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Capital of Costa Rica: Ojochal Dining in the 2017-2018 Season

Long known as the culinary capital of Costa Rica, Ojochal is a small yet diverse community with something for everyone. The town is a mix of locals and expats from all over the world, each bringing their own traditions and tastes to the plate.
Community events are often potlucks in keeping with the local tradition of sharing what we know. When it comes to special outings, Ojochal truly has a lot to give.
Below is a list of our local destinations for culinary delights and original beverages, each open and available to taste and enjoy in the 2017-2018 season.

Azul at El Castillo– Quite possibly the crown jewel of Ojochal, El Castillo has immaculate views of the Pacific coast, and the food and service to match. This is the place to come for a three-course meal, none of which will disappoint. The setting is elegant and the prices reflect the quality of this beautiful venue– a favorite for weddings and special occasions.
Cuisine: Seafood, Mediterranean
Drinks: High-end imported wines with a good local selection
Hours: Monday to Sunday for lunch and dinner
Price: $$$$.

The Bamboo Room– Ojochal’s local nightlife spot, with live music every night of the week. This is the place to go for a fun night out with friends and great entertainment. The menu is simple and delicious, and the service is fast and friendly. Consider this your Costa Rica equivalent of your favorite venue back home.
Cuisine: American with local flair.
Drinks: Craft bottles and drink specials are the standard fare.
Hours: Monday to Saturday for lunch and dinner.
Price: $$$.

La Mona Grita– The newest spot at the entrance of Ojochal. For an easy drink and friendly faces, La Mona Grita has fast internet and TVs all around, making it a new favorite for sports fans. Friday nights are for fiestas, with DJ Fabian playing dance music nearly every weekend. They have the largest selection of Tequilas in the Costa Ballena and a refreshing margarita menu. They also lay the bold claim that theirs is the coldest beer in Ojochal. Come out and test this theory– you might even be invited to play a game to win your first beer on the house!                                                                                          Cuisine: Taco Tuesdays and the occasional special but don’t expect a food menu.
Drinks: The coldest beer in Ojochal and a Margarita menu.
Hours: Open every day from noon until late.
Price: $$.

Citrus– It is fitting that Marcella would serve people from her own home (at the old location of Citrus)– her menu is both high-end and homestyle, with plenty of personality and delightful self-expression going into each of her creations. Choose this location for a classic date night or a dinner with friends.
Cuisine: French and Asian fusion.
Drinks: Elegant cocktails and wines.
Hours: Open Monday and Tuesday from 5pm to 10pm, Wednesday till Saturday from 12 to 10pm (reservations a must).
Price: $$$$.

Exotica– A tiny space, hidden away in the recesses of the green wall that lines the main road through Ojochal village, this location is easy to miss but be sure not to! Inside the restaurant is potentially the most delicious meal you will have in Costa Rica, if not in your life! Expensive, but a favorite for those special dinner occasions or when we need some extravagant comfort food. Lucy is an incredible hostess, and her team craft an incredible experience, with beautiful jungle ambiance and outstanding food and drinks. The desserts are to die for and reservations are a must for this experience.
Cuisine: French.
Drinks: Elegant cocktails, fine wines and a great selection of apertifs and digestifs.
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 5pm.
Price: $$$$.

Terraba– Considered by many to be one of the best restaurants for the price, Terraba presents local fare with an international twist. Steaks, Caesar salads, and fresh fish are the fan favorites here, although none of their extensive menu seems to disappoint because this place is almost always full in the high season. Right off the highway for easy access after a long day’s journey, stop in for some culinary comfort in a relaxing atmosphere.
Cuisine: Central American with international favorites.
Drinks: Local selections.
Hours: Open from 11am for lunch and dinner (closed Tuesdays).
Price: $$.

The Lookout– Aptly named for it’s high perch, close to the entrance to Ventanas Beach, the views from this stunning restaurant/hotel are spectacular. The atmosphere is lovely, with attentive, friendly staff and mood music to entertain guests. Come for the sunset and stay for dinner for an unforgettable experience.
Cuisine: Central American, Gastro-pub, Seafood.
Drinks: Nice wine menu and a mixed selection of local and imported.
Hours: Open for dinner from 4pm (closed Mondays and Thursdays).
Price: $$$.

Fusion– Another great location off the highway, this is a popular destination for big groups in their huge dining room. The menu is equally expansive, with pages and pages of favorites like burgers, steaks, calamari, wings– and many Costa Rican classics to match.
Cuisine: Sushi, Asian, Contemporary.
Drinks: Imported and local selections.
Hours: Open every day from 11am.
Price: $$.

Mamma e Papa– Delicious homemade pizzas and pastas, served in a beautiful home setting. Overlooking the river valley, the owners present a peaceful environment to enjoy healthy mediterranean cuisine, prepared lovingly in their home. Bring your whole family for this people pleaser of a place.
Cuisine: Italian, pizza.
Drinks: Italian wines and local selections.
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 3:30 pm.
Price: $$$.

Fabrizio’s Pizza– A local hangout for great pizza and great service. Fabrizio is the man behind the wood-fired oven, serving his circular creations to those who can’t get enough of the ‘za. Fresh pasta is also available on the menu, and his Saturday oven-roasted chicken for take-home sells out every week.
Cuisine: Italian, pizza.
Drinks: BYO or non-alcoholic available.
Hours: Monday to Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 11am for lunch and dinner.
Price: $$.

Sud Lounge– An incredible space with numerous different places to tuck yourself away. This is a special spot for big groups, with sexy lounge music and dreamy vibes. The service and the food are excellent, and the owners are great entertainers for their legion of fans and newcomers alike.
Cuisine: Mediterranean and gastro-pub.
Drinks: Fine wines, cocktails and local selections.
Hours: Every day except Wednesday (closed) from 4pm.
Price: $$$.

Fiesta del Mar– Recently reopened with new owners, this restaurant has gone through various incarnations over the years. Most recently, they are featuring pizza and wings– favorites of the holiday crowd, as well as one of the few breakfast menus available in the region. Recent reviews have been good and with their prime location and large dining room, this is sure to be a popular destination during the high season.
Cuisine: American with a Central American twist, and breakfast.
Drinks: Local selections.
Hours: Open every day from 6am.
Price: $$.

Villas Gaia– The rancho style restaurant features an eclectic décor. Privacy and tropical ambience are created by colorful landscaping and tasteful music. Their menu is popular with guests and locals alike.
Cuisine: Latin flavors.
Drinks: Local selections, with smoothies and juices in the day.
Hours: Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Price: $$.

Pancito Café– Our local breakfast spot at the entrance plaza in Ojochal, with cakes, croissants, and coffee available to grab and go also. They open early and are a delicious alternative for lighter, faster fare.
Cuisine: European café with hot kitchen and counter food.
Drinks: Coffees, smoothies, juices.
Hours: Open Monday to Saturday from 7am-3pm.
Price: $$.

360 Boutique Hotel– Positioned just right for the daily sunset– thanks to their 360 views– the bar and restaurant have yet to open but have the local community abuzz. A wide ranging a la carte menu features traditional Central American classics. Paired with immaculate design and detail, 360 is sure to be a next level eating experience atop one of the highest perches on the Calle Perezoso ridge.
Cuisine: Mediterranean style, with local flavors with local ingredients.
Drinks: Partnering with McCormick Distilling for a specialty line of vodkas.
Hours: Unknown.
Price: Unknown.