Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula Restaurants

Seafood and fresh fish are tops here, followed by fast food—pizza, tacos, barbecue—to satisfy the hordes of hungry surfers and beachgoers. But there are many sophisticated restaurants, too, offering Asian-fusion, Italian, French, and international cuisine, especially in the tourist-heavy beach towns of Hermosa, Flamingo, Tamarindo, Nosara, and Sámara. Many restaurants, especially tourist-oriented ones with dollar-denominated menus, do not include the 13% tax plus mandatory 12% service. By law, menus are required to show the total price including tax, but many owners flout this law. Be sure to ask if taxes are included; otherwise you may be surprised by a bill that’s 25% higher than you expected.

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  • 1. Cactus

    $

    It's easy to miss this unassuming eatery surrounded by cactus on the road to the beach, but you would be missing out on some of...Read More

  • 2. Café Liberia

    $$$

    Step back 150 years into one of Liberia's grandest mansions, complete with an original ceiling painting of cupids, doves, and garlands of flowers. Creative takes...Read More

  • 3. Casa Inti

    $$$

    This friendly lunchtime Peruvian café has a revolving menu of flavorful delights made from fresh ingredients that are almost as beautiful as they are tasty....Read More

  • 4. Costa Rica Sailing Center

    $$

    Relax beachside at the most laid-back yacht club you'll ever visit. There are bonfires after dark, live music, and sometimes an event like a chili...Read More

  • 5. El Chivo Cantina

    $$ | Mexican

    With an atmosphere as fun and funky as the luchadora (Mexican wrestler) legend for which it's named, everyone will have a great time and an...Read More

  • 6. Gusto Beach Creativo

    $$$

    A romantic setting, ocean breezes, and a creative Italian menu make this the one of the most popular restaurants in Sámara. By day, rustic wooden...Read More

  • 7. La Bodega

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    Linger as long as you'd like for breakfast or lunch on the open-air deck, where you'll be served fresh, local, and organic food. Daily specials...Read More

  • 8. La Luna

    $$$

    Dawn to dusk, this casually chic restaurant overlooking Playa Pelada is the most scenic place to have breakfast, lunch, cocktails, or dinner, with tables spilling...Read More

  • 9. Langosta Surf Club

    $

    If you want to feel at home on vacation, head to this family-friendly neighborhood sports bar featuring in-house roasted deli meats, local artisanal products, and...Read More

  • 10. Limonada

    $$

    Friendly staff are at your service while you kick back on cushioned sectional seating or long wooden tables with your toes in the sand. The...Read More

  • 11. Lola's

    $$

    This hip beach café has exactly the kind of ambience one comes to Costa Rica for, with tables scattered along the beach amid palm and...Read More

  • 12. Mama Gui

    $$

    Located at Giada Hotel, poolside tables and ultrasophisticated cuisine make this Italian restaurant the best dining spot in Samara. Chef Gigio Palazzo prepares dishes with...Read More

  • 13. Nectar

    $$$

    Fresh seafood is the specialty at this poolside alfresco restaurant, with inventive daily specials that focus on the day's catch prepared with Asian and Mediterranean...Read More

  • 14. Pangas Beach Club

    $$$

    You can’t get any closer to the water than at this outdoor beach garden, where rustic tables are shaded by enormous ficus trees draped with...Read More

  • 15. Patagonia Del Mar

    $$$ | Asian

    This open-air Argentinian grill has a lovely ambience, great views of the beach across the street, and even better steak and seafood. Lounge...Read More

  • 16. Playa de los Artistas

    $$$

    Arty driftwood tables and sculpted chairs scattered along the rocky beach and an inventive Mediterranean menu have made this one of the most scenic, as...Read More

  • 17. Product C Playa Carmen

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    For the freshest, tastiest, and most affordable seafood in town, make a beeline to this fish market and restaurant that also features the most entertaining...Read More

  • 18. Restaurant Deevena

    $$$

    An unexpected outpost of divine French cuisine, this oasis of elegance overlooks a sparkling blue pool edged by lush palms, while lounge chairs shaded by...Read More

  • 19. Seasons by Shlomy

    $$$

    At his intimate, poolside restaurant in the casually chic Hotel Arco Iris, innovative Israeli-born and Cordon Bleu–trained chef Shlomy Koren transforms fresh local ingredients into...Read More

  • 20. The Lookout

    $$$

    As if the breathtaking view high in the hills above Playas del Coco weren't enough (you may recognize it from its feature on the television...Read More

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