6 Best Restaurants in Puntarenas, Costa Rica Restaurants

The best restaurant in Puntarenas, Costa Rica, depends on the type of cuisine you want and the ambiance you’d love to dine in. For seafood, Isla Coco’s Bar & Grill is a top choice. La Macarena is good for ice cream and Churchill (local treats), while Gabriella’s Steak Seafood & Pasta offers the best sunset view.

While I was in Puntarenas, I dined mainly at the Costa del Sol Hotel & Restaurant in Caldera. I enjoyed each encounter there. However, I tried a few other places in the area based on the locals’ recommendations. 

When I recommend places to eat in Puntarenas, the first question I ask is, “Is it Puntarenas town or Puntarenas province?”

This is because the dock town itself has little to nothing to offer for a vacation, especially when it comes to the dining experience. As a result, most of the best restaurants are located in or around Puntarenas province.

In this article, I’ve reviewed some of the best restaurants in the area, their offerings, the average cost of food, and tips for safe parking while dining there. 

Key Takeaways

Don’t have all the time to read the entire article? Here’s a summary of our most popular recommendations:

    • Overall, the best place to eat in Puntarenas? is the Costa del Sol Hotel & Restaurant.
    • What’s the best place to get seafood in the area? Isla Coco’s Bar & Grill
    • What’s the best casual restaurant? —La Takera
    • The best sunset view restaurant in Puntarenas is Gabriella’s Steak, Seafood, and Pasta.
  • Where is the best ice cream/Churchill’s in Puntarenas? Soda La Macarena

A Full Review of the Best Places to Eat in Puntarenas

Many people who seek the best places to eat in this seaside area are usually those driving from Manuel Antonio to Playa Grande and thinking of a lunch stop at Puntarenas since it is almost halfway.

Continue reading to learn more about these restaurants and what you can expect when you dine at any of them. 

1. Costa del Sol Hotel & Restaurant

  • Address: 200 Mts. Este De La Escuela Rural de Mata Limon, Puntarenas Province, Esparza, Caldera, 00111, Costa Rica.

Costa del Sol Hotel & Restaurant is one of the best places to eat in Puntarenas Province. It’s an extension of the Costa Del Sol hotel, but you don’t have to lodge to access the restaurant. I was staying at the Double Tree Resort and took a taxi to get to the restaurant.

My first impression of this place is that it’s a lovely seafood restaurant by the lagoon near Puntarenas. The seafood here is very fresh and cooked deliciously. It’s a bit off the main road, but worth the little extra drive to discover this hidden gem in a small village by a mangrove lagoon.

Our driver from Tiquicia Tours recommended this restaurant to us. We had clams, jumbo shrimp, and lobster while enjoying the breathtaking sunset. 

What I like about this place 

  • Fantastic food.
  • A great seafood stop.
  • Accommodation options are at your fingertips.
  • Lively environment

What is it about this place that I dislike?

  • Not entirely budget-friendly 
  • Staff service can become sluggish when it fills up.

2. Restaurant Caballo Blanco

  • Address: 36V2+W7V, 1, Puntarenas Province, Pitahaya, Costa Rica

Restaurante Caballo Blanco focuses on Latin, seafood, Central American, and Costa Rican dishes. On your way to San Jose, you can have lunch here.

The best part is that healthy vegan food is available compared to most other restaurants in the area. When I visited, patacones, bean soups, veggie rice, and fresh watermelon juice were my orders, and it was worth the try. 

Restaurante Caballo Blanco remains a top recommendation in Puntarenas if you are driving down to the coast from San Jose.

What I like about this place 

  • A free mini-cup of soup starter
  • Fresh and spacious facilities. 
  • Good parking
  • Not too busy
  • Guanacaste is the top choice for travelers moving to San Jose.

What is it about this place that I dislike?

  • No air-conditioner. However, it’s all open for fresh air.

3. Isla Coco’s Bar & Grill

  • Address: 200 m to the east of the Atracadero del Ferry, Provincia de Puntarenas, Puntarenas, Carmen, 60101, Costa Rica.

Isla Coco’s bar is one of the best places in Puntarenas, where you can have late-night drinks and have a fun time at bars. 

However, I found the seafood here to be particularly noteworthy due to its generous portions and excellent taste. I recommend anyone looking for where to get the best seafood in Puntarenas. 

What I like about this place 

What is it about this place that I dislike?

  • Stale French fries

4. Gabriella’s Steak, Seafood, and Pasta

  • Address: Puntarenas Province, Quepos, Costa Rica

Gabriella’s is the best place for fancy food like steak, seafood, and pasta, right by the ocean. Some of their unique dishes are the Wow-Wow Shrimp, Jumbo Sizzling Scallops, and the Gorgonzola Aged Strip. 

This restaurant feels cozy and romantic, with live music every night and the most extensive wine selection around, but it’s a good idea to book a table ahead of time.

I only had the opportunity to eat the avocado amaretto seabass here, and it was delicious. 

The restaurant had a nice vibe, especially with the sunset view over the marina. If you want a nice dinner in Quepos, Puntarenas, this is the place to go. It’s definitely worth the money.

What I like about this place 

  • The ambiance is lovely, with views of the marina. 
  • Parking onsite is free. 

What is it about this place that I dislike?

  • Not too attractive menu selections

5. La Takería

  • Address: Av. 2A, Provincia de Puntarenas, Puntarenas, Carmen, Costa Rica

La Takeria opens every day at noon. It’s a beautiful spot for dinner, and they specialize in Mexican foods. The location is also strategic: it is just across the road from Puntarenas Beach. 

It stands out as one of the best casual restaurants around. This relaxed restaurant adds something nice to the beachfront area in Puntarenas called Paseo de los Turistas. 

They serve authentic Mexican food, with lots of tacos and other dishes you can share. Even the fanciest things on the menu cost less than $10. 

They make their tortillas, which are strong enough to hold all the yummy toppings. If you don’t speak Spanish, don’t worry—there’s a server who speaks English and can help you choose. I definitely suggest trying it out!

What I like about this place 

  • Excellent food
  • Prices are really reasonable.
  • Definitely a place to visit while in Puntarenas.

What is it about this place that I dislike?

  • Not diverse in terms of menu.

6. Soda La Macarena

  • Address: X5G9+7JR, Av. 4, Provincia de Puntarenas, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

Puntarenas’ local snow cone treat, Churchill, is a must-try when visiting, consisting of ice, syrup, condensed milk, powdered milk, ice cream, tamarind, fruit, and cake filling.

There are quite a few places to have this treat, but I totally recommend Soda La Macarena. Located right by the beach, it is a must-visit. 

And if you love sweets, try the Churchill, which comes with unlimited condensed milk and syrup! Their sandwiches and burgers are tasty, too. But if you’re into beans, go for the casado instead of sandwiches or burgers.

Additionally, I’ve tried their water-based shakes, which resemble fruity juice with pulp—extremely tasty and refreshing!

Soda La Macarena is indeed a great spot for fast food in Puntarenas. 

Note: There’s outdoor seating, but they don’t accept reservations.

Final Verdict

When it comes to attractive dining experiences, Puntarenas isn’t among the top list of Costa Rican towns.

However, if you find yourself there, you can still have a decent eating experience, depending on the type of dish you want and the atmosphere you’d prefer. 

Overall, you can never really go wrong with the Costa del Sol Hotel & Restaurant in Caldera. But Isco Bar also has excellent reviews and many satisfied diners.

I hope this guide has been able to point you in the right direction. 

Feel free to share your experience with us in the comment section about your stay in Puntarenas, Costa Rica.

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Born in California, Michelle traveled extensively through the USA and Europe before moving to South Florida during the pandemic. Her career in Marketing has taken her all across the world. Her favorite country is France but she'll never turn down a beach vacation!

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