20 Best Restaurants in San Jose, Costa Rica

It’s only sometimes that you’ll book a hotel with dining facilities. There are times when you’ll prefer hostels or Airbnb. Therefore, it would be good to go to a nice restaurant where you can eat. In San José, several restaurants offer Costa Rican and international cuisines. 

I love checking out restaurants when I visit a new place. Costa Rica, specifically San José, has some fantastic restaurants. In this article, I offer some restaurants I have visited and that friends have recommended. 

What Should You Know About San José’s Restaurants?

It’s easy to miss the restaurants in San José, as most are small and there are no clear signage. However, that is changing due to its increasing popularity since it’s also a significant town with an airport. 

New restaurants offering international cuisines are also forcing the old establishments to change. Most restaurants are now offering both local and international cuisines. 

The Best Restaurants in San José 

There are a lot of restaurants in San José, and because of tourists, most offer a variety of cuisines from around the world. You can find classy restaurants and cheap eateries( sodas) where you can sample street food. Pejibaye is one of the most common street foods in San José. 

Doris Metropolitan

Location: En calle 1, entre avenidas 1 and 3, San José.

Website: dorismetropolitan.com.

To me, this is the best restaurant around San Jose, Costa Rica.  The restaurant has a more urban feel and has the best selection of steaks. The restaurant owners have partnered with cattle farmers to raise beef cattle that feed on pineapple. Hence, the restaurant gets beef with a distinct flavor. 

You can eat at any of the two main restaurants, a bar, or on the terrace. Finish your meal with their best wine. I suggest you review their wine list first, as they have worldwide varieties. 

Pasta Pronto Express

Location: Calle 48, Gral Canas, San Jose 10108.

Website: pastapronto.cr.

Pasta Pronto Express is ideal for excellent service and delicious Mexican, American, and Italian cuisine in a quiet restaurant. Feel free to book for a private party, and the restaurant also offers outside catering services.

I loved their fried risotto balls, which I combined with Caribbean pasta. My husband, on the other hand, loved their “Italian married” recipe, which gives you a choice of one pasta, a salad, and a piece of chicken. 

Silvestre (vegan option) 

Location: Calle 3A, Ave. 11, downtown San José.

Website: www.restaurantesilvestre.com.

Silvestre’s chef uses fresh, locally available ingredients to make the most delicious meals. You can book a seat for two people or for a special occasion.  

They have a vegetarian option, which the chef makes with freshly sourced ingredients. I loved Silvestre’s chicken pâté with soft bread and vegan mandarin ice cream. 

While the food was great, the prices for the tasting menu were higher than on the website. Hence, please confirm the prices before ordering. 


Location: Calle 33, Av. 1, House number 751, San José.

Website: www.isolinarestaurante.com.

Isolina is another highly-rated vegan restaurant in San Jose. The restaurant’s menu changes as the chefs make use of seasonal ingredients. I liked their traditional pesto, green risotto, and chocolate cake for dessert. 

You can also get some Mediterranean and European cuisine. The restaurant has outdoor seating, so you can enjoy your meals outside.

The restaurant location is hard to find, and I advise against wandering in the neighborhood. 

Jaguar Negro

Location: Calle Real, Casa 7 Bancos, San José.

Website: www.jaguarcocina.com.

You’ve never had authentic tacos if you have not tried tacos from Jaguar Negro. The chef only uses fresh ingredients, giving the meals an enticing aroma and taste. Try out their Birria beef rib. 

The restaurant’s decor combines Mexican and Nicaraguan styles, reflecting the different cultures. 

Please ask for their prices first before ordering, as they can be on the higher side.

Tierra del Café

Location: 1401 Almaden Rd., CA 95125, San José

The restaurant is for coffee lovers who want to experience authentic Costa Rican coffee. However, it’s not just known for coffee. You can enjoy South American and Argentinian cuisine too. No reservations are needed. 

Tierra del Café also offers a vegetarian-friendly menu. Most of their foods are gluten-free, and they always have fresh bread. I loved their chicken in mushroom sauce, so I had to carry a few of their empanadas for my midnight snack. 

La Davina Comida

Location: Avenida Escazú, San José.

Website: ladivinacomidacr.com

I loved the Peruvian menu as much as the Costa Rican food. My spouse loved their ceviche, as it had large chunks of fish. 

It was the first restaurant where I tasted the Costa Rican pozol acriollado (corn and pork soup), and it was worth it. 


Location: Calle 5, Santa Ana

Website: www.enjoyrestaurants.net/bacchus

It’s an Italian restaurant that also serves Costa Rican food. However, my kids loved the restaurant’s seafood section because of their large servings of fresh fish. 

Enjoy delicious meals made from fresh Mediterranean ingredients on a wooden stove. Try out Bacchus pizzas, traditional lasagna, and gnocchi. 

Gallo Rojo (Red Rooster)

Location: San Rafael de Escazú, 350 meters north. Adjacent to the Zen Designs store. 

Website: gallorojocr.com.

Don’t let Gallo Rojo’s setting fool you. It’s one of the most famous restaurants in San José. The restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating. Take a pick from their delicious Vietnamese, Thai, and Chinese cuisines. 

I loved Gallo Rojo for its Costa Rican and Asian dishes. The pork belly bao bun was my personal favorite. You can choose from their various vegan and gluten-free meals. 

Tin Jo

Location: Calle 11, Av. 6 and 8 in downtown San José. 

Website: tinjo.com

Tin Jo started as a Chinese restaurant before fully branching out to various Asian cuisines. A lot of meals are gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly. You can also join the yoga and meditation classes that take place daily. 

The restaurant’s Miercoles Candelas, held every Wednesday evening, amazed me—the staff turns off the lights in favor of candles.


Location: 1146 Esquina Suroeste, rotonda El Farolito.

Website: www.domaescalante.com.

The restaurant is located in the DOMA, one of San José’s most beautiful houses. Its owners are passionate about fine dining and ensure the restaurant has the best chefs. You get to enjoy meals prepared with local ingredients sourced from local farms. 

As you wait for your meals, you can admire the beautiful art designs that give the place a welcoming atmosphere. I loved their coffee and the delectable pastries they would have for breakfast.

L’Ile de France

Location: Malinche, San José. 

Website: lile

It is the most famous French restaurant in San José and has been a favorite with local tourists for over 40 years. The Costa Rican food on their menu includes jumbo shrimp in lime, seafood crepes, and sea bream niçoise. 

L’Ile de France currently has a chef who specializes in traditional French cuisine. Lobster bisque, steak tartare, and escargots are some of the meals we tried with my family. The restaurant has vegan options. 

Naans & Curries

Location: Momentum Lindora, San José.

Website: www.naans-curries.com

When I was craving some Indian cuisine on a visit to San José, my hosts highly recommended Naans and Curries. After my first visit, I could see why. Food is ordered, but you can request a few samosas while you wait. 

I loved their mint chutney so much that I put it on every meal. While my husband found the restaurant’s food a bit spicy, he did like their cheesy naan. Naan and Curries have branches in various Costa Rican towns. 

Buchon Cantina

Location: Calle 11, between Av. 12 and Av. 14, San José Centro.

A spritz cocktail led to the discovery of this small, cozy spot in San José. I was surprised to discover that Buchon has the most delicious pork in honey I have ever tasted. Fortunately, the restaurant’s chefs make exceptionally delicious meals. 

I recommend you call for reservations, as the restaurant fills up very quickly. After your meal, order their best Spanish wine to complete it. You can even buy a bottle of your favorite wine in the restaurant’s shop.

Grano de Oro

Location: Calle 30, San José.

Website: hotelgranodeoro.

Grano de Oro is a luxurious hotel right in the center of San José. If you want some fine dining in San José, Grano is the place to be. Enjoy the European and Costa Rican cuisines prepared by Grano’s top chefs. 

The restaurant also has a bar with the finest wine and spirits collection. Have your breakfast in the restaurant’s open-air courtyard. I recommend you try out their cocktails in the evening. 


Location: Boulevard de Rohrmoser frente al BCT, Rohrmoser, San José.

Website: www.furcacr.com

If you’re craving some steak in San José, this is the best restaurant. The Brazilian, flank, and chateaubriand complement local Costa Rican dishes like sticky rice and bok choy. Because the restaurant has a vegetable garden, you can be confident that all your meals will contain fresh ingredients. 

My husband was, however, more interested in Furca’s salmon and termed it the most delicious in all of San José. Their prawns were very tempting, but I was already full. 

Olive Garden, Terrazas Lindora

Location: Lindora, Pozos, San José Province.
Website: https://olivegarden.cr.

While Olive Garden is more famous for its Italian cuisine, you can also get American and Costa Rican foods. You can make your orders, and the restaurant will deliver them to your location. 

Like the famous Olive Garden restaurants in America, their food is delicious. Olive Garden has another branch in Escazu. 


Location: WVV2+C3F, C. Multiplaza, San José. 

Website: tintosyblancos.com.

Botaniko is the most expensive restaurant I have come across in San José. It’s more of a wine bar but it has delicious meals. On certain nights, the bar has live music. I was happy to try out a few Costa Rican wines. 

On Tuesday, if you want to sample Chilean wines and cuisine, they serve classic Chilean dishes. With over 600+ choices of wines, you will have something to accompany your meal, whether you’ve chosen Chilean, European, Argentinian, or French cuisine. 


Location: C. 50 200, San José, Gral Cañas.

L’Olivo is an elegant Italian restaurant in San José. Feel free to choose from their extensive pasta, pizza, salads, antipasti, and spaghetti range. Their local and international wine collections are also impressive. 

I loved their Gorgonzola tenderloin and oven-roasted rigatoni and would recommend them repeatedly! Their tiramisu is also delicious, and I couldn’t help getting a second serving. 

Cocina Ecléctica

Location: San Rafael de Escazú

I was saving the best for last. I loved Cocina due to its homelike feeling. Joanna has converted her home into a beautiful, homey restaurant. She asked us what we liked and didn’t like about our food, and she made a delicious meal. 

Joanna has also decorated this family restaurant with her unique artwork. I recommend this eatery if you want to avoid bothering with dressing for dinner or the usual restaurant crowd. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What food is San José, Costa Rica, best known for?

Most Costa Rican traditional foods are popular in San José. Gallo pinto, a staple of Costa Rican cuisine, is the most popular food. The meal combines black beans containing spices, garlic, onions, and rice.Gallo pinto is the main breakfast dish, accompanied by scrambled or fried eggs. Other popular dishes in San José include ceviche, casado, and Olla de Carne.


Can I eat outdoors in San José restaurants?

Yes, most restaurants in San José have outdoor seating areas. Because the area has a warm climate, it’s possible to have your meals outside most of the time. The air is warm in the evening, and most people prefer having dinner outside, especially during the drier months. 


“A place is only as beautiful as its food,” my grandma used to tell me. San José is one of the most beautiful beach towns in Costa Rica. Most San José restaurants offer Costa Rican foods but also have cuisine from other countries. 

What would you say was your favorite restaurant in San José? Please share your experience and let us know what you think of our top 20 restaurants in San José. 

5/5 - (1 vote)


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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