With the first eruption of the Arenal Volcano on July 29, 1968, the area of La Fortuna began a commercial and tourist growth. By the 1990s, it had an important awakening, with the appearance of hotels, restaurants, bars, spas and different tourist activities taking advantage of the natural wealth of the area, full of nature, crystal clear waterfalls and hot springs.
For now we can talk about around 200 food options, from local Costa Rican food to Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Peruvian food options, among others. Our idea is to give you an approximate idea of the reality seen from the eyes of a local person of what you will find in terms of gastronomy and nightlife
To start talking about local food, we have to refer to the well-known ones in Costa Rica as Sodas, which would be small, normally family-run establishments that offer Costa Rican food, where you will normally find the popular Gallo Pinto for breakfast, which is a dish based on rice and beans, prepared with onion, sweet chili, coriander and a Costa Rican sauce called Lizano, this dish is served with eggs, ripe plantain, Costa Rican sausage, custard, etc. And for lunch you will find the famous Casado, which is a dish based on rice, beans, salad, mincemeat, ripe plantain and to choose any protein of your choice, be it chicken, pork, fish or beef.
Among the best known Sodas in La fortuna we are going to mention, Soda La Hormiga in which they serve breakfast and lunch only, Soda Ara with the same breakfast and lunch hours and Soda Viquez that offers the three food services and in turn maintains a buffet. with 100% Costa Rican dishes.
Next, we are going to mention the best-known restaurants that have maintained an important tradition thanks to the product they offer and that have kept them current in the economy of La Fortuna.
Let’s start with typical Costa Rican food restaurants, definitely the oldest restaurant serving local food is La Choza de Laurel, located in the central gastronomic area of La Fortuna, a family business where you will of course find the famous Casado, the Olla de Carne, which is something very similar to a vegetable soup with beef, usually accompanied by white rice and a corn tortilla, as well as rice with chicken, rice with shrimp, among others.
If you want to enjoy a pizza or a good pasta, we mention Restaurante Mediterraneo, located 600 m south of the center of La Fortuna and about a 5-minute walk away. In the restaurant they offer wood-fired pizza and handmade pasta. Another well-known restaurant is Restaurante Italianísimo, located about 300 m north of La Fortuna Central Park, run by an Italian family, where you will enjoy wood-fired pizzas, pastas and traditional Italian food such as carpaccios, cheese antipasti and sausages, without leave aside a great variety of wines from Italy.
For more than 10 years, Don Rufino Restaurant has forged its distinguished reputation as a preferred restaurant in La Fortuna San Carlos, mixing the best local flavors with those of world cuisine. If you are looking for a restaurant with a more high dining style, possibly Don Rufino is your best choice, this restaurant is located in the heart of La Fortuna, just 100 meters east of the Central Park.
We highly recommend you make a reservation in advance.
If you are looking for a Costa Rican restaurant with good food, reasonable prices without neglecting quality, it is time to mention Restaurante Los Nenes, which was founded in the mid-90’s and is located just 200 meters east of the Central Park of The Fortune. It offers a variety of Costa Rican foods including cuts of meat and its fame among the locals is based on the fact that they offer the best ceviche in the area (the one I’ve tried and they’re right!).
It is very important to make a reservation if you are planning to visit the area during the high season, especially for dinners.
Continuing with another restaurant that offers quality meats and with a high reputation for its quality is La Parrilla de Maria Bonita. This restaurant is located on the south coast of La Fortuna Central Park, it offers a variety of dishes for meat lovers, wines and drinks that make this place something exclusive.
If you are looking for Mexican style cuisine and spicy food you might like to visit Spectacolar Cantina, a taco restaurant. Just 300 meters west of the Central Park of La Fortuna. Varied menu of tacos and always focused on Mexican food and without neglecting its cocktails and beers, both Costa Rican and Mexican.
For those seafood lovers, the most recognized site in this section is Mariqueria Snapper’s House, located just 100 meters from Central Park. You will find a variety of ceviches, grilled fish and complete seafood.
One of the favorite restaurants for local and foreign families and groups is Pollo-Fortuneño, ideal for those looking to share dishes, this place offers several family combos where you will find wood-fired chicken, pork ribs, patacones, in addition to these popular dishes you will find great variety of options between meats and seafood.
La Fortuna de San Carlos offers a wide variety of restaurants, impossible to describe them all but we cannot fail to mention
Kappa Sushi Restaurant since although it is not typical of Costa Rica we understand that more and more people are enjoying Asian food, its location is easily accessible since it is located 100 meters north of the central park of La Fortuna, this site It is the favorite of locals and visitors. Variety in sushi rolls and Japanese-style dishes such as miso soup, sashimi, gyosas, negiris and others. During high season it is recommended to make a reservation as it is difficult to find an available table, especially during dinner.
Leaving aside the restaurant recommendations in the La Fortuna area, we want to tell you a little about what you can do at night if you are looking to have a good time, we make it clear that although the La Fortuna area is very safe even at night we always recommend being alert as this never hurts .
Enjoy some beers or cocktails, have a light bite to eat, and maybe dance a little or sing karaoke. In La Fortuna de San Carlos, the type of bars or places that offer nightlife usually have a smaller food menu, with the idea that their clients share some dishes while enjoying their favorite drinks.
This type of food menu in Costa Rica is called “Menu de Bocas” and you can request it to your waiter, in which you will find Typical Chifrijo, a dish based on rice, beans, pork rinds and pico de gallo, onion rings, chicken fingers with french fries, patacones, chicken or seafood soup, among others.
If you are looking for this type of places, you could visit Chichas Bar and Restaurant, located 800 meters from the Central Park of La Fortuna, a bar with beers, cocktails, karaoke and a wide variety of Bocas. It has operating hours that extend until the early hours of the morning.
Two club-type bar options are Black Moon Bar, located about 500 m from La Fortuna Central Park and Ámsterdan The Club, located 2 km from La Fortuna Central Park on the Arenal Volcano road. Both places are characterized by serving cold beers, a variety of cocktails, a snack menu and activities with dance music and live DJs. This type of Clubs in Costa Rica handle a more extended schedule, usually opening at 6 in the afternoon and keeping open throughout the early hours.