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Top 3 Costa Rican Restaurants in Monteverde, Costa Rica

Monteverde Restaurantes

Top 3 Costa Rican Restaurants for Lunch in Monteverde

Over the last decade, hundreds of people have asked me for advice on where to eat in Monteverde, Costa Rica. There are more than 80 restaurants as of the time of writing this post in Monteverde, and trying to figure out which one is the best can be a daunting task, researching thousands of online reviews and filtering by the types of foods you like.

With so many options, it’s hard to tell which one is the best, especially when different travelers have different tastes. However, if you’re looking for local Costa Rican food, in this post, I will share with you the top 3 Costa Rican restaurants for lunch in the area.

There are more than 20 Costa Rican restaurants and Sodas where you can have lunch in Monteverde, and the best 3 places include: 

  1. La Cuchara de la Abuela
  2. Sabor Tico
  3. El Bosque Tradicional

A Casado lunch, Costa Rican meal that includes rice, beans, salad, and fried plantains will cost approximately $7 in La Cuchara de la Abuela and $9 at Sabor Tico and El Bosque including taxes and drinks.

Let’s review each place individually:

1. La Cuchara de la Abuela (a.k.a. CASEM or Women’s Coop) 

Restaurantes en Monteverde - La Cuchara de la Abuela (CASEM)

The best place to eat Costa Rican food in Monteverde is La Cuchara de la Abuela, also known as CASEM or the Women’s Coop. I have eaten out in Monteverde more than 1,000 times over the last decade, and I can attest that this place is the absolute “best bang for your buck.”

CASEM stands for Cooperativa de Artesanas de Santa Elena y Monteverde, which translates to Artisan Women’s Cooperative of Santa Elena and Monteverde. This place is where the local artisan women bring their artwork to sell it to Monteverde’s visitors and tourists. It’s a two-floor local-made souvenir shop with a small, cozy place to eat called La Cuchara de La Abuela, or “Grandma’s Spoon.”

La Cuchara de la Abuela CASEM – 2021 Menu with Prices

Tortillas* with: Colones USD
1. Two Eggs 1,925 $3
2. Cheese or Sourcream 1,925 $3
3. Sausage 2,150 $4
4. Fried Cheese 2,150 $4
5. Meat 3,200 $5.5
6. Arracache** 3,200 $5.5

*Big corn tortilla, fresh and handmade. Delicious. 

**Arracache is a root vegetable that belongs to the same family as parsnips, carrots, and parsley. Generally served as picadillo, finely chopped, grated, or shredded, mixed with meat, sweet pepper, garlic, and onion. It can be a bit strong if you are not used to it. 

Empanadas* with: Colones USD
1. Meat 2,500 $4.5
2. Chicken 2,500 $4.5
3. Cheese 2,500 $4.5
4. Beans 2,500 $4.5

*An empanada is a stuffed bread or pastry baked or fried. The name comes from the Galician, Portuguese and Spanish verb “empanar,” meaning wrap or coat in bread.

Casados Colones USD
1. Chicken in sauce 4,300 $7
2. Fish 4,300 $7
3. Meat in sauce 4,100 $6.5
4. Pork Chops 4,100 $6.5
5. Steak 4,100 $6.5
6. Vegetarian 3,750 $6

You can also have side orders from many of the above items for $1 to $5.

La Cuchara de la Abuela is about a 2-minute walk from my house, so I’ve lost count on how many times I’ve been there to eat, and I still find it just as tasty as the first time I went in more than ten years ago. This small restaurant is the best place to eat locally in all Monteverde, but it’s only open for breakfast and lunch, Monday through Friday, from 7:30 am to 4 pm.

La Cuchara de la Abuela – How to Get There

La Cuchara de la Abuela is at the heart of the “old town” Monteverde, next to the Monteverde Coffee Center.

Here is the Google Maps link to get there.

2. Restaurante Sabor Tico (at the Shopping Center)

a large building

The next best option for local food in Monteverde is Sabor Tico, which translates to “Tico Flavor.” Tico describes Costa Rican people, similar to how United States people are called “Americans.” Sabor Tico is more popular and commercial than La Cuchara de la Abuela. However, the food is tasty, and the value for money is excellent. Sabor Tico is also open for dinner, which is another advantage over La Cuchara de la Abuela.

Sabor Tico offers a wide variety of local Costa Rican food. The widest variety in Monteverde. Here you can find Casados, Empanadas, and even Rice N Beans, a Caribbean dish that you will not find anywhere else in Monteverde.

Restaurante Sabor Tico – 2021 Menu with Prices

The average price for lunch at Sabor Tico in Monteverde is around $9 per person, including the main dish, fruit juice, and taxes. You can also get a smaller meal such as an Empanada or a Tortilla for as little as $3.5.

Appetizers Colones USD
1. Guacamole 3,450 $5.5
2. Mashed Beans 2,500 $4

Both Guacamole and Mashed Beans come with fried plantains.

Casados Colones USD
1. Pork Chop 4,250 $7
2. Beef in tomato sauce 4,250 $7
3. Chicken in tomato sauce 4,250 $7
4. Grilled chicken breast 4,250 $7
5. Beefsteak 4,250 $7
6. Fish 4,250 $7
7. Rice N Beans 4,450 $7

7. Rice N Beans are similar to a Gallo Pinto, featuring a combination of fried white rice and black beans, except a delicious, Caribean coconut sauce. It comes with chicken, salad and fried plantains. Tasty.

Casados at Restaurante Sabor Tico includes rice, beans, fried plantains, a slice of fresh cheese, salad, and one of the above types of meat. They do not include drinks.

Drinks Colones USD
1. Soft Drinks 1,500 $2.5
2. Natural Drinks 1,550 $2.5

Restaurante Sabor Tico – How to Get There

Sabor Tico has two restaurants in Monteverde. One of them is at the Monteverde Shopping Center, second floor. The other one is in front of Santa Elena’s soccer field. The first one has a more extensive menu, more tables, more parking lots, and much better customer service than the latter.

I have been to the one in front of the soccer field three times. The first time was about seven years ago. The customer service was not good, and the food came cold. The second time, I had the same experience. I decided to go in for the third time, but I had the same experience, so that was the last time I went there.

And after reading the online reviews, I see that customers agree with me on this. So, avoid the location in front of the soccer field and visit the shopping center.

Here is the Google Maps link to get there.

Sabor Tico is the number 1 place I recommend for dinner if you look for local Costa Rican food in Monteverde. It’s open every day from 7 am to 10 pm, except on Saturdays when they are available at 11 am.

3. El Bosque Traditional Restaurant

Restaurante con senderos para caminar en Monteverde

El Bosque is a local restaurant that initially opened in the 1980s. It was open for about a decade, and then it was close, and Tramonti, the best Italian restaurant, took over. Then, after the pandemic hit the country in March of 2020, Tramonti moved to a new location, and this place remained closed until July of 2021, when the sons of the original owners reopened El Bosque.

El Bosque Traditional Restaurant – 2021 Menu with Prices

Appetizers Colones USD
1. Ficus Salad 2,750 $4.5
2. Ocotea Salad 4,000 $6.5
3. Soup of the Day 3,300 $5.5
  1. Ficus Salad includes lettuce, tomatoes, radish, cucumber, carrots, baby corn, and red onions. You can add chicken breast, beef, or shrimp for an additional 1,500 colones ($3).
  2. Ocotea Salad includes lettuce, red onions, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, avocado, chicken breast, and bacon, dressed with ranch sauce.
  3. The Soup of the Day can be chicken soup, vegetable soup, or beef soup, subject to availability, so you should ask before ordering.
Casados Colones USD
1. Pork Chop 4,400 $7
2. Beef in tomato sauce 4,400 $7
3. Chicken in tomato sauce 4,400 $7
4. Grilled chicken breast 4,400 $7
5. Beefsteak 4,400 $7
6. Vegetarian 4,400 $7

Casados at El Bosque Restaurant includes rice, beans, fried plantains, a slice of fresh cheese, salad, and one of the above types of meat. They do not include drinks.

Drinks Colones USD
1. Soft Drinks 1,100 $2
2. Bottled Water 1,100 $2
3. Lemonade 1,100 $2
4. Mint Lemonade 1,650 $3
5. Tamarindo 1,100 $2

El Bosque Traditional Restaurant – How to Get There

El Bosque Restaurant is on the main road to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, approximately 10 minutes away from the reserve, so it can be an excellent place to have lunch after a Cloud Forest Tour. It features a large parking lot which is ideal for tour buses.

Warning: Before reopening in 2021, when Tramonti used to have this location, they used to bring many tour buses, so it was hectic, thus a not so intimate experience. Keep this in mind, so you can avoid it if you see large tour buses and look for a quiet place to have dinner.

Here is the Google Maps link to get to El Bosque Traditional Restaurant.

El Bosque is not 100% Costa Rican food. It offers a few other meals such as Mexican Quesadillas, Paninis, and Pasta. Still, it is a good option for local food in Monteverde. El Bosque is open every day for lunch and dinner, from 11 am to 8 pm.

El Bosque also has hiking trails for an additional fee, which are nice, but the current price ($15 per person) is too expensive. You might as well drive five more minutes to visit Curicancha or another 5 minutes to get to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.

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About the Author

Daniel Lalinde holding a mountain bikeDaniel Lalinde

I am the founder of Monteverde Tours Online. I live in Monteverde, and I love nature, adventure, and Mountain Biking. My partner and I love spending time in the outdoors and dining out in Monteverde. We have more than 30 years of combined experience in the area, and there is no park, no coffee shop, and no restaurant we haven’t tried at least once!

We love helping visitors, connecting them with the different tours and activities to have a memorable experience in Monteverde.

If you need help planning things to do in the area, send us a message, and we will happily assist you! 

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