Food & Restaurants in San Jose
Mercado Central is a very old, interesting and bustling food market, which also contains a number of small restaurants and quick-serve counters for the locals. You will find fresh cooked fish and shellfish, corn based dishes, sopa de pescado (fish soup) and such exotics as "squid in his ink", ceviche (small bits of raw fish "cooked" in lime juice), helado de sorbetera (artesanal local cinnamon ice-cream) and more. Perhaps not for the faint of heart. And you could always just go for La Calle - Anything a street vendor is selling is probably good, for example the Mangos, street vendors often sell unripe mango strips with salt and lime, it's great.
- Bar Poas, Avenida 7, Calle 3 y 5 (Two doors down from the Pangea Hostel, across the street from St. Thomas Hotel in Barrio Amon), . 1200-0230. Photos of regular customers adorn the wall of this dimly lit but friendly bar and restaurant. A decent menu of Gringo and Tico food is available from noon to 0230. Try the award-winning Chili con Carne. There´s always an interesting group of characters there including proprietor Harry Hart who is always willing to dispense useful advice about San José and Costa Rica.
- Bagelmen's (Escazú, San Pedro, Curridabat, Guachipelín, Belén, Heredia). Good prices, excellent quality fast and healthy food (bagels, cream cheeses, coffee, salads, desserts and more). Very popular among tourists and American expats. Free internet.
- Cafetería Parisien (Gran Hotel, between Theatro Nacional and Plaza de Cultura). Not the most exciting food, but elegant settings.
- Ganesha (Located in Hotel America, 50 meters south of Central park in Heredia), 8379-7951. This is an Indian, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern restaurant in Heredia, Costa Rica just about 15 minutes drive from the airport. Indian food lovers can get their garam masala fix here. Great Hummus, Baba Ganoush, Seekh Kebab and Chicken Tikka Masala. The lassis are great too
- Hotel Grano de Oro, Calle 30 Avenida 2/4, 255-3322. Beautiful but expensive restaurant. A breakfast menu costs around 2400 Colones or treat yourself to the delicious banana-macadamia nut pancakes (2000 Colones). The entrees are diverse and creative, do not hesitate to try the soup of the day, even if it sounds less than exciting. Duck is on the menu, and is some of the best to be had anywhere. Numerous seafood dishes are cooked to perfection, as is the beef and pork.
- Hotel Vesuvio Restaurante, Barrio Otoya, 257-5411. Italian food, pastas 1900 Colones, chicken 2000-2500.
- Lukas, Centro Comercial El Pueblo. One of two other restaurants at the El Pueblo.
- Machu Picchu Restaurant, (Paseo Colón) 1st Ave (125 meters north from Kentucky FC restaurant), . The best international Peruvian Food & Sea Food. Try the Causa Rellena, Cebiche, Lomo Saltado, Ají de Gallina and Peru's traditional and landmark drink: Pisco Sour.
- Pizzeria Il Pomodoro, Cerca de Parque Kennedy y Banco Nacional en San Pedro. One of the best known casual restaurants in Costa Rica, . Italian cuisine, very good pizza and pasta, good cheap wine, from second floor great view or the mountains to the west.
- Soda Esnider (Walk a few blocks to the east from Plaza de la Cultura over the Central Avenue and get into Galerías Avenida Central. You will find several stores and if you go down the stairs you will come across Soda Esnider). You can have a wonderful “Casado” for lunch with a natural drink for as little as 1600 Colones ($3)
- Tin Jo, Paseo de los estudiantes. This is an incredible Asian restaurant featuring Japanese, Thai, Chinese and Indian food. Don't be scared by the looks on the outside, the restaurant is clean, beautifully decorated and offers the best service I experienced in Costa Rica.
- Vishnu. Vegetarian and Organic Restaurant. , With very reasonable prices and a varied, tasty menu they are easily the best choice for vegetarian food in SJ. There are three locations downtown San José: - 1 - South side boulevar, near the Banco popular. - 2 - Across Omni Center. - 3 - North side of the Iglesia Del Carmen.
- El Balcón del Marisco (appx 1 Km. East of EPA toward to hwy to Cartago). 10AM - 11PM. Great place for fish. Always busy. Service very good. No other place comparable. Clean and safe. ~$11.