Top 7 Restaurants In La Fortuna, Costa Rica (The Best Spots Reviewed)

While many restaurants in La Fortuna are worth trying, I’ve found the Jalapas restaurant to be the best overall, especially for its excellent service, vast menu range, and views. However, Voodoo Bar & Cocktails has the best dinner/nightcap experience, while Yellow Bark shines above all options in the area for lunch. 

As a tourist myself, I know that food is very personal. So, if you’re looking for the ‘best’ restaurant, it can be difficult to satisfactorily recommend one, especially in La Fortuna, Costa Rica, where many spots fight for your attention. 

To be clear, I’ve asked many Costa Ricans for recommendations, and the standard answer is soda. These are local restaurants, usually small mom-and-pop owned, where you’ll find typical Costa Rican dishes like casados. 

So, I decided to break through the clutter of popular spots like Soda Viquez, Soda La Hormiga, and Tiquicia to find the best restaurants that genuinely deliver quality dining experiences. and trust me, eating out is one of the best things to do in La Fortuna

In this article, I have reviewed seven of the best options, the budget you can plan for each, and what to expect when you go there. 

Key Takeaways

  • You can always go right with Jalapas Restaurant. I strongly recommend it here for all-around satisfaction if you’re around La Fortuna. 
  • Voodoo Bar & Cocktails is an excellent restaurant for dinner. They serve the best cocktails I’ve had in Costa Rica.
  • Yellow Bark is your best bet for a fantastic launch, even on a budget. 
  • If you want native Costa Rican cuisine, consider sodas. However, I question the freshness of their foods because they are pre-made and stored on hot plates and salad bars.

Comparing the Best 7 Restaurants In La Fortuna

Restaurants Location  Average Budget Why I recommend
Jalapas restaurant  La Torre De Monterrey, Arenal Volcano National Park $4 – $20 Best overall
Yellow Bark  Container 506: Next to Maxi Pali, Arenal Volcano National Park $6 to $16 There are great restaurants in La Fortuna for lunch, especially burgers. 
Restaurant Café Mediterráneo Meters from the Catholic Church, on the way to San Ramon, 702 Highway, 500 meters from the Catholic Church, Arenal Volcano National Park. $5 – $15 Anyone with kids must come here. Nice play space.
Chifa, La Familia Feliz At the Costa Rica Descents Tours Office. Diagnosis of Alamo Renta Car, Arenal Volcano National Park. $10 – $20 Peruvian and Peruvian-Asian fusion cuisine
Voodoo Bar & Cocktails  Street 142, 700m west from La Fortuna Park Mercadito Arenal. $2 – $10 Best for dinner and nightcaps
Organico Fortuna 21007 la Fortuna Alajuela 466, 1 block east from La Fortuna Central Park, Arenal Volcano National Park $3 to $25 Best in Costa Rican cuisine.
Soda Mima Ave., Central Corner of Calle 474, Behind Arenal Container Hostel, Arenal Volcano National Park $4 – $15 Best Soda spot in La Fortuna

 

Let’s now look into these locations and what you can expect from each of them: 

  1. Jalapas restaurant 

jalapas restaurant

  • Budget: $4 – $20
  • Cuisines: International, Costa Rican, Latin, Healthy, Central American
  • Contact us for reservations. You can call them at +506 8605 8493
  • Opening Hours: 12:00 PM – 9:00 PM daily
  • Visit Website
  • Rating: 5/5 Stars on TripAdvisor

Jalapas Restaurant is one of the best in La Fortuna. I had a great experience there. I suggest booking ahead to ensure a table with a nice view. 

You can start with the tropical ceviche and calamari, which are delicious. I tried a few dishes for the main course, but my top picks were the beef casado and the Caribbean chicken. 

The service is quick, and the staff is friendly. You may even be lucky enough to be served by the owners themselves. 

What I like about this place

  • The service was excellent, and everyone was friendly. 
  • It has an excellent view of the countryside from the dining room.
  • There are more positive reviews than negative ones from other tourists. 
  • Budget-friendly 

What I don’t like about this place

  • The road to it is pretty bumpy but worth the ride.

    Yellow Bark 

  • Budget: $6 – $16
  • Contact us for reservations. You can call them at +506 6062 9233
  • Cuisine: Local cuisine, Latin, Bar, Central American, Costa Rican, Street Food
  • Visit Page
  • Opening Hours: 12:00 PM – 9:00 PM daily
  • Rating: 5/5 Stars on TripAdvisor

I have had some of the best Casado, burgers, and tasty drinks while watching pop videos and a free show by some geckos mating nearby. All this at Yellow Bark. The watermelon juice was a big hit, and the food was delicious and clean—no tricks, just perfect, well-prepared food. Just come in and enjoy the unique seating!

What I like about this place

  • Delicious burgers.
  • Fabulous home fries! 
  • Lovely setting. 
  • Very reasonably priced.

What I don’t like about this place

  • There are no deserts at this place, which I found strange for a proper sit-down restaurant.

Restaurant Café Mediterráneo

  • Budget: $5 – $15
  • Cuisines: Italian, Pizza, Neapolitan, Campania, Southern-Italian
  • Contact us for reservations. You can call them at +506 2479 7497
  • Opening Hours: 11:30 a.m.–9 p.m. daily
  • Visit page 
  • Rating: 4.5/5 Stars on TripAdvisor

If you’re traveling with kids, you’ll love this place! They have a separate dining area with an indoor playground. The kids can play and be as loud as they want without bothering anyone in the main dining room. Surprisingly, there’s no special menu for kids. The pizza and dishes for adults are all delicious.

What I like about this place

  • It is a great place for excellent pizza.
  • It is a good choice if you have kids and are looking for a restaurant to eat out at.

What I don’t like about this place

  • No kids menu

Chifa, La Familia Feliz

  • Budget: $10 – $20
  • Contact us for reservations. You can call them at +506 8467 5028
  • Opening Hours: 12:00 PM–10:30 PM daily
  • Visit page
  • Rating: 5/5 Stars on TripAdvisor

My husband and I were looking for something other than Costa Rican food for lunch, and after reading some reviews, we decided to try this place. I ordered the Plancha de lomito con frutos de mar, and it was one of the best dishes I’ve had in a while. The flavors were terrific, and the rice with the fish dish was also delicious.

What I like about this place

  • The dishes are family recipes, which gave the restaurant a personal touch.
  • Good Peruvian cuisine

What I don’t like about this place

  • The appearance of the place is unassuming.

Voodoo Bar & Cocktails 

  • Budget: $2 – $10
  • Contact us for reservations. You can call them at  +506 6134 3262
  • Opening Hours: 12:00 PM–10:30 PM daily
  • Visit menu page 
  • Rating: 5/5 Stars on TripAdvisor

This is the best spot for cocktails. It’s right in the heart of downtown. I love dropping by after dinner for a relaxing drink to end the night.

What I like about this place

  • Awesome drinks
  • Bartenders are very helpful at recommending drinks that you will love!

What I don’t like about this place

  • Many reviewers have complained about their Santeria, so it’s best to avoid it. 

Organico Fortuna

  • Budget: $3 – $25
  • Contact us for reservations. You can call them at +506 8572 2115
  • Opening Hours: 9:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. daily
  • Cuisine: Local cuisine, Cafe, Healthy, Central American, Costa Rican
  • Visit page 
  • Rating: 4.5/5 Stars on TripAdvisor

Organic Fortuna is an ideal restaurant in La Fortuna, especially if you want to enjoy a tasty lunch. I recommend their lovely green juices and local healthy options such as fish, plantains, rice, and beans. Some shopping opportunities are on site as well.

What I like about this place

  • It is the ideal spot for healthy meals 
  • Plenty of vegan options 

What I don’t like about this place

  • Quite pricey meals

Soda Mima

  • Budget: $4 – $15
  • Contact us for reservations. You can call them at +506 8830 3649
  • Opening Hours: 6:00 a.m.–9 PM daily
  • Cuisine: Latin, Central American, Costa Rican
  • Visit page
  • Rating: 4.5/5 Stars on TripAdvisor

Soda Mima is a fantastic, affordable place to eat in La Fortuna that isn’t crowded with tourists. It might be tricky to locate, but it’s worth it. The service is good, and the traditional Costa Rican food is delicious. You can enjoy your meal outside in a pleasant setting.

What I like about this place

  • Very simple soda
  • It has a decent ambiance but a reasonable price
  • Ideal place for vegetarians

What I don’t like about this place

  • I have seen other sodas in town with better service.

How I Navigated La Fortuna To Find the Best Restaurants

Let’s start by understanding La Fortuna. 

It’s a small town with the famous Arenal Volcano at its heart. The city is compact, with only about eight blocks of businesses centered around a park and a church.

As you come into La Fortuna from San Carlos or San Jose, you’ll find various places—restaurants, hotels, tour companies, and homes—lining the roads.

You’ll encounter plenty of tourist spots if you head about 6.5 kilometers from La Fortuna towards the volcano and Lake Arenal. 

Many visitors stay in hotels along this route. You will find the best La Fortuna hotels here, leading to another town called Nuevo Arenal. But remember, Nuevo Arenal is a bit farther away, about a 30-45-minute drive from La Fortuna, so there are better spots for dining if you want to stay close to the volcano.

It can be unclear to distinguish between Arenal volcano and Nuevo Arenal town, but when it comes to dining and shopping, stick to La Fortuna.

So, where should you eat? My best bet was to look for restaurants in the town center, nearby, or along the main road connecting the hot springs, Arenal National Park, and La Fortuna Center. 

These spots offer the best choices for delicious meals.

Why Do Many Costa Ricans Recommend Sodas?

Sodas are like cozy, family-run eateries serving unique local dishes you can’t find elsewhere. They’re known for their genuine charm and authentic Costa Rican food, all at very reasonable prices.

Places like Soda Viquez, Soda La Hormiga, Tiquicia, El Chante Verde, Red Frog, Yellow Bark, SpecTACOlar, La Forchetta, Pollo Fortuneno, and Nanku are some examples.

Think of them as a local taco stand serving traditional Costa Rican dishes like casados (rice and beans with meat), gallo pinto (rice and beans mixed with spices), and fantastic fruit juices. Seriously, you’ve got to try the watermelon juice with water.

However, there’s a place you should avoid: soda viquez. It’s shocking how many people recommend it. 

The food there is all pre-made and kept warm on hot plates or salad bars, so nothing is fresh and barely warm at best. Plus, it needs more flavor.

Note: This is my opinion of the place. You may find contrary views in other reviews. But I prefer to call a spade a spade. 

Nevertheless, I hope you found this article helpful in finding a restaurant to eat at while you are at La Fortuna. 

5/5 - (1 vote)

About 

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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