Santa Teresa/Mal Pais has grown as an international, and quite discerning, culinary hotbed in the past 10 years, or so. With a mix of cultures comes a mix of great food. Here are some of our favorites, from Mal Pais to Manzanillo. Most restaurants here will let you bring in your own freshly caught fish for them to prepare. Don’t be afraid to ask!
Click on any of the names to go to the restaurant’s website/Facebook page.
$$ – Rustic Italian hidden in the hills of Delicias, between Mal Pais and Montezuma. Cuesta mucho, pero vale la pena, they say, to get there. (Costs a lot, but it’s worth the pain). The owner and chef cultivates his own tomatoes and has a source for Costa Rican buffalo mozzarella. The menu is amazing, but I can’t get past the Bufalina pizza, a traditional margarita made with the buffalo mozz.
$$ – Beautiful spot on the beach for sunset. Try the Tropical Ceviche and enjoy a mojito as another day comes to an end.
$$ – Great pizza and pasta dishes at a reasonable price!
$$ – Fresh seafood and drinks. Check out brunch on the weekends: Eggs Benedict and Bloody Marys. Stop in to see if they’ve got any of our kayak-caught fish, just hook and line, no motor, no cheating.
$ – Hungover? If you’re an avid fisherman, probably not, but just in case you spent the evening drinking rum like a pirate, Taco, as it’s called by locals, is open late…and early. Chili Cheese Fries with Carne Mechada (stewed beef) and a cold Imperial will cure what ails you!
$$ – Best smoothies in town! They could be a meal on their own. Typical Israeli food and local favorites.
$$$ – Spanish-inspired seafood restaurant. You may not have caught them, but try the garlic shrimp appetizer. You won’t regret it! Did I mention they have paella?
$$ – Argentinian-style BBQ; go with a friend and share the Parillada, a platter of their greatest hits: chicken, pork ribs and sausage, beef tenderloin, salad, fire-roasted potatoes and bread. Stop in midday for a fresh empanada and a coke in the shade!
$$ – A local fixture, they haven’t been around this long without reason. Fresh cut, homemade french fries, substantial burgers and sandwiches at decent prices. No matter what you order, ask for a side of the green hot sauce.
$$ – Best roasted chicken in town! Fresh and bright green salad, rich black beans, crispy yucca fries and amazing sauces for all of it. Ask for a bottle of their homemade hot sauce to take home…though it will just make you wish you were here, pouring over some of their famous chicken.
$ – An inexpensive and reliable stand-by. Traditional casados done with fresh ingredients and love. If the ingredient isn’t good, Fat Tony won’t cook it!
$$ – There is little debate over which Pulpo is the best Pulpo, “El” or “Ex-“. I’ll tell you that while it’s never a good idea to date an ex, Ex-Pulpo is where it’s at when it comes to pizza.
$$ – Opened by a former MasterChef finalist and his equally talented wife, its beauty is its simplicity. Italian street food done right. Stuffed peppers, Chicken Parm sandwich, Arinicini. Need I say more?
$$ – Specialty burgers made with love and a little cheeky-ness.
$ – Another steady stand-by. Inexpensive and large servings. Excellent ceviche, casados, and burritos.
$$$ – If you like sushi, you’ve probably heard of Koji’s. Simple and rustic atmosphere set in the jungle let the food and drink shine. Koji is very particular about his ingredients and you can taste it. A Rainbow Roll and a pleasantly spicy Dark n’ Stormy will get you started off right. You’ll need reservations for this one.
$ – Fun local spot in Manzanillo overlooking the beach. It means “golden sunset” and it’s the perfect spot for a cold afternoon beer and patacones (fried green plantains) before heading back into town after dark. Closed on Mondays.