San Jose Restaurants

Costa Rica's capital beckons with the country's most varied and cosmopolitan restaurant scene. Italian, Spanish, Asian, French, Middle Eastern, Peruvian—they're all here, along with upscale Costa Rican cuisine.

Wherever you eat in San José, be it a small soda or a sophisticated restaurant, dress is casual. Meals tend to be taken earlier than in other Latin American countries; few restaurants serve past 9 or 10 pm. Local cafés usually open for breakfast at 7 am and remain open until 7 or 8 in the evening. Restaurants serving international cuisine are usually open from 11 am to 9 pm. Some cafés that serve mainly San José office workers limit evening hours and close entirely on Sunday. Restaurants that do open on Sunday do a brisk business: it's the traditional family day out (and the maid's day off). Watch your things, no matter where you dine. Even at the best restaurants, thieves occasionally target purses slung over chair arms or placed under chairs.

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  • 1. Grano de Oro Restaurant

    $$$ | Paseo Colón

    The Hotel Grano de Oro houses one of San José's premier dining destinations: a splendid restaurant wrapped around a lovely indoor patio and bromeliad-filled garden....Read More

  • 2. Juan Valdez Café

    $ | Sabana Norte

    This sleek, modern west-side coffee shop and store is an island of all-Colombian products, both beverage and souvenirs, in Costa Rica. They serve cakes, pastries,...Read More

  • 3. L'Olivo

    $$$ | Paseo Colón

    The vaulted ceilings and a vineyard mural on one wall evoke old Italy at this restaurant serving homemade pastas—spinach cannelloni and linguine with clam sauce...Read More

  • 4. Lubnan

    $$ | Paseo Colón

    The Lebanese owners at one of San José's few Middle Eastern restaurants serve a wide variety of dishes from their native region, but if you...Read More

  • 5. Machu Picchu

    $$ | Paseo Colón

    A few travel posters are the only props that evoke Peru, but no matter: the Peruvian food is anything but plain, and the seafood is...Read More

  • 6. Park Café

    $$$ | Sabana Norte

    Set within an antiques shop, the internationally inspired all-tapas menu includes Thai-style tuna salad, red-snapper couscous, and other tasty dishes. The colonial-style house is only...Read More

  • 7. Soda Tapia

    $ | Sabana Este

    Don't expect anything fancy at this extremely popular restaurant, but food here is cheap and filling. The ubiquitous gallo pinto for breakfast and casados (meat,...Read More

  • 8. The Corner

    $$ | Paseo Colón

    Although this part of town is a bit off the standard tourist track, the pizza here is worth the trip, especially for the perfectly crispy...Read More

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