Tamarindo, Costa Rica Restaurants Guide

Vacation Rentals of Tamarindo Top Restaurant Picks by Meal

Breakfast

Chiringuito
Chiringuito is the most beautiful breakfast spot in Tamarindo—right on the beach in the sand—and they have the hands-down best coffee. Their breakfast menu includes European, American and Costa Rican selections. Their gallo pinto in a tortilla bowl is great, but please do not miss the French toast. OMG. The French toast. (Also open for lunch, super-fun sunsets, and dinner.)

French toast on the beach at Chiringuito.  If I’m dreaming, don’t wake me up.
French toast on the beach at Chiringuito. If I’m dreaming, don’t wake me up.

Café Tico
Café Tico is a cute little café tucked in beside Tamarindo’s bookstore. Prices are amazing, the food is delicious, the portions are generous, and the staff is friendly. We recommend their gallo pinto. You know what that is, right? You will by the time you leave Costa Rica! (Also serves lunch.)

At Cafe Tico:  Gallo pinto, or a breakfast sandwich?
At Cafe Tico: Gallo pinto, or a breakfast sandwich?

Breakfast Grinds
Breakfast Grinds has the best American breakfasts you can get outside of the 50 states. They also serve Costa Rican and continental plates, but if you’re an American looking for a taste of home, this is your spot. Pancake lovers, this is the one place in Tamarindo–and perhaps in Costa Rica–you can be sure you will be happy with them. Otherwise, we recommend the breakfast sandwich. Big wow. (Does breakfast, lunch, and burgers/wings at dinner.)

Lunch

Nogui’s
Nogui’s, right on the beach at the cul-de-sac where Tamarindo’s beach road ends, is Tamarindo’s orignal restaurant. For the last 40 years, Nogui’s has been the place to sit and relax in the shade with a cold smoothie or beer and a some fresh local food. The location and the menu selections (traditional rice/bean plates, sandwiches, huge salads) place it as our top Tamarindo lunch pick. Oh, and the pie. Yes, the pie. (Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.)

Have lunch on the beach at Nogui’s.
Have lunch on the beach at Nogui’s.

El Mercadito
Our second lunch pick (and keep it open as a budget-friendly option for dinner) is one of Tamarindo’s newest additions: El Mercadito. El Mercadito is an open air food-court-style spot where individual kitchens offer their specialty menus: poke bowls, curries, a vegan booth, sushi, an Argentinian grill, Venezuelan arepas, a burger shack, an ice cream stand and a French bakery are all circled around an actual boat which houses The Medusa Bar. This is a picky eater’s paradise.

Fish and Cheeses
We know. The name is weird. We didn’t name it but OMG do we love it. You have to go to Langosta for this one, but for sure don’t miss it. Wild Walter, the owner from Milan, makes everything fresh, including the mozzarella cheese. No lie. This is an Italian restaurant/deli/mini-market like you never dreamed you’d find in Costa Rica. Like Italian beer? Montepulciano, anyone? Of course you have have it for lunch! You’re on vacation! And, yes, you can come back and have more for dinner.

Caprese salad with house-made mozzarella at Fish and Cheeses
Caprese salad with house-made mozzarella at Fish and Cheeses

Dinner

Pangas Beach Club
Everybody knows the best place for dinner in Tamarindo is Pangas Beach Club down by the estuary. In fact, this is one of the restaurants that you really need to call ahead for reservations. There’s usually room for everyone in the beachfront dining area under the palm leaves and stars, but Pangas does host a lot of private events as well so we recommend you make the call: 2653-0024. If you can’t get in at dinner, you can always enjoy their amazing Guanacaste fusion menu at lunch.

Panga’s Beach Club offers 5-star dining with your toes in the sand.
Panga’s Beach Club offers 5-star dining with your toes in the sand.

Pachanga
Pachanga, Pachanga. How in the world do you decide what to eat at Pachanga? Italian chef Maurizio has an extensive menu of artisan pizzas, homemade pasta, fish, meat, salads… The prices are great, the portions are generous, the ambiance might be described as Tamarindo Old-School Chic, and the staff is friendly. We love Pachanga. We love the funky building that’s housed it for the last 25 years. We love Maurizio and his pasta.

See, we told you it’s a cool place.  And wait until you see the menu!
See, we told you it’s a cool place. And wait until you see the menu!

Bamboo Sushi Club
Costa Rica, obviously, is an ideal place to get fresh fish, and Tamarindo’s Bamboo Sushi Club makes the best sushi in town. And the best 2 x 1 mojitos, we might add. What’s not to love about the freshness of that combo? Eating at the Bamboo Sushi Club (also open for lunch), is like being seated at a table in a secred tropical garden. Centrally-located but removed from street noise, the Sushi Club is right up at the top of our list of places to start out a great night in Tamarindo.

The Bamboo Sushi Club is Tamarindo’s best place for sushi.
The Bamboo Sushi Club is Tamarindo’s best place for sushi.