Villas del Rio


5 dinner date restaurants for a night out in Costa Rica

Do you prefer having a fancy dinner or a trendy, fun group night out with friends?

San José offers you any of those options, for romantic dates, evenings with friends or a relaxed night out alone. Here I talk to you about some places where you will definitely enjoy very flavorful dishes from talented and incredible chefs, but where you also will get an experience you'll want to repeat.


One of my favorite places, not only because the chef plays with traditional ingredients and remake known dishes, but because it is set in a gorgeous old house from the early 1920s. 

They build stories and joke with the commensal by giving you preparations made from unexpected flavors (an avocado that turns to be made of apple, a "cajeta" that turns out to be a "pejibaye" 

Try their "Esferas Patrimonio de la Humanidad" just like the stone spheres found in Osa. It's a surprising combination of sweet, tangy, salty and textures dessert. It is my favorite dessert at the moment.

Photo by  Silvestre

Photo by Silvestre


Very trendy right now, this is a kind of "market" housing plenty of small kitchens run by different chefs. 

This place is great if you are either going alone or with a big group, since it's like a gastronomic food-court, with many options for any taste. Mestizo is located in Escazú, and my favorite dishes to have there is ramen by Kamikaze Wok or the bifé de chorizo by Sie7e with fried potatoes and topped with two sunny-side up quail eggs.

During weekends they often have live music, don't miss it because you will have a great time there.

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Al Mercat

A completely different concept from the previous two. This is a farm to table restaurant, focused mainly on preparing what's fresh or in season. 

All their preparations pride to be made with local ingredients and traditional flavors mixed and paired with their recommendation of drink, to enhance the experience. 

Located in Barro Escalante, one of the trendiest streets nowadays to go have dinner, it is delicious and with most organic grown veggies, as well as grass-fed meats.

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Plaza España

A succulent dinner with a view. This Spanish restaurant is a very romantic place to go, without being fancy.

The cook here has been within the finalists of the "Concurs Internacional de Paella Valenciana, La Guácima" tournament, so you can trust the quality of it. My favorite thing to do here is ordering plenty of tapas and share, along with a pitcher of Sangría. 

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But if what you like is a good hamburger, but going the more gourmet way, I recommend La Hamburgesía. 

This is a build your own recipe kind of restaurant. You choose the weight of your blend meat patty, then the cheese and toppings. Choosing from sauteed mushrooms, caramelized onions, prosciutto, chili jelly and different cheeses makes it a fun and yummy evening. 

My favorite is the "Parisina" that has cripsy bacon, caramelized onions and brie cheese. Try it or tell me which is yours.