The Restaurants Of Nosara
Nosara has by far the greatest concentration of good, quality restaurants in Costa Rica. The reason for this is a large expat community and the large number of weekly/monthly vacationers who rent the many vacation homes in the area. This combines to make a very high dine-out market! You will not find any chain restaurants, just locally owned and operated establishments where the owner greets you at the door. All restaurants in Nosara are open air establishments and more and more are starting to take credit cards. They will all take US dollars or the local currency, colonies. Always ask if tax and service are included. They usually are.
In Costa Rica the service varies and greatly depends on the number of people seated just before you. Some will take reservations. Most of the fare is chicken and sea food. In all of the restaurants the dress is very casual. Most of these restaurants are closed one day a week. It varies wildly. Call before you go.
Per person/Not including Alcohol
$$$$ $30-$40 per person
$ Less than $10
This is a list of my favorites in order of preference as of January 2014:DC
La Dolce Vita/
(Serious dining by Nosara standards) Leaving town heading back to Nicoya, La Dolce Vita can be found on the right about one mile passed the Nosara Yoga Institute. Roberto De Silvio, the owner, is right out of central casting. Born, raised and in some respects never left Italy. Roberto is as attentive to service as the food is original Italian. Fresh fish is prepared four different ways and if you want something that is not on the menu, ask Roberto. He will gladly make want you want if he can. The eggplant parmesan is unlike any other. And, of course, the pasta and gnocchi are tops, especially with the gorgonzola cream sauce. The quality is superb across the board. Like most restaurants in Costa Rica, La Dolce Vita is outside but unlike any other, it is decked out in Fellini and Bergman movie memorabilia from the 1960’s. Call for a reservation. La Dolce Vita is closed Wednesday, but call just the same. Things change by the hour in this town! Cash only.
We visit La Dolce Vita two or three times a year and the service and food never vary from the standard we have come to expect. One night Robert was not there and the place ran as well, if not better than when he is there. I think this is a first in the restaurant business. The menu is a little fragmented but across the board it is so good that no one dish stands out from the rest. DC
(Serious dining by Nosara standards) Lagarta is located up the hill from Playa Pelada’s northern entrance, Casa de Memphis and overlooks the Rio Nosara as it flows into the Pacific Ocean. This is a popular place to have a cocktail and watch the sunset. After it sets walk over to the restaurant and enjoy the last of the twilight. The owners are Swiss/German and they will be the first people you meet when you walk in and more than likely your servers as well. This is a classic example of the owner making the restaurant. Run like a Swiss watch with a menu as grand as the view. Make your reservation early. It is closed during the off season. Never hurts to call. Credit cards accepted. WEB SITE
January 2015: This restaurant is for special evenings and great service. The seafood tends to be a favorite and there is the obvious Bavarian influence. Go for the sunset, stay for dinner. The shrimp cocktail is outstanding served with avocado and cocktail sauce.
(This is a favorite of the owner of CdM)
Located on Playa Pelada, LaLuna is the only restaurant in Nosara that is on the beach. If you are staying at Playa Pelada it may actually be quicker to walk down the beach than to drive. Be sure and take a flash light if dinning for dinner. Can’t beat the location and/or the sunsets. Best described as a Balkan seafront structure with a Key West menu. The food is posted on the board by the door to the bar and varies somewhat from night to night. Very reasonable priced and very busy in the high season. Open for Breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. They take reservations and for parties of four or more it is all but a requirement. 2682-0122
January 2016: LaLuna went through a rough time when the owner had a baby and was away for awhile. She is back and it could not be better. This is the absolute favorite of the many people who stay at Casa de Memphis, especially the owners. Best Pizza in Nosara and the steak is even better but they almost always cook it medium rare no mater how you order it!
Located on Playa Pelada's North entrance. This is what became of the old Poncho's and is known for its Tex-Mex style menu. The owners used to run the old Gilded Iguana before taking it to the next level and the restaurant has become the anchor for Playa Pelada. This is a huge hang out for the local ex-pat gringo crowd. That ought to tell you something!!!!! The one and only mini Bodega next door. WEBSITE
Great food at reasonable prices. Call to find out when music night is as it will be crowded. If you need any local info just ask around at the bar. The locals will tighten you up. Run by an Aussie/Gringa couple and one cool kid!
South Guiones Beach, Main Road up on the hill. If you are heading north and see National Rental Car, you have passed the entrance. Huge view! This restaurant is best appreciated at sunset as it looks out over the Pacific. Little Angie makes the place want to smile, runs the show and seems to be everywhere. Marlin Bill's has perhaps the better service in town. The fresh fish of the day and the rest of the menu are posted on a board that is propped up next to your table and changes every day/hour/minute. The decor is decidedly fishy, with a mounted marlin, fish murals, and a photo wall of happy fishers and their prize catches. There is usually a sporting event on the TV in the bar area. If you are scared of heights, do not sit by the railing!
October 2007, I landed in Liberia and proceeded to drive to Nosara. With the torrential rains, bridges were wiped out and the two hour drive took five hours. When we I got to Nosara it was night and the town was rolled up for the off season. 9:00 at night, wet, tired, hungry and accompanied by my mother, I looked for a place that was open. Out of the blackest of nights, high above, there was a fully lit Marlin Bill’s. Best damn meal I ever had. Mom liked the Martinis! She tried them all! DC
June 2008, Like a bad habit we were back and nothing has changed but the weather. Angie remembered me and my wife was blown away as this was her first time there. Surprisingly the beef and pork are actually very good here. Quite a feat in CR. DC
January 2014, The chicken primavera has been added to the high season menu and is already a favorite. If you ever need any local information, advice or are in need of anything regarding the locals, just go sit at the bar at Marlin Bills.DC/Jan/09
January 2015, Bill insists on making everything homemade. The Dorado fingers are a great appetizer as well as the seared tuna and calamari. You can always find a good steak, either filet stuffed with blue cheese or a sizeable New York Strip. If you never eat anything bigger than your head, stay away from the pork chop!
Burgers and Beer/
Not much more than the name allows but really good at what they know best, burgers. They come about a mile high and will fill you up. They serve micro draft beer, burgers and that's it! Sharing the same table area is a Sushi restaurant.
Always the same. Always good. Closed Sundays but check.
Located at the south entrance of Playa Pelada, Olga's is a very local beach bar and the only beach bar in this part of CR. Cold beer at reasonable prices and good food at local prices. This is a major hang for the local ex-pat crowd to watch the sun set with a cold brew after a hard days work (if you call that working)!
If you are an early riser, you might want to get here just after sun rise when the small fishing boats come in and buy some fresh seafood for dinner. Then have breakfast in the morning and is very popular for beer at sunset with the local resident gringos.
This is the old Blew Dog bar and grill and not much has changed in 15 years except that the nude painting over the bar has been painted over due to a wicked divorce. Typical bar food with nightly specials worth the trip. CLICK HERE FOR THE MENU
Located on Playa Guiones/North just down from the Pacifica Azul. Good value, good service
Located at the North entrance of Playa Guiones, Pacifica Azul used to be located at the port/anchorage of Garza until they moved in to replace the Fabled Gilded Iguana. The menu is more local fare and the special of the day usually the way to go. They have music on certain nights and it is guaranteed to be crowded.