Dining in Playa de Jaco, one of the premiere surfing destinations on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Coast, is a relaxed, low-key affair. Deciding where to eat goes hand in hand with deciding where to relax after al vigorous day at the beach, and delicious choices abound.
For traditional Costa Rican dining in Play de Jaco, El Barco de Mariscos and El Recreo are two popular cafes that serve traditional Tico fare of fresh salads, fish, sandwiches and chicken at reasonable prices. A filling American breakfast can be found at Sunrise Breakfast Place, or for a lighter start, pick up a cup of cappuccino and a pastry at Pachi’s Pan or Café del M@r.
Monica’s Pasta serves simple pasta dishes and decent pizza, and is a popular hang out for those looking for inexpensive casual dining in Play del Jaco. Restaurante Wahoo offers Mexican fare and fresh seafood, while Tsunami Sushi delivers what it promises efficiently and deliciously.
The Lighthouse is one of the few dining choices in Playa del Jaco that is open 24 hours, day and night. An extensive menu, a raw bar, and a well-stocked gift shop make the Lighthouse an easy place to spend several hours any time a rest and a good meal are in order.
For decent Tico fare with an awesome ocean view, try Steve and Lisa’s, located several miles outside of town. A different Steve and Lisa’s, located in Jaco proper, serves perfectly good food but lacks the spectacular beachfront view.
Caliche’s Wishbone is a favorite hangout for surfers dining in Playa de Jaco, and serves traditional Tex-Mex fare and pizza. Portions are huge, so be forewarned, and try to get a seat on the veranda for the best ambience.
El Hicaco, located right on the beach with the majority of tables placed outdoors under the stars, is one of the most popular Costa Rican dining choices in Playa de Jaco. The food is good but not exceptional, but the atmosphere can’t be beat. The best menu choices here are the freshly caught grilled fish dishes, which change according to availability.
For adventurous Asian fusion cuisine, check out Pacific Bistro, where the chef changes the menu almost nightly and the choices are always innovative and delicious. Sauces for the fresh tuna, mahi mahi, and jumbo shrimp range from homemade teriyaki to coconut curry, and the desserts are special too. This restaurant only has six or so tables, so reservations are necessary but worth it.
For big filling burritos, hearty pasta dishes, and lots of different wood-fired pizzas, Rioasis is the perfect place for dining in Playa de Jaco, especially for a casual crowd that likes darts or TV sports coverage, both of which are featured nightly. Try the Greek pizza, with anchovies, olives, and Feta cheese, or the chicken barbeque pizza for a change of pace.