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17 Most Unique Restaurants in Costa Rica That You’ll Love

Are you looking for the most unique restaurants in Costa Rica? This country is filled with unusual places from restaurants in tree houses, planes, boats, buildings painted like a giant caterpillar and more!

We created this list to help you find the perfect place to eat while in Costa Rica for a memorable and unique experience. This list includes places throughout the country and at a wide variety of price points.

So, let’s get to all the most unique restaurants in the country!

1. Castillo De Lilo

Location: Playa Potrero

Castillo de Lilo is a castle located above the Pacific Ocean with amazing views. A dining experience here will take place on the large castle terrace.

There are multiple ways to visit. You can opt for a full dining experience with a three-course meal and tour of the castle or a sunset aperitif option. They also are happy to host weddings or special events.

The setting is amazing and unique, but the real star here is definitely the food. Everything is carefully and thoughtfully prepared. The presentation and taste are exceptional.

  • Price Point: $$$$
  • Vegetarian Options? Yes, there is a vegetarian menu option
  • Takes Reservations? Yes, you need to make reservations in order to visit. Please use the button below to contact them and reserve a table.
  • Rating: 5/5 stars on TripAdvisor

Get More Info on Castillo de Lilo

2. San Lucas Tree Top Dining

17 Most Unique Restaurants in Costa Rica That You'll Love

Location: Monteverde

San Lucas Treetop dining experience is, as the name suggests, more than just a restaurant. This unique place is located on the Chira Glamping hotel property. All table are secluded with an open air feel and impressive cloud forest views.

This meal is a 9 course menu that changes based on what is fresh.

It’s definitely a memorable experience and great for a special occasion! If you are looking for a very very nice romantic meal, this is the perfect place for it. 

  • Price Point: $$$$
  • Vegetarian Options? Yes, they offer this experience catered to normal diners, pescetarians, vegetarians, and vegans. 
  • Takes Reservations? Yes, you need to make a reservation. You can do that here
  • Opening Hours: 12:30 PM – 12:00 AM
  • Rating: 5/5 Stars on TripAdvisor

Get More Info on San Lucas Treetop Dining

3. Adventure Dining

Location: Jaco

This place is kind of in its own league because they offer such a unique and amazing experience. 

Basically, on the afternoon of your reservation, a driver will pick you up at your Jaco area hotel to take you to the Adventure Dining property.

The property is located in the hills above Jaco with impressive views and well-manicured gardens.

You will then have time to walk around the gardens and meet other dinner guests while enjoying a welcome drink. 

You will then be welcome to enjoy the open bar and appetizers followed by dinner. Dinner is a salad followed by three main courses. After dinner, coffee and dessert are served. 

  • Price Point: $$$$
  • Takes Reservations? Yes, you need to make a reservation. You can do that using the link below.
  • Rating: 5/5 stars on TripAdvisor

Get More Info on Adventure Dining

4. The Treehouse Restaurant

Location: Monteverde

The Tree House Restaurant is, as the name says, a restaurant with a giant tree in the middle. 

In our opinion, the food isn’t overly impressive. You are better off eating at one of our other favorite restaurants in Monteverde.

However, it is such a unique atmosphere that we suggest just coming here for a beer or cocktail instead. They have live music every evening starting at 6:30pm. 

  • Price Point: $$
  • Vegetarian Options? Yes, there are a few vegetarian options. 
  • Takes Reservations? Yes. You can email them at [email protected]
  • Opening Hours: 11:30 AM – 10:00 PM daily
  • Rating: 4/5 Stars on TripAdvisor

Get More Info on the Treehouse Restaurant

5. Bernina Artisan Food

Location: Just outside of the town of Nicoya

the first time we ate here we stopped on a whim. We were driving from San Jose to Samara and happened to get hungry. I looked at Google Maps and found this place that seemed very unique, so of course we had to stop.

This is now one of my favorite restaurants in Costa Rica.

Bernina Artisan Foods is run by a man from Switzerland and his wife from Costa Rica. All the food is freshly prepared and a lot of it is made using fruits, vegetables, and herbs from the large garden.

This is more than just a dining experience. You will also likely be treated to a tour of the property and get to try a lot of delicious fruits.

Just be warned, this is not a quick stop. You will likely spend at least an hour here.

  • Price Point: $$$
  • Vegetarian Options? Yes, there are a few vegetarian options.
  • Takes Reservations? It’s a good idea to just call them and let them know you are coming. That way you can make sure the restaurant is actually open. +506 8342 6474
  • Opening Hours: 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM Wednesday – Saturday
  • Rating: 5/5 stars on TripAdvisor

Get More Info on Bernina Artisan Food

6. Mirador Ram Luna

17 Most Unique Restaurants in Costa Rica That You'll Love

Location: San Jose

This is more than just a traditional Costa Rican restaurant. Mirador Ram Luna is also an experience. This restaurant is located on one of the hills above the city of San Jose and provides some of the best view of the city at night. 

I wouldn’t say that the food is overly special, but the views and atmosphere are the real draw here.

  • Price Point: $$$
  • Vegetarian Options? They only have one vegetarian main dish option. However, if you are gluten-free there are multiple great options.
  • Takes Reservations? Yes, I suggest reserving because this place is popular. +506 2230-3022
  • Opening Hours: 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM Tuesday – Friday | 12:00 PM – 11:00 PM Saturday | 12:00 PM – 9:00 PM Sunday.
  • Rating: 4.5/5 stars on TripAdvisor

Check out Restaurante Mirador Ram Luna

7. HiR Fine Dining

Location: Pinilla (near Tamarindo)

This dining experience takes place in the home of Mercedes Noam Kostucki. She is an amazing chef who will prepare you a delish 3 hour long dining experience.

Mercy can serve up to 12 guests per night, so expect an intimate experience and the chance to converse with other friendly people.

She takes care to use many local ingredients and will share stories about how everything is prepared.

Just note, Mercy does not serve drinks. This is so she can focus on the food. However, she is happy to let you bring in any bottles of wine, juices, etc. that you would like.

If you are in the Tamarindo area I highly recommend organizing a unique fine dining experience here.

  •  Price Point: $$$$ dinner is $270 per person
  • Vegetarian Options? Mercy can accommodate most dietary needs. Please let her know when you make your reservation.
  • Takes Reservations? Yes, you will need to make reservations. You can not just show up. You can reserve using the link below.
  • Opening Hours: Dinner starts exactly at 5:15 pm. She is usually available to prepare a meal every night of the week.
  • Rating: 5/5 stars on TripAdvisor

Get More Info on Hir Fine Dining

8. La Oruga Restaurante

Location: A remote part of the Osa Peninsula. You can find it on Google Maps here.

La Oruga means “the caterpillar” in English, and that is exactly what this cafe is. They serve up basic Costa Rican fare in a building that resembles a giant green caterpillar.

I suggest opting to eat at one of the outside tables so you can enjoy the view of the giant caterpillar building.

  • Price Point: $
  • Vegetarian Options? Yes, there is a vegetarian casado or burrito as well as some vegetarian appetizers.
  • Takes Reservations? You typically do not need to make a reservation, but you can always call them at +506 8802 3717
  • Opening Hours: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM Tuesday – Friday | 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM Saturday and Sunday | Closed on Mondays

Get More Info on La Oruga Restaurante

9. Bar D

Location: Muliplaza parking garage in San Jose

OK, this is one of the coolest hidden gem bars ever! I guess I should really call it a Speakeasy instead of bar because it is hidden in the parking garage of Multiplaza (the biggest mall in Costa Rica). 

Thomas and I come to this mall fairly often and I never knew this place existed. I only found it when I started to make this list and saw it mentioned somewhere online. So, of course, we then had to go check it out. 

It is only accessible from a random door next to the staircase in the parking garage. Otherwise, you would never find it. 

Come here for a cocktail and stay for a good conversation with the bartender. 

  • Price Point: $$
  • Takes Reservations? Yes, you can make a reservation using this link.
  • Opening Hours: 6:00 PM – 11:45 PM Tuesday – Saturday
  • Rating: 5/5 stars on TripAdvisor

Check out Bar D

10. RLT Cuisine

Location: Playa Potrero

RLT stands for Road Less Traveled Cuisine. This is a unique private experience in which Chef Gilberto will create you an exclusive meal at his food lab. The food lab can fit 4 guests.

This is a 90 minute experience in which you will have the chance to watch as Chef Gilberto prepares your food. He is a super nice person and will probably tell you plenty of stories and info about the cooking process throughout your experience.

It is also possible to book a cooking class or hire him to come cook at your vacation rental.

  • Price Point: $$$$
  • Vegetarian Options? 
  • Takes Reservations? Yes, it is a good idea to reserve.
  • Opening Hours: 11:00 AM – 9:00 PM daily
  • Rating: 5/5 stars on TripAdvisor

Get More Info on RLT Food Lab

11. El Taller de Billy Sazon

Location: San Jose near the US Embassy

This is not exactly a restaurant, but more of an exclusive dining experience. They only take one reservation per night to offer the best experience.

Billy, the chef, will prepare several courses for you with wine pairings.

  • Price point: $$$$
  • Takes reservations? Yes, the only way to visit is by reserving ahead of time. You can reserve here
  • Opening Hours: 5:45 PM – 11:00 PM Thursday – Sunday
  • Rating: 5/5 stars on TripAdvisor

Check out El Taller de Billy Sazon

12. El Avion

el avion

Location: Manuel Antonio

This restaurant/ bar consists of a bar in an old Fairchild C-123 plane used during the CIA / Iran Contra. It has a unique history that you can learn about in the bar. There is also a large restaurant with ocean views located next to the plane.

I don’t think that this place is really worth visiting for food. There are so many other options in Manuel Antonio for better cuisine.

However, it is definitely worth coming here for a cocktail in the plane’s interior.

  • Price Point: $$
  • Vegetarian Options? Yes
  • Takes Reservations? Yes, you can call +506 2777 3378
  • Opening Hours: 6:30 AM – 10:00 PM daily
  • Rating: 4/5 stars on TripAdvisor

Get More Info on El Avion

13. Silvestre

Location: San Jose

If a restaurant in Costa Rica ever gets a Michelin star, I think it will be Silvestre.

I put this restaurant on this list because they serve an elevated twist on traditional Costa Rican cuisine using fresh and local ingredients.

Here you will enjoy an 8-course tasting menu that varries depending on the season.

The setting of the restaurant is also beautiful.

  • Price Point: $$$$
  • Takes Reservations? Yes, you need to make a reservation. That can be done on Open Table using the link below.
  • Opening Hours: 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM daily. Closed on Mondays
  • Rating: 4.5/5 stars on TripAdvisor

Get More Info on Silvestre

14. PizzaTree

Location: Playa Bejuco on the Nicoya Peninsula

Pizza Tree is, as the name says, a pizza restaurant in a tree house. We love coming here for the friendly staff, relaxed atmosphere, great elevated views, and of course the delicious pizza!

  • Price Point: $$
  • Vegetarian Options? Yes, they serve plenty of vegetarian pizzas
  • Takes Reservations? That typically is not necessary, but you can always call them at: +506 2655 8063
  • Opening Hours: 12:00 PM – 9:30 PM daily
  • Rating: 5/5 stars on TripAdvisor

Get More Info on Pizza Tree

15. Rancho Cielo Alto

Location: Uvita

Chef Jasmine runs this intimate dining experience with seaside views in Uvita. Most of the meals are prepared using fresh ingredients from the on-site garden.

I have to say, Chef Jasmine is one of the best chefs I have ever encountered. Everything here is so delicious.

This is a by-reservation-only restaurant. This is great though because it keeps the amount of diners very small.

Keep in mind that this is somewhat remote and can be hard to find. A 4×4 vehicle is also helpful.

  • Price Point: $$$
  • Vegetarian Options? 
  • Takes Reservations? Yes, you will need to contact them to dine here. You can call +506 8555 2322 or email [email protected]
  • Opening Hours: 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM daily. Closed on Sundays
  • Rating: 5/5 stars on TripAdvisor

Get More Info on Rancho Cielo Alto

16. Hacienda Alsacia

hacienda alsacia

Location: Alajuela

Hacienda Alsacia is the only coffee farm owned by Starbucks in the world. Here you can enjoy a guided tour of the property, learn all about how coffee is produced, and enjoy their cafe.

The open-air Starbucks cafe on the property has an extensive menu with several drinks that are not available at a regular Starbucks. I love trying something unique here.

This place is located between the San Jose Airport and Poas Volcano, so be sure to stop after your volcano visit!

Check out our guide to Hacienda Alsacia for more info on planning your visit!

  • Price Point: $$
  • Vegetarian Options? Yes
  • Takes Reservations? They do not take reservations for the cafe, but if you would like to take a tour it is best to reserve that ahead of time. You can do that here.
  • Opening Hours: 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM daily
  • Rating: 5/5 stars on TripAdvisor

Get More Info on Hacienda Alsacia

17. Katonga

Location: Tortuguero

Katonga is an intimate eating experience on a boat put on by Mawamba Lodge.

Their floating restaurant navigates the Tortuguero Canals while you enjoy a delicious four-course lunch or dinner. How cool is that?

The floating restaurant features a dining area, bar, kitchen, and restrooms.

The maximum capacity for the restaurant is 24 people.

  • Price Point: The 4-course menu is $48 USD + 13% VAT and doesn’t include drinks or tips
  • Vegetarian Options? You will need to contact them to see if they can accommodate vegetarians, vegans, or other food sensitivities.
  • Takes Reservations? Yes, you need to make reservations for this restaurant.
  • Opening Hours: Lunch departs at 12:00 PM and dinner departs at 7:00 PM
  • Rating: 4.5/5 stars on TripAdvisor

Get More Info on Katonga

Other Things to Know About Eating in Costa Rica

costa rica beach bar
  • Another unique dining experience is visiting a trucha. Trucha means a small fishing pond for trout with a restaurant attached. You will be given a fishing line with bait on the end and will have the chance to catch your fish. They will then cook it up right there for you to eat in their small restaurant with traditional side dishes. It is a very traditional experience that most tourists never do (but you should). Just search “trucha” on Google Maps to find one near the places you are visiting.
  • Another fun dining experience in Costa Rica is enjoying a beach bar. I feel like nothing feels more like you are on a tropical vacation than enjoying some fresh fish and cocktails with epic views of the ocean. Check out our Guide to the Best Beach Bars in Costa Rica for more info.
  • If you want more info on the best restaurants in each location, check out our destination guides. Each one includes a restaurant section for our favorite places at a variety of price points.

Conclusion: Most Unique Costa Rica Restaurants

In conclusion, Costa Rica is filled with unique culinary experiences throughout the country. No matter which towns you visit you will find excellent eating opportunities at a range of price points.

If you have any questions about restaurants in Costa Rica, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comment section below. we are always happy to help you plan!

Costa Rica Travel Details: What You Need to Know

🚗 Should I rent a car in Costa Rica?

Having a rental car will give you the most flexibility when traveling in Costa Rica. This will also allow you to take fun day trips on your own.

🏄🏽 How can I book things to do?

We find that Viator tends to have the most comprehensive selection of activities with secure booking and good cancellation policies.

🍍 I’m overwhelmed with planning. Can you help?

Of course! I suggest joining our Facebook group for specific questions and head to our Start Here Page to get started planning.

✈️ What is the best way to book a flight?

Usually, we have the best luck finding great prices with Skyscanner. Check for flights to both San Jose Airport (SJO) and Liberia Airport (LIR).

🛏️ What is the best way to book my Costa Rica hotels?

We highly suggest Booking.com for hotel bookings and typically use VRBO for Costa Rica vacation rentals.

🗣️What is the main language in Costa Rica?

The main language in Costa Rica is Spanish. Most people working in tourism speak at least some English.

💰 What is the currency in Costa Rica?

The currency used in Costa Rica is the Costa Rican colón (CRC). However, the US dollar is widely accepted in most tourist areas

📞 What is the best way to stay connected?

An eSIM from Airalo is the easiest way to get 4G data while traveling in Costa Rica.

🌴 Is Costa Rica safe?

Generally, Costa Rica is considered safe for tourists. However, like any travel destination, it’s best to use caution and be aware of your surroundings.

🛂 Do you need a passport to go to Costa Rica?

Yes, Costa Rica is its own country. You will need a passport to visit.