A Complete Restaurant Guide to Santa Teresa

Traditional Costa Rican food in an elegant platter

Santa Teresa Restaurants: A Varied Culinary Landscape

Santa Teresa is renowned for its world-class surfing, barefoot luxury, and plenty of other activities to enjoy. But it's the culinary scene that truly steals the spotlight. This vibrant town boasts an eclectic array of eateries, rivaling even the most famous urban centers.
Whether you’re staying in a hotel and want to explore the town, or sleeping in a private villa and need to get your meals sorted, there’s an option for everyone. Here’s my curated list of the best food Santa Teresa restaurants.

Taste the Ocean: Top Seafood Restaurants in Santa Teresa

The seafood in Santa Teresa is a testament to the town's coastal bounty. Fresh yellowfin tuna and mahi mahi, sourced just a stone's throw away from the shore, are a true culinary delight in this area. While most places feature a catch of the day, Casa Del Mar consistently shines as a top pick. They offer various options to have the catch of the day as well as other seafood specialties. And for those who lean towards land-based delights, Casa Del Mar serves up some of Santa Teresa's finest steaks. This means travelers who both enjoy or avoid seafood have a solid choice in this restaurant.

Local Flavors: Authentic Costa Rican Eateries in Santa Teresa

Just like the rest of Costa Rica, Santa Teresa boasts some fantastic local cuisine. Among the many "sodas" (the word for small local restaurants here), my top pick is Soda Tiquicia. It's where you’ll find the most delectable gallo pinto for breakfast (a famous rice and beans dish). If you're on time for lunch or dinner, don't miss out on the casado with mahi mahi. Trust me, it's freshly caught from local waters and is a taste sensation! It perfectly showcases the good, day-to-day food of Costa Rica.
Close up of one of Costa Rica's traditional dishes, called chifrijo, and made with beans, rice, pork, tomatoes, onion, and chips

Refresh and Relax: Best Cafes and Coffee Spots in Santa Teresa

At both ends of town, I have my favorite cafes. Up north, I kickstart my day at El Patio Cafe with a Gaston sandwich paired with a refreshing banana iced coffee. Down south, The Bakery never disappoints with its delectable baked goodies, perfect for any time of day! If you're there for breakfast, give the breakfast sandwich with tahini a try. YUM!

Global Palate: International Cuisine in Santa Teresa

The international dining scene in Santa Teresa is an adventure in itself. Craving Italian cuisine? Pronto is your go-to spot. With their new location right in the heart of town, it's perfect for everything from an intimate dinner to a grand celebration. For a sushi fix, Koji’s is the undisputed champion. Gather an assortment of rolls and embark on a culinary journey. And if Mediterranean fare is on your mind, the falafels at Zula Restaurant, an authentic family-run Israeli establishment, are a must-try.

Eating Green: Vegan and Vegetarian-Friendly Spots in Santa Teresa

With a large yoga community, finding excellent gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options in Santa Teresa is a breeze. Remember Zula Restaurant with its mouth-watering falafels? They're just one of the many spots catering to plant-based palates. Another gem in the mix is Drift Bar. While they do offer dishes like the Tuna Poke Bowl (my personal favorite!), they truly shine with their vegetarian and vegan alternatives.
Take, for instance, their ingenious "watermelon tuna" – a refreshing vegan twist on the classic. And if you're thirsty, don't miss out on their cocktails made from freshly pressed, in-house juices. The best part? You can take these vibrant concoctions with you in their eco-friendly bottles!

Dine by the Waves: Beachfront Restaurants in Santa Teresa You Shouldn’t Miss

Since you're at the beach, a few meals with your toes in the sand are obligatory. Start your day at Manzú for a delightful breakfast, in the Hotel Nantipa. Call me to book your stay here and enjoy your breakfast on the house! As midday approaches, make your way to Banana Beach and enjoy a leisurely lunch on the shaded lounge seats. Finally, as the sun sets over the ocean, savor the moment at El Carmen, accompanied by live music—a perfect way to cap off a day of beachfront dining in Santa Teresa. If you can carry a tune, they also have open mic nights twice a week.
Sunny day at Santa Teresa beach, boasting white sand and blue skies

Evening Vibes: Santa Teresa Bars and Nightlife

The nightlife in Santa Teresa is alive and kicking seven days a week, ensuring there's always a spot to dance the night away. Since the pandemic, Kooks has been THE place to be, and their brisket is the ideal prelude to a night of revelry. Whether in a sandwich, piled on nachos, or—and this is a game-changer—mixed in mac & cheese, it's a flavor explosion.
Then there's Somos.This isn't just any bar; it's got a custom surfboard shop and it's housed in a super-cool airstream trailer. Their burgers? Legendary. And if you're up for some dancing, their dance parties later in the night are not to be missed. And for those who can party till the wee hours, La Lora Amarilla Disco is conveniently located just across the street for a true Latin American disco experience!

Hidden Gems: Off-the-Beaten-Path Restaurants in Santa Teresa

One of my treasured lunch spots? Rocamar, a beachfront haven tucked away in the far north end of Playa Santa Teresa. Pair their fried chicken sandwich with a local craft beer for the ultimate relaxation while watching the locals ride the waves. And don't leave Santa Teresa without stopping by Taco Corner. While the location isn't exactly hidden, the exceptional quality of the food might just surprise you. Their grilled fish taco is, hands down, one of the best dishes in Santa Teresa!
Chalupas and lemonade by the beach

Budget Bites: Affordable Yet Delicious Dining Options in Santa Teresa

For those on the hunt for budget-friendly delights, it's less about where you are and more about what's on your plate. Ceviche, available at almost every restaurant in town, is a splendid choice. Made with fresh local fish and paired with scrumptious patacones (that's a traditional dish made of unripe fried plantains, for the uninitiated), it's an affordable yet delicious treat.

Practical Tips for Dining in Santa Teresa

Santa Teresa's dining scene might surprise you a bit with its prices, being on par or even a tad pricier than some other spots more crowded by tourists. Why? Well, it's a mix of its somewhat out-of-the-way location and the top-notch culinary standards they uphold. A 10% gratuity is usually included, though additional tips are always appreciated. And don't be shocked if you see patrons in swimwear, especially during lunch. Many come from the beach directly for their food!
From mid-December through March, during the dry season, you might want to book a table for dinner ahead of time. And, in the rainy season, between mid-September and mid-November, some places may close for a week or more, so doing a quick online check before heading out is not a bad idea.

Savoring Santa Teresa - A Gastronomic Journey

With influences from around the world, Santa Teresa's dining establishments offer a delightful fusion of global flavors. Whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, the home of barefoot luxury never disappoints. Traverse our main street and savor as much of the best food in Santa Teresa as your taste buds can handle. Contact us today and embark on a delicious adventure in Santa Teresa!
Local Experts

We live, work & travel in Costa Rica.

Tailored Travel

Every trip is designed for you.

Super Service

5,000+ reviews from dazzled guests.

Ready for the trip of a lifetime? Call us!
(800) 262-1578