Where to Eat in Tamarindo
Tamarindo has a lot of restaurant options and we’ve been to most of them. The restaurant scene is constantly changing as places go under new management, sell to other owners or just plain go under. This list was updated most recently in 2017. Please note that many of the smaller restaurants around Tamarindo are “cash-only” restaurants (and this changes all the time) so it’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand so you don’t have to make a trip to the ATM at the end of your meal.
Our Top 5 Restaurants in Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Read more about each of these restaurants below in the detailed descriptions.
Along the Beach
We’ll go from the south to the north along the beach first. If you are looking at the beach, South of to the LEFT and North is to the RIGHT.
Capitan Suisso Restaurant
We had a breakfast buffet here once. It was a traditional buffet, but it was very expensive. You’ve been warned. It’s a beautiful view, right by the pool. If you are a guest at the hotel, it seems to be a popular choice for grabbing something before heading out on your adventures.
Langosta Beach Club (Facebook)
The Langosta Beach Club is a fantastic place to eat. You’re far enough south on the beach that you almost feel like you’re there alone. You can eat on the sand on the ocean side of the restaurant or you can pay for a day at the pool and then enjoy your lunch on the pool deck. It’s not the cheapest restaurant in town, but it’s not overly expensive either. If you like burgers, this is the best luxury burger in town. Also a great spot for sunset, but they do frequently have weddings and events so call ahead of time just in case. Bring Bug Spray.
El Pescador located by one of the main parking lots on the south side of the beach. This is where many of the catamaran rides depart from. The food was never incredible, but their drinks were cold and the view was top notch. El Pescador burned to the ground in December 2015 – current status: CLOSED.
El Chiringuito #1 SUNSET RESTAURANT (Facebook)
El Chiringuito opened in the Fall of 2016 and quickly became a locals favorite. Located on the beach just north of where the catamaran trips depart from, this restaurant boasts reasonably priced drinks, incredible tapas and main courses with creative ingredients not always found around town. The atmosphere is fantastic and we’ve been pleased with the staff every time we have gone. It’s one of the few places on the beach you can go that doesn’t feel like it was designed just for tourists. We highly recommend. Side Note: They only accept cash, so be sure to hit up the ATM before you go.
Nogui’s is one of our favorite beach spots to grab breakfast. Right on the ocean, this location is particularly beautiful in the morning. Nogui’s can be reached via the beach or road (on the traffic circle). Lunch and dinner are fine, but Nogui’s shines first thing in the morning.
Surf Shack (Facebook)
Located at the back of the traffic circle in the center of town, Surf Shack is owned by the former owners of Long Boards and we are there almost weekly. It’s the only restaurant that we visit on a weekly basis. They have great burgers, wings and dogs and the milk shakes are to die for. Highly Recommended.
Located just north of the Rotunda, Vulcano is a very good pizza and Italian restaurant. Decent atmosphere, live music some nights, wood fired pizzas, good mixed salads. Prices are reasonable and the kids always love going because it’s a perfect people watching restaurant for the main drag in town. A great go-to restaurant for Tico To Go as well when you just can’t muster up going out (or cooking).
Walters – Voted Least Favorite in the World (by our family)
We mention Walters only to caution you about eating there. We’ve only eaten there once, so it may have changed, but we were not impressed. In fact, the kids often joke about the “worst restaurant ever”. It’s a great location, so it’s tempting, but walk a little further in any direction for something better.
El Be (formerly Beach Club) (Facebook)
We haven’t eaten there in a while, but the lunch was good when we went a few years ago. It’s a younger crowd here typically and they have a really nice lounge area right on the beach with chairs, etc.
The Ocean (formerly Copacabana) (Facebook)
We often visited Copacabana, it was a pretty good restaurant. We have yet to try “The Ocean” but have heard decent things from other diners. The food was above average and the prices are a little high, but overall, we were pleased. Better for dinner than lunch if you want to enjoy their views and entertainment. They have a huge sandy area by the beach with a playground for the kids and lots of room to enjoy cocktails.
Nibana – Latitude Blue (Facebook)
Our favorite Happy Hour on the beach. They have happy hour twice a day and it’s typically 2 for 1 beers and select drinks. Great place to catch a sunset and drink a few cold ones. Beware, if you order 2 beers, they’ll bring you 4. It’s good to ask for a bucket with ice, they’ve got em behind the bar. We have not eaten at Nibana since the ownership has changed, but we hear it’s still pretty good.
Diria Hotel Restaurant
We used to eat at the Diria quite frequently because it is right next to our kids favorite surf break. The food is quite good and priced reasonably. It’s a nice break from the sand and is very well shaded all day long. Plus, they don’t let the vendors in, so it’s a safe haven. Try the Arroz con Pollo, it’s fantastic.
Breakfast Grinds (Facebook)
Grinds is one of the best breakfast spots in town. Owned by the former owner of Kahiki’s, Grinds is a local favorite. We would eat there for breakfast every day if we could. Be sure to try the Breakfast Burritos, they are delish! No credit cards at Grinds, so be sure to bring cash. Grinds shares a space with Aqua, which is a discotheque in the evenings.
El Vaquero (Facebook)
El Vaquero has better food than we expected, very fresh ingredients, strong food options. BUT.. be warned, every time we have been there, the service has been slower than molasses. Seriously, to the point that we waited over 30 minutes for drinks once. If you’re feeling patient and not in a rush, it’s worth going to because the food is good, but if you’re in a hurry, don’t even think about it. Great environment on the beach, perfect for watching the surfers and beach goers. One of our favorite restaurants to visit after a surf competition, but remember… be patient.. or order directly from the bar.
Eat at Joe’s (Witch’s Rock Surf Camp) (Facebook)
Eat at Joe’s has the most tropical feel on the beach. They’ve always got fun music playing, surf videos on the tv’s and a very busy bar. Service can be slow here, but if you’re into the grass hut umbrellas, view of the surf breaks and the people you’re with, you won’t even notice. The food is not mind blowing, but it’s not bad at all. We always seem to take guests here, it’s worth a trip.
Sprout! #1 CASUAL RESTAURANT (Facebook)
Sprout has been around for a while, but they just moved into FT’s old location (across from Witch’s Rock). Their new location is much closer to town (yay!), has more seating and an expanded menu. Hands down, Sprout makes the best sandwich in Tamarindo. Be sure to try the Turkey Sandwich on the Pretzel Bun. So good. Don’t miss their salads and fish taco’s either, seriously good food.
The Panderia is not as much of a restaurant (though they do serve food for the hotel) as they are a French bakery and a great place to grab a quick breakfast before heading out for the day in Tamarindo. They bake all the standard French pastries that you would expect and most are ready and waiting for you to grab quickly.
Pangas #1 DINNER RESTAURANT (Facebook)
Pangas is a newer restaurant and it’s on the far North End of the beach, tucked right up by the river. This is a beautiful restaurant. The design is great and the view is incredible. You’re far enough north as well that the beach vendors rarely stop by. And they serve food! The food is delicious, for sure top 5 in Tamarindo. It’s a bit on the expensive end, but for a nice lunch or dinner it’s worth it. Highly Recommended. Get the Beef on a Rock. Holy cow, it’s mind blowingly amazing.
On the Main Road & Up the hill to Sharky’s
Take a step off the beach and there are a lot of other restaurants deeper in town. We’re writing from the center of town (Diria) and going south and then up the paved road to the left.
Bamboo Sushi Club (Facebook)
This is one of our Top 5 Favorite restaurants in Tamarindo, it’s absolutely incredible. It’s located across the street from the Beach Club and Copacabana in a little strip shopping center. An oasis awaits you as you cross the bridge into the sushi club. You feel like you just stepped out of town into a jungle. The food is delicious. The sushi is extremely fresh and we’ve never had a bite we didn’t love. Great as a couple, family or with a group of friends.
Patagonia is located across from Latitude Blue and is quite delicious. If you’re not a meat fan, might not be your best choice, but if you are, be sure to swing by. Some of the best service in town. Excellent drinks, nice ambiance and still right in the middle of town.
Pizza & Co (Facebook)
Pizza & Co is located down the hall from Sno Shack in the bottom floor of the building by Plaza Conchal. They offer very cheap pizzas that are actually pretty decent! You’re not going to get the super creative and fresh ingredients you’ll find at La Esquina, but for the price, Pizza & Co is a great spot for a cheap meal. They also offer some Take and Bake options.
Pasta Casera (Facebook)
Pasta Casera is located next to Plaza Conchal, behind the pharmacy and is a fantastic place for a quick “grab and go” meal. They sell some of the best empanadas in town in addition to pizza slices and other freshly made pastries. They do offer a few indoor tables, but for the most part, this is a pick up and head to the beach type of meal. Enjoy!
El Chilito (Facebook)
If you’re looking for a reasonably priced quick meal, El Chilito is a great option. They serve burritos (Chipotle style) as well as burrito bowls and soft tacos. The ingredients are fresh and the flavors are strong. Great for a grab and go to the beach style meal. Be sure to try to the hottest salsa, it’s not as hot as they warn you 🙂
Long Boards (Facebook)
Long Boards is known for its’ BBQ and is good. Long Boards is a great place to grab a good, cheap meal. They have a limited menu, but if you’re into pulled pork, brisket, fish tacos, etc, you’ll love it. Another fun place to go for people watching as it’s right on the street and you’ll see all kinds of fascinating locals and tourists alike. Decent place for watching sports as well.
Wok N Roll (Facebook)
Wok N Roll is a very good Asian restaurant, we recommend it. The owners are welcoming and service is always great. It is a little over priced for what you get, but still worth the trip if you’re visiting from out of town. Great place to celebrate a birthday or other event with friends. We’ve had almost everything on the menu and have never had a dud meal. The “build your own” woks are our kids favorite meal in Tamarindo. For me (Matt) – number one meal is the Bibimbop. OMG.
Sharky’s is the quintessential sports bar. Great “Bar” food, perfect for watching football, soccer, hockey or any other live sporting event. Decent prices on beer, good service and a fun energetic environment. One of our go-to places to watch the Broncos play football.
Nordico Coffee House (Facebook)
Nordico is fairly new to town and it’s quickly becoming a local hit. Great coffee and delicious food made from extremely fresh ingredients and hand crafted elements. They offer both indoor and outdoor seating which is nice on hot or rainy days. Located across from pacific Park, it’s right in the center of town on the second floor of the building.
Shrimp Hole (Facebook)
Located next to Super 2001 Grocery store, the Shrimp Hole is a tiny spot out front of Cafe Tico with delicious food and a surprisingly fun atmosphere. Watch the crowds walk by from the cozy deck as you dine on a variety of shrimp dishes. Shrimp Hole is a great option for shrimp lovers that don’t want to spend a fortune on a great shrimp dinner.
Cafe Tico (Facebook)
Cafe Tico has long been a locals favorite morning spot. You are guaranteed to meet at least a table of locals any given morning. The coffee at Cafe Tico is fantastic, and their breakfast sandwiches and plates are delicious. You can’t go wrong starting your day off at Cafe Tico. Located next to Super 2001 Grocery store.
Kahiki’s used to be one of our favorite restaurants in town, but ownership changed and we were VERY disappointed with the breakfasts we had at that time. Since that time, Kahiki’s was closed for almost a year, then it opened for a short period of time and once again closed down. At this point it’s sitting on the corner waiting for someone to buy it. Certainly a great opportunity to create a local’s hot spot if you want to start a restaurant! 🙂
Even More Restaurants
These restaurants are all off the main beach or business strip. All are in town, but you will want to ask directions to them since there are no street signs.
Dragon Fly (Facebook)
Dragon Fly is the one of two restaurants that we take our out of town guests for a special meal. The food is divine. Everything we’ve had is delicious. The restaurant is tucked up in the jungle and offers a group friendly, yet romantic environment. You can’t go wrong with a meal at Dragon Fly.
La Baula (Facebook)
La Baula is another good pizza spot. Younger kids will LOVE the playground that’s been built into the the restaurant and everyone will enjoy good fresh pizza. Located up the road before Pasa Tiempo (on the way to DragonFly) – just ask, everyone knows where it is.
Green Papaya (Facebook)
Green Papaya offers fresh and creative taco options. Fish tacos, pulled pork tacos, beef tacos, great salads, a good hamburger and so much more. Kids love the Green Papaya because of their seats that are actual swings. Great lunch spot, located on the road up to Baula & Dragon Fly.
La Bodega (Facebook)
La Bodega is a sandwich shop just up the dirt road from La Esquina. They offer super fresh food that’s all organic and amazing. Be sure to try some of their baked goods as well, everything melts in your mouth. Many of their products are for sale as well (eggs, cheese, it varies) and is a favorite local spot for some specific items!
Pachanga is one of the best Italian restaurants we’ve ever eaten at. It is just up the road from La Bodega. Fresh pastas and sauces, great pizza and a fun staff await you. Be sure to try the Gnocchi, it’s to die for. Our kids are huge fans of the sausage pizza.
La Esquina #1 PIZZA RESTAURANT (Facebook)
Located just a few blocks further up than Pachanga, La Esquina is, hands down, our favorite pizza restaurant in town. It’s all wood fired, they have bold ingredients (the Explosive is our favorite!) and their crust is crispy and light. The environment is warm and welcoming and they have a great little area for kids to play while you’re waiting for your pizza. Great option for pizza at home/hotel too, via Tico To Go.
Season’s is the other really nice restaurant in Tamarindo, another great place for a special dinner, date night, etc. Everything on the menu is fantastic, you can’t go wrong. You dine out by the pool in a beautiful setting or white table cloths and ambient music.
Matty’s Deli Cafe (Facebook)
Matty’s Deli is a perfect place to grab a sandwich, salad or a smoothie when you’re in the Langosta area. They are conveniently located right across from the main beach access and offer a variety of fresh and tasty meals. Catch some waves in Langosta and stop at Matty’s for lunch after an epic session.
Langosta Sports Bar
If you’re looking for a place to watch american football with cheap beers and a limited selection of “bar food”, the Langosta Sports Bar is one of our favorites. Don’t expect fancy, this locals favorite is a watering hole for visitors from all over the globe during football games. This is a Cash-Only place, so be sure to bring cash as there are no ATM’s anywhere near by. All kinds of games are available (pool, horseshoes, etc!) so it’s a great place for kids too.
Bula Bula (The Great Waltini’s) (Facebook)
If you want a truly unique experience, don’t miss dinner at Bula Bula. The restaurant is actually located in Playa Grande, but they will come pick you up in a boat and take you up the river on your own private ride and drop you off at the restaurant. The food is spectacular and the staff is second to none. After your meal, your boat comes back to pick you up and drop you back off at the base of the river. Give them a call to make a reservation and let them know that you need a ride up the river. It’s included in the evening which is nice, just be sure to tip your captain (Ruben) $10-$20 for the round trip ride. It’s worth it!
Food Trucks Around Tamarindo
There are a few food trucks in Tamarindo that you don’t want to miss if you have the opportunity to dine with them.
Eat My Taco (Facebook)
The Eat My Taco truck can be found all over Tamarindo. Check their Facebook page for their current schedule. Most of the time, you’re guaranteed to find them at the Tamarindo Feria (Farmers Market) on Saturdays as well as a host of other locations. These tacos are special. If you love a great taco, be sure to grab a snack from Bryan and Laurie, you won’t regret it at all.
The Perfect Burger (Facebook)
We don’t see the Perfect Burger truck as much as we’d like to because it’s fantastic – The burgers are quite epic and if you are a burger fan, make sure you try one of these tasty burgers. They’re very reasonably priced (around $7) and worth every penny. Check their Facebook page for current locations and timing.
Frozen Treats, Smoothies and Juice
Tamarindo is bursting with places to buy cold drinks, ice cream and healthy refreshments. This list covers the Juice places, Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt as well as the Smoothie stands.
Sol Frozen Yogurt (Facebook)
Sol Frozen Yogurt is located in Plaza Conchal across from the Food Court. If you’re in the mood for a sweet treat, their frozen yogurt is fantastic. They also offer a variety of other drinks and ice cream.
Groovy Box (Facebook)
Groovy Box is located in the center of the main street right next to the Diria hotel. Groovy box offers smoothies, ice cream, specialty coffee’s and more. It’s a fun spot to stop for a cool drink while you watch the people walk by on the sidewalk.
Sno Shack (Facebook)
Sno Shack is a little tiki-style hut located on the road between the beach and Plaza Conchal and features shaved ice, smoothies and juices. They’re not overly fast, but the juices and smoothies are quite amazing and worth the wait.
Ono Juice Bar (Facebook)
Ono is located across from the 2001 inside the WISE fitness studio. Ono offers super healthy cold pressed juices that are packed with vitamins and nutrients. If you’re looking for a burst of healthy goodness, be sure to swing by Ono.
There are a number of Mandarina smoothie bars in town. They offer smoothies in a variety of flavors. There are dozens of places to get smoothies in town, and Mandarina is a great option. Be sure to try their signature Mandarina Smoothie, it’s quite delish.
Late Night Adventures
Sharky’s is known for sports and late night parties. It’s always hopping at Sharky’s if you are looking for something to do in the evening.
Pasa Tiempo (Facebook)
Pasa Tiempo is a fun hotel/bar that offers a variety of fun evening festivities. Wednesday nights are especially popular as they feature live music and a great local crowd.
We’ve never been, but we’ve heard it’s quite a fun adventure if you’re single in your 20’s 🙂
One More Important Dining Option
Tico To Go (Facebook)
Tico To Go is one of the best things that ever happened to Tamarindo. Almost every restaurant in Tamarindo is available to you and they will order it, pick it up and deliver it to you for a very nominal fee. Call them up, place your order and head back to the pool, it’ll be there in about 30 minutes. You can order online and view menus at http://ticotogo.com/ or call them at tico-togo (8426-8646) to place a phone order. Excellent and fast service.