A Few Great Restaurants in the Santa Teresa area
The beautiful coastal town of Santa Teresa is stacked full of beautiful food venues for you to enjoy. While it’s always pleasant to have a host of options we’ve compiled a short list of ten of the best restaurants in Santa Teresa. New restaurants appear every year, but the best ones seem to stick around. There are probably at least twice as many restaurants here as there should be (over 120 at last count!), making it a very competitive environment for a restaurateur, and as a result, the quality of the best places is incredibly high. I spend a lot of time in San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica, and have traveled all over the country, and nowhere have I found such good food, and in such variety. There’s more than a dozen top-quality places… more than I’ve listed here, and if that’s not enough, Montezuma (25 minutes away) has another six or so incredible places (Click for Montezuma Restaurants).
There are so many good restaurants in the area now that it’s easy to overlook one, but definitely have a meal at Alma. The owner/chef is from Chile, and has experience in 5-star restaurants before moving to Santa Teresa and designing this romantic and cozy restaurant. This charming and especially romantic restaurant offers the personal touch. With all the food being hand delivered to you by the talented female chef that owns this charming eatery, it’s perfect for a secluded romantic meal. Utilising a fusion style, Alma De Santa Teresa features a short but creative menu that caters to the conservative and adventurous diner alike. The menu is a fusion of sushi and various international flavors. If you like meat, order the Thai Steak here, which is a filet sliced thin with various Thai spices. The only challenge is locating the place, we believe that to be a test of worthiness so break out the map! Hint: It’s about 300m north of the center of Santa Teresa, on the mountain side of the road.
Contact: www.almadecostarica.com – Phone: +506-2640-1055 – Location: 200 metros North of Brunelas Hostel
An instant success when it opened, the area’s best bakery has chocolate eclairs, bagels, and all types of french pastries. Their breakfasts are great too… scambled eggs with sides of fruit and of course with their various baked goods. Every one of us who lives in the area has been overjoyed that this place opened after a couple years of rumors of such a bakery being conceived for the area. A must-go place for planning your ultra-decadent beach picnic. Besides the great food, one of the reasons it’s so popular is because it’s always open and it’s so conveniently located right in the middle of everything in Playa Carmen. It’s just too easy to stop by on the way to the beach or just about anywhere else. So despite it’s small size and the dust and heat, in the dry season for the outside seating, it’s super popular. Plus, sugar and wheat are just about as addictive as crack, and this place knows how to serve them both with style.
Contact: Phone: +506 2640-0560 Location: 50 meters north of the Crossroads at Playa Carmen
Brisas Del Mar
A venue serving international food from its beautiful hilltop location, Brisas Del Mar has a great reputation with the locals and travelers too. The novel menu changes from week to week as specials come and go, you can expect refreshing fruit based drinks, copious amounts of fresh seafood, coconut based sauces and even a nice curry. They also feature a range of staples such as the multigrain pancakes for breakfast and the luxurious hot fudge brownies. Considered by many to be the best restaurant in the Santa Teresa area, it definitely has the best view, and is very popular, so reservations are necessary for dinner.
Contact: Phone: +506 2640 0254 – Location: Buenos Aires Hotel, in Playa Carmen
Beachfront gourmet Mexican food! One of my favorite places, I go to Habaneros regularly and bring all my friends and family who are visiting the area. If you have to pick one restaurant that sums up the best of Santa Teresa, this would be it. The menu has a lot of variety, and if you have a large enough group, they’ll bring their full array of sauces with dinner so you can try them. The best is an amazing orange one that’s made from carrot, garlic, and olive oil. Watch out for the habanero sauce, it’s killer hot. Luckily they always warn you about it when they set down the tray. It’s part of the Playa Cielo boutique hotel, which is a great place to stay if you can find any availability, since it’s often booked long in advance.
Contact: Phone: +506 2640-1105 – Location: Playa Carmen central, about 300m north of Tropico Latino hotel
My personal favorite! I drive all the way over from Delicias almost every week to chill at Playa Hermosa for sunset and then head to Koji’s. You may not have expected to be sampling high end Japanese food in Costa Rica but this is exactly what Koji offers. This is one of the very few establishments in the region where you may have to book a table to ensure you are able to eat, a good sign I’m sure you’ll agree! The sushi is of course is second to none but all of the dishes are well complimented by the exquisite outdoor dining area, which features the ambience only traditional Tiki torches provide. Again, prices are not low but as a one-off dining experience Koji really delivers.
Contact: Phone: 2640-0815 – Location: 400 mts south of Hermosa Valley School, Playa Hermosa
This charming establishment is built on the Nautilus Hotel and serves a large range of fare, there is a special emphasis on health food. Particularly popular is the pancake breakfast which features fruit and nut accompaniment and high quality fresh coffee. Everything is made with completely fresh ingredients and you can really taste it, the vegetarian burgers are a firm favourite with backpackers that like to treat themselves. The prices are not low here but you really do get what you pay for, definitely the pick of the bunch. Be sure to stop by this charming patio-based venue. Olam is very focused on health and offers detox programs, and healthy cooking classes from time to time, such as how to make organic, raw chocolate from basic ingredients. Plus, just above the restaurant is a great yoga deck. Definitely pul Olam on your itinerary.
Contact: Olam Website – Phone: +506-2640-0991 – Location: 75m East of Brunela Hostel (Santa Teresa Center)
Literally built on a rock cliff, the Papaya lounge has one of the best views for a restaurant in the area. It’s a great place for a romantic sunset dinner. The food is a gourmet blend of styles, very photogenic and tasty. Closed on Tuesdays, it’s a good idea to call first (2640-0230) for a reservation. The only downside of the Papaya Lounge is that you have to walk up several flights of stairs to get up the hill to it, but that’s sure to help you work up a good appetite. It’s easy to find, very centrally located in Malpais, as part of the Moana Lodge boutique hotel.
Contact: Papaya Lounge Website – Phone: +506 2640-0230 – Location: Malpais Central
Rocamar Beach Lounge
Rocamar is the spot if you’re looking to go back in time to what Santa Teresa used to be a decade or more ago. Simple but amazing, it’s got small tables and chairs in the sand right on the edge of the waves, with shade trees all around, and amazing surfing right in front (Suck Rock point break is directly in front, which is why it’s also known as “Roca Mar”). It’s known for it’s location mostly, but the food is good too, and they serve excellent drinks, especially the Mojitos and the Brazilian “Caipirinha” cocktail that tastes so good when sitting on the beach.
Contact: Phone:2640-0003 Location: Beach Access Road at Blue Surf Sanctuary in north Santa Teresa
Other great restaurants:
Casa Del Mar
With a specialisation in Argentinian food alongside a fantastic range of pizzas, if you’re a meat lover it’s a beautiful experience in Casa Del Mar just to browse the menu. The Argentinians know how to do a good steak, that’s well known, but you’ll be pleased to find that the meat in every dish is cooked to absolute perfection. Many restaurants will use low quality meat on their pizzas because they think they can get away with it but not at Casa Del Mar. In addition to the great food the service is also delivered by authentic Argentinian staff, it was like enjoying a brief excursion to South America in fact.
To many people are fooled by the name and end up thinking this is just some standard Americanised Chicken place. Do not be fooled. Chicken Joe’s is actually the best roadside eatery around, featuring Peruvian inspired food able to compete in quality with restaurants that charge twice the price. The fish tacos are consistently recommended as is the bottled homemade hot sauce which is also sold from the premises. You’ll notice the locals stopping by on their motorbikes to pick up a bottle or two of this precious spicy nectar, why not take a few bottles back as gifts?
A Mediterranean restaurant run by an Italian gentlemen Al Chile Viola is famous not only for the food but the inventive, and downright delicious, cocktails available. Choose anything involving avocado or passionfruit and you’ll be onto a winner, trust me. The homemade Italian specials are straight from the homeland and the freshly made Ravioli should make a particularly strong impression. The prices are a little high, but you’re on holiday, why not treat yourself on occasion? The chef is happy to personalise dishes so do go and speak to the kitchen if you desire something a little different.
It was very difficult to compile this list as the food is generally great, but hopefully you’re tastebuds will be excited after reviewing these top restaurants in Santa Teresa.