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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 December 2022. 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.
Top 5 Casual Restaurants
Tamarindo’s Top Casual Restaurants
1) El Mercadito
2) La Boca
4) Surf Shack
5) Long Boards
Top 5 Sunset Restaurants
Tamarindo’s Best Happy Hours
1) El Chiringuito
3) Langosta Beach Club
4) Eat at Joes
5) La Palapa
Top 5 Dinner Restaurants
Tamarindo’s Best Evening Meals
2) Bamboo Sushi Club
3) Agua Salada
5) El Santuario
Top 5 Pizza Restaurants
Tamarindo’s Most Popular Pies
1) La Esquina
2) La Pachanga
3) Fishes & Cheeses (Langosta)
5) El Sapo (Langosta)
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 the 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 great 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. 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 Chiringuito #1 SUNSET RESTAURANT (Facebook)
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. There is a nice beach vibe here and it’s always active with energy. Service can be hit or miss, especially when they are busy, so you may have to wait for a second round of drinks a little longer than you expected, but the views make up for it. Great place to people watch.
Crunchy New Favorite Casual Spot (Facebook)
Crunchy is a small and casual restaurant located on the road to the beach between La Boca and Chiringuito. The environment is surprisingly relaxing and calm and the service and staff is as wonderful and friendly as they come. If you are in the mood for a quick bite that’s high quality and fresh, Crunchy is the place to go. Their empanadas are a MUST HAVE and by far our favorite in town. They’re fresh, crunchy and delicious. We’ve tried every flavor they make and they’re all winners. Icing on the cake is that Crunchy is a great place to people watch as they venture to and from the beach on the access road 🙂
Nogui’s is a great beach spot 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 (by the traffic circle). Lunch and dinner are fine, but Nogui’s shines first thing in the morning. They also have great Happy Hour specials worth enjoying at sunset. It’s not the fastest service in town, so be prepared to wait sometimes.
Surf Shack (Facebook)
Located at the back of the traffic circle in the center of town, Surf Shack is a great casual place to eat. It’s the only restaurant that we visit on a weekly basis. They have great burgers, wings, and dogs and the milkshakes are to die for. Be sure to consider the Grilled Cheese Cheese Burger, OMG, it’s amazingly delish. Highly Recommended.
Waffle Monkey (Facebook)
The Waffle Monkey is tucked back on the beach access path near the Costal Spanish Institute and is a great place for a casual breakfast. Fresh cooked waffles with a large variety of options, including waffles with ham cooked inside! Very tasty breakfasts with juices, smoothies and coffee.
Diria Hotel Restaurant
We used to eat at the Diria quite frequently because it is right next to our kids’ favorite surf break when they were younger. 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. They have completed a brand new remodel as well now, so expect to see even more of Grinds in the future!
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 beachgoers. 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 TVs 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.
Agua Salada (Facebook)
Agua Salada is a great place to head to for sunset dinner. They have a limited menu, but every single item on the menu is extremely high quality and delicious. We’ve been a number of times and each time the service is amazing, the drinks are super cold, the food is rich and tasty and the experience is above a typical meal in Tamarindo. Agua Salada is one of the top places to eat it Tamarindo, we highly suggest a visit.
Pangas #1 DINNER RESTAURANT (Facebook)
Pangas is located at 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 well 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 next to Bamboo Sushi 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. Patagonia is one of our go-to restaurants on nights that we want to go out with friends to a great meal.
El Mercadito (Facebook)
The Mercadito is an outdoor food court just up the road from Patagonia with a huge variety of cuisines and drinks. Poke Bowls, Pura Vegan, The Asian Bistro, Patagonia to Go, Arepas, Tamarindo Burgers and more. The “Merc” is a family friendly environment that is open for both lunch and dinner and everyone in your group is bound to find something they want to eat. Plus the giant boat in the middle of the Mercadito is one of the most stocked bar in Tamarindo if you’re feeling thirsty!
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 pickup and head to the beach type of meal. Enjoy!
El Santuario (Facebook)
El Santuario (The Sanctuary) is a newer addition to Tamarindo and a very welcome one. They are located in the Plaza Conchal area and the environment is very welcoming and fresh. They have amazing service and every time we’ve gone there to eat we have had a great meal and enjoyed very creative drinks and apps. The pasta’s very fresh and tasty, the pizzas are creative and the calzones are the size of a small car, perfect for two semi-hungry adults! It’s also a great spot for people-watching because it’s on the main street in Tamarindo but it’s just far enough off the road to not be noisy and a traffic mess. It’s not a cheap option, but the service and the environment make it worth every penny. They also have a lot of live music that’s a perfect volume to still have a conversation with everyone at your table.
NOI Bistro Tamarindo (Facebook)
NOI is located next to Long Boards and across from El Santuario. They have food all day long and serve very creative and delicious dishes. Their breakfasts are super solid and are a good go-to for us when we need some food before hitting the ocean. If you want some fresh and creative food that doesn’t cost a fortune, NOI Bistro is a fantastic option.
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 good Asian restaurant, we recommend it. It’s very welcoming and service is always great. It is very worth the trip if you’re visiting from out of town. It’s a fantastic place to people-watch as they walk by on the street. 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. They have a limited menu, but it’s 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 during the Fall months.
Nordico Coffee House (Facebook)
Nordico is a locals favorite for coffee and breakfast. You’re bound to see at least a few locals getting some work done or grabbing a bite before they head out to their day in Tamarindo. Great coffee and delicious food made from extremely fresh ingredients and handcrafted 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)
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 behind the Shrimp Hole next to the bookstore.
La Boca (Facebook)
La Boca is a newer restaurant in Tamarindo and we dine there a lot because the service is great and it’s quite tasty. They feature wood-fired pizzas, homemade pasta, and the best salads in town. The environment is very welcoming and clean and the staff is top-notch with their service. The prices are very reasonable and everything we’ve eaten there to date has been quite fantastic. For those of you that have been to Tamarindo previously, this restaurant is located in the old Kahiki’s building on the corner of the road to Langosta.
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.
La Oveja Negra (Facebook)
La Oveja Negra is a hostel, bar, and restaurant located just down the dirt road at the fork in the road by Sharkeys. Their restaurant is quite delicious! They feature Mexican style cuisine that is very creative, fresh and filling. They have very generous portions and the prices are reasonable. This is one of the local favorites and it’s reliable and almost always open. You’re bound to strike up a conversation with a fellow diner or staff member, it’s a super friendly place.
Dragon Fly (Facebook)
Dragon Fly is 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 (past La Baula) and offers a group friendly, yet romantic environment. They offer a full bar and a creative dinner menu. 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 restaurant and everyone will enjoy good fresh pizza. Drinks are always cold, service is rock solid and the restaurant is covered, so it’s a great spot if the weather is looking tricky. 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 plates of pasta 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. We also love their huge Ceasar salads.
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. They open at 6:00 pm and many nights it can be hard to find a table by 7:00, it’s very popular, and for good reason.
Langosta Surf Club (Facebook)
If you’re looking for a place to watch American football with cheap beers and shockingly great food, the Langosta Surf Club is one of our favorites. This locals favorite is a watering hole for visitors from all over the globe, especially during football games. All kinds of games are available (pool, horseshoes, etc!) so it’s a great place for kids too. Matti serves up some incredible food, everything we’ve had there has been spectacular.
Walter’s Fish and Cheeses (Facebook)
Fish and Cheeses may have a strange name, but the food is incredible. This place is a local favorite and is constantly packed with a vibrant crowd of visitors. We are a HUGE fan of their pizzas, their authentic Italian recipes shine with each pizza and their pastas and seafood dishes are second to none. We’d highly recommend making a reservation if you want to eat here as it fills up quickly and almost always has a long wait if you don’t call ahead. It’s worth the trip to Langosta if you are in the mood for a unique experience with savory food. Enjoy!
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 30-45 minutes. You can order online and view menus at https://ticotogo.com/ or call them at tico-togo (8426-8646) to place a phone order. Excellent and fast service. They’re closed on Sundays so plan ahead for those Sunday night meals you don’t feel like cooking.
Really appreciate your honest and helpful reviews. We are in Tamarindo now and already found some of the restaurants here. Going to try La Pachanga tonight and Pangas Monday night. Staying at suizo and it’s a nice hotel you are100% right about the breakfast. Thanks again for posting the reviews.
Hi Todd – Sorry for the extreme delay in replying to you, we just saw your comment 🙂 Thanks for the kind words and I’m so glad we could help! Hope you enjoyed your dinners! We’ll be adding some of the new restaurants soon!
Ooh no! I stayed in Tamarindo for some time a couple years back and Kahikis was our favorite. I’m heading back next week and had been talking them up, especially the breakfast…. Upsetting to hear they have fallen off
We agree Damien! It was sad as a local to lose such a fantastic breakfast (and sports bar), but the good news is that there are two great alternatives. Be sure to visit GRINDS, which is located where AQUA (near Sunrise Condos) is at night. Grinds is run by one of the guys from Kahaki’s. Also, closer to the old Kahiki’s is CAFE TICO. They don’t have a huge menu, but their breakfast grub is delish and they make great coffee’s! They are located just south of the 2001 grocery store toward Langosta. Hope that helps keep you full with good breakfasts! Pura vida.
Thank you for the reviews. We are visiting Tamarindo in April and look forward to trying your suggestions.
Thanks Maggie! We’d love to know what you think after your visit!
Thank you for the excellent advice on where to eat in Tamarindo. So far my husband and I have tried The Surf Shack (their milkshakes are divine), La Esquina, El Chilito and The Green Papaya. Each place has been so delicious! We have plans to try a few more places on your list before we head home. Thanks again!
So glad our list helped!! Another one you should try is El Chiringuito right on the beach where the catamarans meet. Great food, good prices on drinks, beach front, locals favorite. Enjoy!