Best Places to Eat Around Monteverde

Costa Rica     Food
Sabor Tico in Perro Negro, one of the 3 locations in town.
Sabor Tico in Perro Negro, one of the 3 locations in town.
There are a lot of restaurants in Santa Elena / Monteverde to sift through! From high end, to local dives, here are some local favorites.
Montverde is pretty much a must-do when you visit Costa Rica. It ranks among the higher priced towns in the country, too, with plenty of over-priced dining options vying for the tourist dollars. The main town where most of the restaurants, bars, and shops are is Santa Elena, particularly in the triangle (see map).

I mostly just cooked at home (your cheapest option by far) or had bocas at the bars so some of my restaurant recommendations are from the people that live here; the ones in the know. They do tell me that it's an unfortunately short list of good places to eat where you get what you pay for.

In addition to the places listed, here, keep an eye out for barely noticeable street-side places serving local fare that pop up from time to time. And don't forget to check out Where to Grab a Drink (and a Bite) in Monteverde.
Map of my suggested places to eat in Santa Elena / Monteverde.
Map of my suggested places to eat in Santa Elena / Monteverde.
In the SuperMega Shopping Center
There are a few places to eat in the shopping center near the TransMonteverde bus office. On first look, it's not the most attractive setting, but there's a nice view from upstairs. The Green Restaurant is the best with a more upscale menu (be careful not to end up in the super pricey place next door), and there's a good panini shop downstairs. Sabor Tico is okay Costa Rican food and actually has 3 locations around town. Prices are fair and they have local cuisine like casado and fried rice.
The Green Restaurant
The Green Restaurant
The Green Restaurant with Sabor Tico in the background
The Green Restaurant with Sabor Tico in the background
A vegetarian casado I got at Sabor Tico
A vegetarian casado I got at Sabor Tico
Orchid Cafe
Tired of gallo pinto? If you're looking for something a little more western, this quaint coffee shop just off the south eastern tip of the triangle is your place. Paninis, crepes, desserts, smoothies and more - delish. Around C3,000 for a specialty coffee and C2,000 for a smoothie.

Tramonti
A hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant. One of the best in town. It's on the road to the Monteverde Cloud Forest, just across from the Bat Jungle.

Cuchara de Abuelo
Tucked in the back of the CASEM artists co-op building, there's a small restaurant with varying speeds of service. They have fresh juices and typical plates. And you get the added bonus of seeing the local artists' offerings on your way through.
CASEM artist co-op
CASEM artist co-op
Cuchara de Abuelo is in the back of the shop.
Cuchara de Abuelo is in the back of the shop.
Cuchara de Abuelo menu
Cuchara de Abuelo menu
Cuchara de Abuelo cute little restaurant
Cuchara de Abuelo cute little restaurant
Tree House Restaurant
The Tree House Restaurant & Café is one of the more iconic places in town (downtown in the triangle). You can't miss it with the giant 50 year old tree growing in the middle of the building and stretching to the outside. It looks really cool at night with lots of colored lights. It's trendy and pricey with bad food but it has some cool factor. Not a budget pick, or a good pick at all, but apparently it's very popular.
That big tree is coming out of the restaurant!
That big tree is coming out of the restaurant!
Looking up into the Tree House Restaurant. There, you've seen it, now you can move on. ;)
Looking up into the Tree House Restaurant. There, you've seen it, now you can move on. ;)
Taco Taco
I'm only listing this here because if you want to go to the place that the guidebooks tell you need to go, it's here. They try to appeal to a younger demographic with their "F'n Good Tacos" sign and prices have become inflated. However, there are often sloths spotted in the trees behind the restaurant along Calle Paraiso so it's a good landmark!
F'n good tacos. I don't think you'll find many locals eating here.
F'n good tacos. I don't think you'll find many locals eating here.
The trees to the left are where sloths are sometimes spotted!
The trees to the left are where sloths are sometimes spotted!
The Open Kitchen / Tap House
This place is more upscale so expect the prices to reflect that, but it's not overly expensive at all. They also have good vegetarian options. If you want a quick bite, you can get a nice bowl of edamame for only C1,500. Eat upstairs in the restaurant or downstairs in the bar. Shout out to Candy and Emel - super friendly and helpful staff in the bar!
The Open Table Restaurant with the Tap House downstairs on the right.
The Open Table Restaurant with the Tap House downstairs on the right.
Celajes Lounge at Hotel Belmar
The Hotel Belmar is a fancy resort and has a lounge with their own microbrewery and an incredible view all the way to the Pacific Ocean and signature garden to glass cocktails. As you can imagine, it's pretty expensive BUT they have a somewhat non-impressive happy hour that they call Tico Time (1/2 price house wine and bottled beer, free bocas with a regular drink).

Go there for some snacks or a beer and to watch the sunset. It's amazing. It's on the road to the cloud forest and up the hill to the left at the trail to Cerro Amigos (the hike up to the radio towers).
Hotel Belmar is up the hill by the Cerro Amigos trailhead.
Hotel Belmar is up the hill by the Cerro Amigos trailhead.
The dining room is a bit gaudy, but the terrace and view are excellent.
The dining room is a bit gaudy, but the terrace and view are excellent.
Watch green parrots fly by and enjoy the view.
Watch green parrots fly by and enjoy the view.
Celajes specialty drink menu
Celajes specialty drink menu
Celajes drink and snacks menu
Celajes drink and snacks menu
Celajes food menu
Celajes food menu
Bar Amigos
Bar Amigos big disco in the heart of town that also serves a full menu. I'm not sure if I'd go there just to eat, but if you want to have a few drinks, maybe dance, listen to music, hang out with locals and other travelers, this is the place. There's live music on Fridays. It's down a small offshoot in the triangle.
Bar Amigos menu specials
Bar Amigos menu specials
Bar Amigos menu
Bar Amigos menu
Bar Amigos menu
Bar Amigos menu
Pura Vida
I love this small simple local's place with a view to die for. They have a full bar and fantastic, reasonably priced food including the best patacones I've had so far. They have free bocas until 9pm and you might even see Capuchin monkeys while you're there! It's on the road leaving town to the south.
Pura Vida bocas menu
Pura Vida bocas menu
Pura Vida - always pretty empty. Just bring your own party!
Pura Vida - always pretty empty. Just bring your own party!
Now THIS is how you order pizza! hahaha
Now THIS is how you order pizza! hahaha
Bocas at Varvilla. These fried fish were C1,000 ($2)
Bocas at Varvilla. These fried fish were C1,000 ($2)

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