pork, along with a plethora of side dishes, appetizers, local specialties and more. Special requests are happily accommodated. They serve juice, shakes, smoothies, beer, wine and cocktails.|
There were 10 of us and all dishes looked lovingly prepared and, by all indication, tasted delicious (there were no leftovers, although the portions were generous). I had sautéed chicken breast covered with a special “salsa de Madre Tierra” which was muy rico.
Hours are: Thursday through Sunday 11 AM to 11 PM or anytime by appointment.
Restaurante Madre Tierra is run by Thais and her husband Heriberto and assisted by their 2 sons, Gilberto and Alberto. (I called them “The Three Bertos”). Daughter-in-law Veronica helps cashiering.
They have a Facebook page (Restaurante Madre Tierra) for more information.
Mr. Chile - New Mexican Restaurant on Grecia's Auto Row
Review by Dan Pent
Mr. Chile is located on the main road leaving Grecia heading down to the pista after passing Purde Toyota and on the right side. Ample gravel parking area in front which is nice. They open at 11 am every day and close at 930 pm, I think he said.
My wife and I ordered chicken chimichanga on our first visit or you can get beef or pork filled. It was huge! A crispy flour tortilla shell filled with chicken laid on a bed of refried beans, it had plenty of lettuce with tomato on the side. They drizzle sour cream and soft cheese on the top. Not our favorites but it is a small amount. It was excellent, we have been back 3 times since then. I have also tried the chaplupa which is smaller plate. It came out on a bed of refried beans a crispy flour tortilla shell bowl filled with chicken or beef or pork with lettuce and tomato and pico de gallo on the side. We ordered extra pico and also a side of guacamole. For desert we tried the sopapilla (not the soft doughy bread we expected with honey) but it is worth trying.
A plate came out with a chalupa crispy bowl in the center a large scoop of vanilla ice cream and all around the plate they drizzled tapa dulce (sort of like our syrup) and sweetened condensed milk. Very sweet but we shared the plate and ate it all!
At this time no alcohol is served. The owner came to our table and said he also specializes in a large hamburger dish and steaks, ribeyes New York’s etc which he buys from the boutique he brought one out in the wrapper to show us. I have not tried them but might be a good choice also. We were looking for Mexican food!
The plates we ate were reasonably priced for the size or total bill was 14thousand colones with the sides we ordered the dessert and four Canada Dry drinks.
Located in the A-frame building in Rincon de Arias, two miles west of Grecia on the righthand side of the street.
Hours - 11:30a.m. to 9:00p.m. Daily
Las Carretas de Mediterraneo
By Trisha Graf
EXCELLENT meal at Las Carretas de Mediterraneo recently.
Thought your "foodie" readers might want to give it a whirl if they're over this way!
East side of the Catholic Church
Santa Gertrudis Norte.
It's on the loop between La Fraterna and Cero Estres. It's a good-sized place, with a large, covered, open-sided dining area. (Similar to that of Casa Miguel in the Centro....)
They're open Wednesday through Sunday. 11am-10pm
I'm sure we'll be going back soon, BTW, the chef came over to our table to inquire as to whether we'd enjoyed our meal! We told him it was great, and we'd be happy to recommend them.
By Annie Lee
Las Carretas de Mediterráneo is a new restaurant that just opened in Santa Gertrudis Norte. It is just behind the church off the main road. The food, decor and service are excellent. We enjoyed their cooking as the food is not overly greasy or too salty.
Savory a la Thai - San Ramon
by Teresa Deshech
While I live in San Ramon, I just came across your site and am enjoying all the recommendations. I really appreciate all the things to do and the restaurants. I just today stumbled across a brand new THAI restaurant just a couple miles from our home. It's really great thai food, and good prices, I thought you might like to try it out for your page. AUthentic thai food so close to home, I'm looking for ways to make sure they succeed. It is called Savory a la Thai. Run by a local couple, he's Tico and - surprise - she's from Thailand.
It is really good thai food that has a lovely, nuanced flavor profile. Apparently it has been open just about 2 months. It is a family run business, and the cook is a Thai lady who creates her own curry mix via growing things like fresh lemon grass in her garden, and even makes her own fish sauce.
You can either order it tico style, or Thai style. We ordered THAI style, and got the yellow curry and the Phad Thai, and both were great. The ingredients were really fresh.
It is easy to find in San Juan. From the main entrance to San Ramon head north past the hospital, past Moligas then on to the Santa Maria gas station on the right. Turn right immediately before the Santa Maria station. You'll be going towards Volio and Zarcero. As you get into barrio San Juan the restaurant is on the right side across from the farmacia in San Juan, just before the crest of the hill. If you see Bar Orient on the right you've gone a couple hundred meters too far.
The prices are regular soda prices, even though it is tourist quality THAI! They speak english and spanish, and of course, Thai! 6012-7722
Editors note: While visiting in San Ramon last week, 2 more people told me about this restaurant and their awesome food, so get out there and see for yourself!
Closed on Sunday and Monday.
La Leña Pizzeria
by Irina Just
This is not a new restaurant, but it has a new name and relocated to the south of town in Grecia.
Formerly known as "Pizzeria Mundo", it was located downtown on avenida 2 (main street) but closed down abruptly a couple of years ago when the owner returned to Italy.
A couple of months ago, he returned and opened "La Leña Pizzeria" near the police station.
All pizze (and yes, that is the plural of "pizza") are cooked in this enormous wood fired oven.
The variety is huge, ranging from the "to be expected" (like Marguerite, Hawaiian and Vegetarian) to the unusual (like parma and genovese, both my favorites), and come in three sizes: personal, medium and large. The crust is typical Italian - thin, crispy but not dry. The wood fired oven brings out the best!
Prices are very moderate, starting at C 2,300 for a personal-size pizza. At this point, they only serve non-alcoholic beverages but it was OK to bring our own wine and beer.
Hours are: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 4:30 until 10:30 PM (not open for lunch) and on the weekends: 12 noon to 10:30 PM.
They are closed on Mondays.
To get there, walk or drive south on calle 6, the street between the Farmacia Central and Musmanni Bakery (at the mercado central). Go a block or two past Nelson's Restaurant and you come to this weird 5-street intersection. (Police headquarters on the right). turn left and La Leña is on your right, in the middle of the first block.
I know there are several pizzerias in our area and people's tastes vary widely, but for me, this is the most authentic and innovative pizzeria in Grecia and vicinity.
Try it - and I hope you like it just as much as we did. We will definitely go back.
Café Del Patio - Gourmet
by Irina Just
About 3 months ago, a lovely and tasty new restaurant opened in Grecia. Its name is Café Del Patio and to get there, turn at the corner of BROs bar (by the park) and go one block south to the truck route and you'll see their huge sign across the street. The actual entrance is 2 doors to the right and has another big sign, so it'll be hard to miss.
It's on the truck route but you'll be surprised about the quiet oasis you'll step into when you enter.
The all-outdoor seating area is a very comfortable and tropical patio-garden centered around the kitchen and prep station. Everything is neat, clean, bright and tastefully designed - and the bathrooms are not to be missed! The best designed baños in Grecia!
Aside from the daily specials, which are listed on a blackboard by the entrance, they have a vast menu, including sandwiches, salads, soups, local specialties (such as chalupa del patio) and several meat dishes. I've only had lunch there a couple of times, but understand their dinner menu is different.
The first time, I had the chalupa del patio, which was very tasty and the next time, I ordered the vegetarian sandwich which consisted of several types of roasted vegetables piled high on home made bread with a side of fries.
Prices are very reasonable, ranging from 3,000 to 4,000 with the meat dishes being slightly higher. They offer fruit and cake desserts as well.
Café del Patio has applied - but not yet received- its liquor license and you are welcome to bring your own beer or wine.
They serve fruit juices and have an espresso machine for that after-dinner coffee drink with some of their desserts.
The owner speaks English and he and his staff are very, very attentive and eager to please, with an eye on details.
Next to the patio is a room reserved for private parties of up to 8 people. A special menu for a special occasion can be designed with the chef. (Reservation is a must).
Café del patio is open Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner. Their telephone number is 2444-2140; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
They are on fb under Café del Patio Gourmet
Check it out - I think you will be pleased!
¿Donde Papa? Antojitos
by Diane Cooner
While I am happy that Donde Papa is doing well enough that they are now located in the Grecia Mall, this comes at a cost - no more express delivery!
The new location, site of the former Arenas surf shop, is trimmed out in simple minimalist decor. Black walls, high ceilings, lots of lights, I'm sure it's packed on the weekends.
The food remains great! So skip the junk food and stop by the next time you're at the Mall.
¿Donde Papa? is still open daily from 1130am to 11pm. Eat in/take out.
Pizza Il Capoby Greg Pekas
Pizza il Capo in the Grecia mall is an outstanding pizzeria. The place draws huge crowd of both Ticos and Gringos. Wonderful thin crust pizza with a dizzying array of topping selections, and best of all, it is awesomely inexpensive. Check it out and you'll be back like we have been over half a dozen times and counting.
Pizza il Capo now has a SECOND location, on the south side of Grecia, next door to El Carne Boutique, on the corner.
Pizza Family in San Isidro - To Go or Delivered
This new Pizzeria is located next to the church in San Isidro. They also deliver!
They offer New York and Chicago style pizza, plus a house pizza and cheese pizza choices.
by Roxanne Ingram
Have you tried Restaurante y Pizzeria Macho in Grecia?
It is really good. They have many different combinations of pizza. The Macho and the Mexican are fantastic. We also like the Hawaiian and the Italian made with Pesto instead of red sauce.
Macho used to be located near the church on the main road into Grecia and we were so disappointed to see it had closed. Then later we saw a sign saying they had a new location and so we found it last Friday night.
They also have a variety of other dishes such as lasagna, steaks, burgers, seafood, etc. Nice, clean, new place with outdoor seating on the corner of the street and the place is much bigger than the other location. 50 meters north of the San Jose bus station entrance, on the downhill corner. Phone number is 2494 0767. They also do catering for parties and events and deliver too. They told us they deliver all the way up to San Isidro.
Chirinquitos del Rio
by Greg Pekas
We ate at this great place last week, and wanted to share...
If you want an UNDER-priced and OVER-served meal that is wonderfully cooked with fresh ingredients, you really need to dine at Chirinquitos del Rio, just outside of Grecia on the old road to Alajuela.
Consider this: (2) Filet Mignons with potato and vegetable (2) Vino Blanco (2) Ron Centenario Total bill: 18,100 colones! The steaks were done to perfection and we'll be back!
Bar El Monstruo, in Sarchi Norte
by Tom Rosenberger
I was in Sarchi recently inspecting a new home for Tiina Läärä and on the main road back to Naranjo, on the right hand side I saw that the Bar El Monstruo had plenty of parking in front, so I pulled in to grab a quick bite to eat.
The ambiance was typico and comfortable with a large bar and many tables. The bartender gave me a menu of bocas and told me that their special was a beer or drink and boca for 1500 colones. I ordered a ceviche with a beer and was pleasantly surprised by the size of the boca and once I tried it, I was very impressed with the flavor. The guy next to me had a boca of chorizo with fresh tomatoes and warm tortillas and I ordered one of those as well, and it was great. The ceviche was so good that I ordered a full portion to take home with me.
I recommend this bar/restaurant to anyone who enjoys quality typical food and attentive service. It’s also considered a sports bar with plenty of TV’s, if you’re in the mood to throw a few cold ones down along with some of the locals in Sarchi Norte. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bar-El-Monstruo/588321851314738?rf=740235526033413
Restaurante Verde Fusion
by Angie Vachio
A new and unique restaurant has opened in Grecia, with an interesting and varied menu focused on healthy eating, good service, and excellently prepared food. Restaurant Verde Fusion (Facebook.com/Restaurante Verde Fusión) serves fresh, interesting, and delicious ORGANIC hydroponic salads with choices including an oriental chicken salad, artichoke salad, blueberry and beef salad, and others; wraps and sandwiches with choices of interestingly prepared tuna, chicken, ham; and full healthy unique gourmet meals. For instance they have chicken in teriyaki sauce made with orange and pineapple, fish in a curry coconut sauce, fish cooked with chipotle, fresh tuna steaks, salmon and beef dishes. They also have really good ceviche. All white sauces are prepared with lactose free milk. They have a vegetarian menu as well.
Alcohol is not served although you can go across the street to purchase the beverage of your choice to bring back to the restaurant.
We went in a group of 4 and all of us were thoroughly pleased with what we ordered. I had a grilled fish wrap with avocado, marvelous spices and vegges. My husband had the curried fish. One of our friends had the oriental chicken salad. All were excellent. We will certainly be returning.
The owners are Steven and Elizabeth, a charming local couple who are eager to succeed in their new business and from our first impressions, they certainly should. The service is attentive, the restaurant is clean and comfortable, there is parking and the food is wonderful and reasonably priced.
Restaurante Verde Fusion is located 125 meters north of the Escuela Eulogia Ruiz in Grecia. If you don’t know where that is, it’s about 3 blocks east of the church (uphill) and 2-3 blocks north. English is spoken. Hours are everyday from 11:00 am - 8:30 pm, closed Wednesdays.
Restaurante Verde Fusion also has delivery service, telephone 4034-1560, or 8617-6306.
Atori Sushi y Restaurante
by Joe Richard
“Atori” Sushi y Restaurante is on the other side of the street from Electa Restaurant and down the hill one block. The business beside it with a giant sign is “Merecumbe”.
Having six tables and two of them just sitting two, there’s not room for a crowd. Today there was just one table open when I arrived.
Now I’m no sushi connoisseur and I’m easy to please. California rolls make me happy. Today I went crazy trying something strange and hoping for the best. Pixsushi: Arroz panconizado, queso crema, aguacate, salmon, kanikama and masago for 4500 colones. Right, not your typical Japanese sushi. Kinda a Tico variation and there are several of them. No seaweed on this one, rather a crispy breaded exterior with a rice interior and all those little things piled on top. I loved it. There were eight good sized sushi accompanied by the traditional soy sauce and wasabi.
A sampling of the sushi plates:
California: Queso crema, Kanikama, aguacate and pepino. 3500 colones
Tuna Love: Queso crema, Kanikama, aguacate, pepino and cubierto de atun. 4000 colones
Ojo de dragon: Salmon, atun y kanikama tempurizados con cobertura de ajonjoli. 5500 colones
Atori has more traditional plates as well. Their entradas range from 2500 to 4000 colones for dishes like Ensalada Portobello, Ceviche, Salmon Wrap and Camaron Tempura. The hot plates are 3800 to 7000 colones for plates such as vegetable lasagna, Yakiton (pinchos de cerdo, pollo y camaron) and Salmon a la Naranja.
Stiven Alpizar, who speaks perfect English, was my waiter and was very efficient. My plate came ten to fifteen minutes after ordering and was beautifully presented. The owner, Josue Quesada, may have a hit on his hands. It certainly adds another favorite to my list of good places to eat.
Atori is open every day from 11:30 to 9:30 except Tuesdays and Wednesdays when they are closed. Starting next month they will close only on Tuesdays. 2444-1250
A tip of my sugekasa to Atori!
The Red Door
by Dan Pent
My wife and iiI have found eating out rather expensive and a hit and miss as to liking the place or not. We eat at home mostly but have been introduced to two places in Grecia we love to go back to. We would never have tried either of them had it not been for some of our local tico friends taking us to them and trying them out. Both open at 11 am for lunch and supper.
The Red Door - On the main road coming into Grecia from the Hwy, you will pass the "Red Door". A very small place on the N.W. corner of the soccer field just before the hospital. They get fresh fish and seafood daily, the cook speaks English well and was a chef in New York for 8 years. The prices are very reasonable and the portions plentiful. All plates are well presented on large platters in a modest establishment seating, no more than 15 people, bar-style. They do offer take out. One of the best "Shrimp Pasta Alfredo" dishes I have ever eaten also served with chicken if you prefer for 3400 colones. Its a rather large platter with a green salad. His Linguini Alfredo is to die for no matter what you put on it.
My wife's favorite dish for 2500 colones is the large breaded fried prawn shrimp dish (Camarones Empanizados) with a salad or coleslaw and fries (I would highly recommend the oven baked potatoes with herbs, just ask the chef for them ). I have tried their Buffalo wings which were very tasty. We have also tried his Garlic herb shrimp dish.
Most days there is a special posted on the board as you enter, or ask the chef what he recommends. One day he said he had fresh lobster (It was still alive in the tank ) it would be baked and stuffed with herbs, lots of calamari, squid, fish and chicken. It was huge, the cost was 8400 colones. There is a full menu page of just ceviche dishes from small sampler 1000 colones or Peruvian cerviche for 2200 - the average price is 2500. All plates come with chips and all of them we have tried were awesome. We have even asked for a kilo of fresh prawn shrimp from his cooler in the front to just bring home with us. And also many rice dishes are available. A Great Little Place!
MAS Q' SABOR MEXICAN GRILL
By Sandra Fernandez Lopez
This new restaurant is really good! The owner, Johnny Lara, and his wife just opened this pretty restaurant right next to the Post Office in downtown Grecia. Johnny lived in Southern California, speaks English well and is familiar with Tex Mex cuisine. His chef is also Mexican. The menu is interesting in that you place your order for taco salad, burritos, quesadillas, etc. at a big food bar and they add whatever toppings or fillings you want. Everything is fresh and made to your taste. They have a roast pork that spins on a pit similar to Gyro meat in the states.
The place is extra clean, erything is new and they play North American music. No liquor license yet, but you can bring your own, or Johnny will run to the liquor store across the corner and buy beer for you. Johnny told me that when they do get their liquor license he is going to be making specialty margaritas!! I am not sure of their hours, but the place is really easy to find. Treat yourself to some really good, fresh Tex Mex!
Mas Q' Sabor now offers Express Sevice (that is, Home Delivery). There is a very small surcharge for packaging the food. Call them at 4030-6900.
Bar Acuario - Grecia's Best Kept Secretby Jeanie Kunerth
BAR ACUARIO is not your average “Sports Bar”. The name means “Aquarium Bar”, and was probably named that as the front windows that face the street are mirrored so folks inside can look out, but the folks outside cannot see in. That is fun to watch from the inside: Just sayin'!
Native Costa Rican Jose Manuel Espinoza has been owner/operater of Bar Acuario for the past 22 years. He speaks excellent English – something my husband and I especially appreciate as we continue to learn Spanish better! Bar Acuario was originally established in 1922. However, it is soooo much more than just a little bar, serving up some of the best “vittles” we've had anywhere in Costa Rica!
We walked by it numerous times since we began visiting Grecia in 2009, but did not go inside until we moved to Grecia permanently in March of this year (2014). A couple of our friends suggested we go there for lunch one day - and a cerveza, of course! Mark and I were, and continue to be, pleasantly surprised at the quality of the food, and the service that goes above and beyond in making us one of the best meals we've had in all of Grecia!
Jose is extremely accommodating, with a heart to please his customers to the best of his ability. Every time we ask “what do you have”, he says, “anything you want my friend.”
Here's one example from our personal experience: We were totally surprised one day when Mark said “I think I would like some chuleta – “pork chops” and asked if they were on the menu? “Of course......if that is what you want, we will make it for you.” We put the order in and continued enjoying our cerveza and chat with friends when Jose comes walking by with a fresh bag from the Mercado meat market. He stopped by our table and opened the bag which contained 3 fresh pork chops carefully packaged, and asked Mark to pick which one he wanted. What???!!! Fat chance that will happen in the USA! We didn't even know Jose had left the building, and my husband was a bit speechless for a second! Then Jose suggested that some Italiano bread would be good with my meal, and when I said “that sounds great”, so out the door he went again to get a fresh loaf from Musmanni's! At the end of the meal we jokingly said, “Some Tirimusu would be great to end that meal with..” and Jose was ready to go down the street and get us some! What a great guy! He truly aims to please!
We have NEVER had a bad meal-EVER! Whatever you want, they will make it to your liking-FRESH! And, the beef tenderloin meal is, without a doubt, the best, most tender and flavorful out of all the places we have eaten this particular menu item anywhere in town! Jose carefully communicates his customer's wishes to Liliana, Adela and Elena – the three beautiful Tica women who run the kitchen for him - and they do a Five Star job in producing a fantastic meal from scratch! Whatever these three ladies are cooking up back there, we love Jose's and his team's passion and integrity to offer great food!
NOTE: IF YOU ARE IN A HURRY OR LIKE FAST FOOD – don't expect to get it here. Everything is fresh and made from scratch, so “tranquilla” and get ready to enjoy one of the best non-prepackaged meals you'll eat in all of Grecia!
The prices are wonderful. The beer is cold. And, Jose always remembers that I like a “vaso ielo con limone tejala con sal” with mine: This is because he takes the time to know his customers. We love that he engages in genuine conversation with you, treating you with honor and respect. We feel like family now, and it is one of our favorite places to stop for a cerveza and our lunches while in town. Mark & I declare blessings for continued success on Jose, his family, and Bar Acuario!
Bar Acuario is located one block East of Musmanni's Panaderia, and one block West of the Central Park. You can't miss the brightly colored sign. I guarantee you won't be disappointed when you stop by for lunch. It truly is one of the best kept secrets in Grecia!
Taller Hamburguesaby Diane Cooner
I had lunch today at my current favorite soda, Taller Hamburguesa. You guessed it – burgers are mostly what they serve. They offer a number of choices, meat or chicken, with cheese, onion, bacon, or ham. They also serve a small selection of other items such as tacos and burritos. Judging from the constant stack of buns in bins that they go thru, I’m not their only fan.
Their French fries are pretty decent – not as good as the Grecia Social Club (personally I think those are the best fries in town), but Talleres’ are better than most. A selection of beverages is also offered, e.g., coke, ginger ale, tropicale juices. You can call ahead and place your order, to eat there or to go.
They are open late (like, after 11pm). And you can’t beat the price! 1650 colones for a burger, up to 2800 colones for a triple patty version. Fries, 600 colones per order.
A good burger is not easy to find – Taller Hamburguesa is a hole-in-the-wall gem. Located about 100 meters south from the southwest corner of the central park, across the street from Ekono. 2454-8555.
You've walked past it dozens of times, yet didn't know it was there! Looking out their front door, Bro is the bar on the opposite corner to the left (orange), ekono is across the street on the right. Time to stop in and check out Taller Hamburguesa! And did I mention, they have a second shop around the corner next to the Plastic Store.
Two of our favorite local barsby Don Davis
Bar y Chicaronnerea Pele
If you haven’t tried local bar hopping Costa Rican style, get off the dime and give it a shot. It’s part of the culture and is usually a pretty cheap date and a fun night out.
Spain has tapas. Costa Rica has bocas. Bocas are inexpensive appetizer plates, soups and salads. The wife and I are partial to seafood and shrimp ceviches. You’ll find them on the menu of almost any local bar.
“Bar y Chicaronnera Pele,” formerly “Bar y Restaurant Los Ceros” (that sign is still hanging outside Pele’s as well), serves the best seafood ceviche we have ever had. Their other boca plates are not bad either. A couple of ceviches, a couple of Taco Ticos or a couple of their Burritos de Pollo, and a couple bottles of Imperial and you’re filled up and out for almost nothing. Pele and the staff are friendly and the decor is simple “tropical fun.” The bar opens at 5:00 and is on the main road from Sarchi past the I.C.E. electric substation and just after the last uphill bend (on your right) before you get to Naranjo. It’s worth the drive for a tasty, inexpensive “dinner” out.
Duna’s BarDuna's Bar is an icon in the small community of Barrio San Juan de Sarchi. It’s across from the school, next door to the church and above the tiny store. The food is good, the atmosphere is friendly and the bartender who has been there on the nights we’ve visited, Rudolfo, speaks English. Duna’s is open in the evening and closed on Mondays.
If you don’t know where Barrio San Juan de Sarchi is located, then directions to Duna’s Bar are a bit long. Here goes:
Directions coming from Grecia Drive past the Sarchi town square with giant carretta (on your right) just over 100 meters to the first street on your right and turn right onto the one-way street. (There is a new commercial building on one corner with a shoe store and on the other corner a boutique, “Eclipes,” and a small ferreteria, “Frosa” behind it on the one-way street.)
Directions coming from Naranjo Drive past the Sarchi futbol field (on your right) and through the intersection with the traffic signal to the next street on your left and turn left onto the one-way street. (There is a new commercial building on one corner with a shoe store and on the other corner a boutique, “Eclipes,” and a small ferreteria, “Frosa” behind it on the one-way street.)
Universal directions from this point to Duna’s Bar You will quickly pass a “Pali” market and the big orange and white communication tower both on the right. Follow the road—it goes straight for about 1/2 a kilometer (past “MCC” ferreteria on your left) and then turns sharply left just past the big “Beneficios La Eva” coffee exporter with a guard station and barricade. Keep left and up and around a hill with one “reductor” (speed bump) at the top. Keep right on the main road as it heads downhill and winds a bit more. You will come to a narrow bridge with the “CEDA” sign on your side. Just past the bridge take a sharp left up the hill and bear to the right. Go straight (north) at the top of the steep street there’s an intersection with a road bearing sharply to the left. Take it and go steeply up and curve to the right. At the top of hill you are in “downtown” San Juan de Sarchi and Duna’s Bar will be just past the futbol field and on your right across from the school.Back to top
Aromas y Saboresby Kristen Dreaper
Aromas y Sabores is a family owned and operated bakery and cafe.
Located on the way from Grecia to Sarchi, it is just a few hundred meters past Maxi Pali on the same side of the road in Barrio Latino. They bake all of their desserts and breads on site and the service is very friendly.
They have a great assortment of cold coffee drinks, as well as milkshakes, batidos, and hot drinks (coffee, tea, and agua dulce).
The menu is divided into appetizers/sides, paninis, Mediterranean pitas, and a wonderful dessert section. We will definitely return!
La Casa de Miguel
New Review! by Lou Kritz
A restaurant of the quality of Restauante La Casa de Miguel deserves more than a one-visit review. So, after living in Grecia for over seventeen months, and dining there at least once every two weeks, and sometimes more often, I feel it’s time to laud this one of a kind place. It can honestly be considered the best restaurant in Grecia and the surrounding area. It’s not only become our favorite, but it’s become our go-to place to entertain visitors form the States.
In our 40+ visits, we’ve sampled the Spanish/English menu in all categories.It begins with fresh, crisp salads of simple greens, to chicken and tuna varieties, and a Capresse offering. Follow this with both cold and hot appetizers. Ceviche is delicious, with several types of Carpaccio and Tartar and several soups. Here you will find the house specialty, Ceviche La Casa de Miguel. If you even think you like ceviche, you must try this one. Sister-in-law Kim from Pennsylvania looked up long enough to say, “This is the best thing I’ve ever eaten.”
Serious entrees begin with a wide selection of pastas. Fruti di Mari, mixed seafood sauce, either white or red, over a choice of pastas. Boloñesa will make you forget the word “spaghetti.” Loraine can’t get past the Crema de Salmón con nuestra salsa de vodka, or as us gringos say it, “Salmon with vodka sauce.” Beef dishes run the gamut of a selection of locally raised cuts, including a Grilled Mixed Plate of beef, chicken, and chorizo, of course with excellent sides.
The imported beef menu includes Churrasco, Delmonico, New York Strip, a Porterhouse, and surprisingly, the best Grilled Outside Skirt Steak you’ve ever eaten. To say it melts in your mouth is an understatement. Or, If you prefer Mariscos, or seafood, choose any variety and it’s here, grilled, breaded, fried, or in cream sauce. There are both white and tomato sauces, and even a tempting Camarones Kung Pao shrimp dish.
There is chicken in no less than five presentations, topped off by the Cordon Bleu, that you will order when you return. Rice dishes go from the typical house rice to Rice with Shrimp. A small children’s menu follows the entrees, along with a large sandwich selection for lunch or a lighter dinner. Desserts, if you make it that far, include Starwberry Cheesecake, Pears in Red Wine Sauce, Chocolate Cake, and Passion Fruit Mousse. If you can’t make up your mind, go for the Flan de Coco, Coconut Flan. Outstanding!. All are made daily on-site and are exquisite.
Drinks available include the standard batidos, iced teas, fruit drinks, and hot tea. The coffee is top quality and individually brewed on order. There is a full bar with a large wine selection and an assortment of liquors that can be mixed.
A restaurant should be judged on its menu and food quality, ambience, service, and value. Miguel’s is tops in all categories. There is simply no other restaurany for kilometers around that offers this selection. Everything is fresh and hand-prepared on order. Enter the restaurant from the street and the ‘business end’ is up front. A large, quiet dining room is next, with the open-air veranda at the back, looking over a calm garden. There is no street noise, just the pleasant sound of the birds in the trees. Roy, the manager, and his staff speak both English and Spanish, are welcoming and warm.
Prices reflect the high quality of both the food and service, but are surprisingly reasonable for this level of dining experience. Simply put, it is well worth the price!
La Casa de Miguel is located on Avenida Central at the ‘top of town’ just three doors, or 50 meters west of the bomberos station. There is limited on-site parking, and plenty of street parking in front of the restaurant. It’s open Tuesday through Thursday at 11:00AM to 9:00PM, Friday and Saturday, 11:00 am to 10:00PM, Sunday, 11:00am to 5:00 PM, and closed on Mondays.
Cafeteria Arte Latte Grecia
by Kenneth Gantz
Fellow North Americans in Grecia and Sarchi, a new, very trendy and super easy to find restaurant in Grecia proper is CAFETERIA ARTE LATTE. In this quaint and convenient eatery you will find a terrific variety of bocas to consume at a reasonable price such as taquitos rancheros, nachos, pasteles de carne or pollo, SWEET RIBS, and a variety of other econonomical and tasty entrees.
Featured in the restaurant are very deliciously creative coffees, ice cream, pastries, cakes, desserts, almost anything sweet your heart could desire! Today I sampled the TRES LECHES dessert featured above and it is fantastic. They have FROZEN YOGURT as well!
The menu has a nice variety on the main menu for the retired easygoing couple or the in-and- outer on the go as well, including beef or chicken lasagna, burritos, salads, cordon bleu, a variety of spaghettis and more.
There are also scrumptious BREAKFAST items such as a variety of unique omelettes and PANCAKES, that's right, PANCAKES in Grecia.
I personally love the atmosphere, the VERY friendly service, and the ample seating arrangements both in the main floor in front and also downstairs in the back, where for example there is a very good sized room for seating a large group. (two pairs of bathrooms in the restaurant as well with hand-soap installed inside).
In the Central Valley, it is often difficult to find a true “American-sized large coffee”. Well here the hot coffees and chilled coffees are LARGE in proportion and extremely delicious.
Additionally as an added bonus they have the best WIFI service I have found in the area.
Arte Latte Cafe is located right across from ICE, katty-cornered from the red church, across the red taxi stand (next to the Chinese place on the corner). It formerly was the location of Fischel's pharmacy.
4.5 out of 5.0 star rating **** on Facebook Phone Number: 2494-2573 Owner: Kimberly Barrantes
An added note about the second room at the shop: it seats up to 40 and is available to rent for parties or meetings with or without catered food and drink. It's clean, modern and "spiffs up" nicely.Back to top
El Griegoby Kristen Dreaper
If you are looking for affordable, casual, authentically Tico food, try El Griego! Located on the left side of the road that leads you to Paca Loca from Central Park, El Griego offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner with fast service and a friendly, family oriented atmosphere. Their breakfast menu is very simple, gallo pinto with an accompanying side such as platanos, natilla, or tocineta. Lunch and dinner include traditional casados as well as typical soups, stews, and heavier meals. It is possible for 2 adults to order 2 meals and 2 drinks for $10, but El Griego doesn't skimp on flavor. They have a very large selection of bottled and canned drinks, and offer natural juices for just over $1. When you are looking for a no-frills meal that tastes great and will fill you up, you must try El Griego.Back to top
Grecia Social Club
Is now under new management, more will be revealed.Back to top
by Debbie Rudd
with update by Nancy Mirr (3/31/2016)
You may already know this but if not it is worth mentioning. Since I have been here, I’ve been going to a little restaurant called ARJE. They pronounce is “R-jays”. It was just a little soda kind of place but the food was always excellent and the prices were very reasonable for what you would get – like Bacon wrapped shrimp with potatoes, salad and vegetable for only around $8. Well they have recently moved and though I was unable to stay for dinner, last night I stuck my head in the door to see the new place. It is sooo totally cute. Whomever decorated did a great job, I remember a blue, white and yellow theme on the inside with a beautiful front of a VW bus on the wall. Oh and get a load of this - PADDED SEATS TO SIT ON! Please try to support them. I want them to still be here when I return.
Directions - From Bro's restaurant at the corner of the park go down to the end of the block, cross the street and continue one half block more away from town. It is on the other side of the street.
The owners are a couple named Arturo and Jessica. They have a wide variety of seafood items as well as casadas and other traditional food. They offer delivery and can also do catering. The prices are very reasonable and each meal is prepared with loving care!
They have a copy of their menu (which is in Spanish and English) on their FB page. There are also photos of their food. Open Tues-Sunday 1130am to 9pm, closed on Mondays.
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Essprezzo de la Casaby Kim Scruggs
Essprezzo de la Casa (AKA ISABEL’S) is one of those cafes that totally deserves a shout out for the complete dining experience that Isabel, the owner and chef, has created.
If you haven't been to Essprezzo de la Casa, do yourself a favor and take a drive up there to experience a culinary delight. You will enjoy a very friendly beautiful, atmosphere. The cafe is located at the top of San Luis ridge above Grecia. The restaurant sits on a very sweet spot with expansive breathtaking views of lush cone shaped mountain peaks. You can watch the setting sun from the dining room and there are some spectacularly colorful displays. The ambiance that Isabel has created is sophisticated, yet rustic. I describe her music play list as romantic and happy.
Then there's the food. She consistently creates a memorable culinary experience. My husband and I have described Isabel's cooking as that of an experienced food chemist. She knows how to combine flavors to please the palate. Her menu has something for everybody with options from Costa Rica dishes to her personal recipes from Mexico and a fusion of both. She uses fresh organic fruits vegetables which are grown on an adjacent farm. If we had to pick our favorite entree, it would have to be the enchiladas, pictured below. This dish is excellent. She makes a red sauce from guajillo Mexican peppers that are not available locally. The Pescado a la Plancha and the breakfast burritos are some of our other favorite menu items. The strawberry and cream cheese crepes are to die for. She also has specials from time to time, like her sensational fish soup or her Mexican tamales. The list goes on and on of our favorites. The coffee drinks are fabulous, too. Upon request, she brews up natural tea using fresh ingredients. Her food presentations are photo worthy. We would thoroughly recommend Essprezzo de la Casa to anyone who enjoys a good dining experience and we are confident you will be a return patron.
Essprezzo de la Casa is open on the weekends. Friday and Saturday hours are from 3:00PM to 8:00PM. Sunday hours are from 9:00AM to 5:00PM. The prices are moderate. Essprezzo de la Casa does not serve alcohol but you are welcome to bring your own. Parking is off road in a private lot adjacent to the cafe.
Contact information is 2444-2967 and 8895-8999 email@example.com
Mirador Brisas del Monte
by Jen Beck Seymour
The other night we visited a cozy little restaurant up on the San Miguel Ridge, one ridge over from where we live. We went with our good friends, who had been wanting to take us there for a while. The place is called Mirador Brisas del Monte, and really the best thing about it is the gorgeous views you can see from anywhere you sit inside the soda.
You can also sit outside in the back, where they have some limited seating. There are pillars throughout the café and outside with wood carvings on them, which the owner did himself. The owner, Tom, is a friendly guy who is always smiling– he was happy to show us around when we first got there.
A little hidden gem about this place, is behind the restaurant - there is a little casita that Tom had built in the old, traditional Costa Rican style. This casita is very much how Costa Rican people lived in the "olden days", and how some people still live – it shows a lot about their customs and traditions. In fact, Tom told us he currently has a worker staying in this little house .
We had heard the food was nothing to write home about, but after perusing the menu in great detail and questioning our waitress at length, we all decided on our entrees. Prices were pretty decent, and here's what we had: chicken fingers, chalupa, chilfrijo and dirty rice. We all tasted each others entrees and thought it tasted pretty good. But like I said – if you don’t go to this place for the food, go at least to have a drink and look at the view. Well worth it!
Brisas is open Friday through Sunday, 11am – 11pm, and is located on the San Miguel Ridge - just drive up the ridge until you see it, it’ll be on the left hand side, here’s their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/mirador.san.miguel
If you would like to submit a recommendation for a local eatery, please send to: firstname.lastname@example.org