Visiting Monteverde and you are looking for the best restaurants in Santa Elena, Costa Rica? This list will have you covered with a variety of places to eat including traditional Costa Rican eateries, amazing tacos and a unique restaurant with a tree growing in the interior. With so many restaurants in Monteverde, Costa Rica to enjoy, you’ll be sure to find something to suit your palate.
If you are visiting Monteverde, Costa Rica, this list of our favorite restaurants in the area. If you plan to stay in Monteverde for a few days, check out my Monteverde Itinerary for tips on exploring the area and favorite activities such as ziplining with Sky Adventures.
Located on the top level of an outdoor shopping mall, Sabor Tico is the perfect place to enjoy a nice local meal. They serve up traditional Costa Rica dishes along with a few family favorites. It is a great restaurant if you arrive late and need to grab supplies or groceries at the nearby grocery store.
It is also recommended as one of the best breakfast restaurants in Monteverde, Costa Rica.
Location: 620, Provincia de Puntarenas, Monteverde, Costa Rica
Opening Hours: Sunday-Friday: 7 AM – 10 PM (Saturday: 11 AM – 10 PM)
Dining experience: We started off with the guacamole appetizer and it was the perfect starter, but a bit light on the chips.
For dinner, I had the fish ceviche with had a nice blend of flavor and the chips were nice and crispy. Our son played it safe with spaghetti bolognese. I tried a few bites and it was actually a bit sweet and had a nice flavor.
My husband ordered a rice and beans dish with a vegetarian option. He wasn’t quite sure what to think of it. The rice was a bit overcooked but tasted ok with the beans. The salad had some unique ingredients that he couldn’t quite identify, but the fresh avocado was perfectly ripe. He wouldn’t recommend his dish. We also ordered rice drinks they were both delicious.
Looking for a fun and unique place to dine? Look no further than the treehouse restaurant located at the center of town in Santa Elena. It is one of Monteverde, Costa Rica restaurants that visitors must see!
Location: Downtown Santa Elena, Provincia de Puntarenas, Monteverde, 60109, Costa Rica
Opening Hours: Open every day from 11 AM till 10 PM
Dining Experience: Street parking is located just outside the restaurant. Then you can head into the atrium where a giant focus tree beckons you to climb the spiral staircase and into the two-story restaurant.
Grab a seat near the glass panels to watch the action below or tuck yourself into one of the many seating areas surrounding the tree. Heaters are added in the cooler months to keep diners happy and warm.
The food is delicious with many choices ranging from transitional Costa Rican fare to pizzas and soups.
I enjoyed the garden salad and tomato soup. My husband had the vegetarian Casados which has been his favorite dish from our trip thus far.
I also enjoyed a cafe mocha and it was the perfect blend of sweet with a hint of coffee.
If you are looking for a great place to grab a bite to eat in Monteverde, don’t miss Taco Taco. Tucked just outside the main road in Santa Elana, this restaurant knows how to cook up some delicious Mexican with a Costa Rican flare! Lovers of spicy food with delight with spicy slaw, salsa, and relishes.
Not a fan of spice? No problem, they can modify just about anything to meet your needs.
Location: Puntarenas Province, Santa Elena, Costa Ric
Opening Hours: Open every day from 11 AM till 10 PM
Dining Experience: My husband enjoyed the avocado tacos and I really liked my seabass tacos. Both had a nice soft flour tortilla with a nice flavor.
We also ordered guacamole, but it needed more lime and salt. The house-made chips and salsa were delicious though. The cherry limeade was also a delight on a warm evening.
One of the best restaurants in Santa Elena Costa Rica, be sure to make reservations or arrive early, it’s a popular spot even in the low season.
After a full morning hiking in the nearby cloud forest of Curi Cancha, you’ll work up an appetite. This soda is perfect to refuel you. Located in the back of the shop, this quaint little restaurant has a handful of tables and the lovely staff is ready to cook up a delicious local lunch or dinner.
Location: Puntarenas Province, Monteverde, Costa Rica
Opening Hours: Open every day from 7:30 AM till 6 PM
Dining Experience: Both my husband and I ordered the traditional casados. He had the chicken and I ordered the vegetarian plate. Our casados meal was plenty of food with a salad, rice, beans and then our choice of protein.
For around $13 for the entire meal, it’s a steal and one of the best restaurants in Monteverde, Costa Rica for an inexpensive meal.
Be sure to shop local in the store at the front. All of the items are made locally and are handcrafted. We picked up a cute tic tac toe bag, an ornament and a new hat for our son.
Choco Cafe Don Juan
If you are looking for a light meal with locally sourced produce, then head over to the Choco Cafe. There is plenty of seating inside or outside on the wrap-around porch. Items on the menu range from salads and soups to quesadillas and pasta. It is a popular spot as a breakfast restaurant in Monteverde Costa Rica.
Location: 75 mts de Serpentario Monteverde, carretera nacional Frente al Centro Comercial Monteverde, Costa Rica, 620, Provincia de Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Opening Hours: Open every day from 8 AM till 8 PM
Dining Experience: My husband enjoyed his vegetarian quesadilla. My son and I shared the fettuccine pasta. It wasn’t a traditional American Alfredo, but it was a nice meal.
Be sure to end with dessert. The Tres Leches cake was moist and flavorful. The coconut flan tasted like a coconut macaroon on the top with a creamy flan underneath.
We dined for dinner, so we didn’t try any coffee, but I’m sure it is delicious!
Do you have a favorite restaurant in Monteverde? Feel free to leave a comment or find me on Facebook or Instagram. I created this travel blog to help other families to explore the world with their kids and I hope I’ve inspired you. Want to read more about Costa Rica? Check out my posts below on the various regions in Costa Rica. Is Manuel Antonio or Quepos a part of your journey? Here is my post for our favorite activities in Manuel Antonio. Or head over to my destinations page and explore my interactive map, it’s pretty fun. Until next time!
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Planning a trip to Costa Rica? This is our suggested Costa Rica itinerary: 10 days of beaches, waterfalls and rainforests. Covering the regions of Manuel Antonio, Monteverde, La Fortuna/Arenal and San Jose, you’ll get to see the wide variety of wildlife, regions and activities. Don’t miss the interactive map, accommodation recommendations and the best things to do in Costa Rica.