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Top Local Foods & Dishes To Try in Costa Rica


When we here back about how great an experience people had with their Costa Rica Beach Rental experience, a common theme is always how amazing the food in Santa Teresa is. A by-product of Santa Teresa and Mal Pais being one of the world’s top travel destinations is that many amazing chefs from various backgrounds have made this place home and chosen to share their cuisine. Visitors can find everything from authentic Italian all the way to fresh sushi that rivals that found in Japan, but Costa Rica has its own must-try dishes. There are a few Tico-native foods that locals will be dying to share with you, so while you’re on your culinary adventure make sure you don’t miss these tasty treats.


One item you’ll find on just about every menu in town is Gallo Pinto. This basic dish is more than meets the eye. Consisting of pretty much, rice and beans, different shops will put their own flair on it to make it their own, but you’ll find this on half the plates around if you look around. Seemingly very basic, these two are a match made in heaven. Often served as a side, Gallo Pinto, is eating for breakfast lunch and dinner and is a perfect way to pack away some energy for a morning surf or afternoon adventure. If there was one dish that Costa Rica would use to represent itself, many would believe it to be Gallo Pinto. There will be plenty of opportunities to try it so don’t pass it up.

Patacones- Costa-Rica

Patacones is another local favorite. Found in other Latin nations, this fried and pressed plantain, lightly salted, is unexpectedly delicious. Not quite a chip and nothing close to its original for the plantain, a starchy a banana, the patacone is unique when compared to anything found in non-Latin cultures. Whether it’s being eaten on its own or a platform for stacking other amazing local cuisine on top of, patacones are one you’ll want to learn how to make so you can bring it back home to share with friends.

Next up is the Casado. This menu item is likely the most frequented at any “soda,” the term used for an authentic Costa Rican local restaurant, often family owned. A well-balanced plate consisting of a choice of fish, chicken, or stewed beef and served along side a salad, gallo pinto, and usually a patacone, the Casado is a great way to knock out a few local must-tries in one go.


Due to the close proximity of the continental shelf to the shore, the fishing in Mal Pais is some of the best in the world. Fisherman are yanking yellowfin tuna, red snapper and mahi mahi out of the sea every morning and afternoon, so of course there is a local dish to highlight this. While ceviche can be found in many Latin nations, they all have their own twist on making it. Costa Rica is no exception, mixing in red onions, cilantro, and lime to create a no-cook cured fish dish. Light in the belly and almost always served with patacones, this is the perfect plate for midday with the heat and sun are at their peak. Many claim this dish cools them down, and there even some scientific claims to back that up.

Every nation has its bar food. Whether its unsalted peanuts, pickled eggs, or dehydrated fish, every culture knows you have to do eat while you drink. Enter the Chifrijo. This dish is a combination of rice, beans, meet, and chimichurri mixed in and over a tomato-based salad, served with nachos so there are no utensils needed. Mouth watering already, right? This ranks among the best bar foods available world wide in our book and you’ll be able to try it pretty much anywhere your local Pilsens and Imperials are served.


No vacation is complete without trying the local cuisine and Costa Rica’s local foods are perfect for the local activities. Whether you’re exploring the multiple nature reserves, sunbathing on some of the best beaches in Costa Rica, or chasing that barrel in the most consistent surf breaks of the Pacific, you’ll need fuel to push you through. Chat up the locals and they’re sure to share with you one of the great dishes listed above, so don’t turn them down with they come your way. You might even pick up a recipe or two you’ll be able to perfect in your Costa Rica Beach Rental before you head back home!


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