Traditional breakfast meals

Huevos rancheros

Huevos rancheros is a typical dish with fried eggs covered with a spicy tomato based sauce.  It is often served with bacon, steak or sausage and gallo pinto.

Gallo pinto

Gallo pinto is a staple of the Costa Rican diet.  It is a mixture of rice and black beans along with spices and cilantro.  It is often served with sausage, bacon or steak.

A warning to bacon or sausage lovers

Bacon is good in Costa Rica, but almost never crispy.  If you like crispy bacon, inform your server in advance.  Sausage is usually more like a traditional hot dog in the United States.

Traditional lunch and dinner


The most popular Costa Rican dish is a casado.  This is a plate with a basic meat, rice and beans, salad and usually fried plantains.

Arroz con pollo

Arroz means rice and pollo means chicken.  Put the two together along with some vegetables, cilantro and spices and you have one of the most popular and tasty dishes in Costa Rica, arroz con pollo.  Restaurants usually offer variants of this dish, with the most popular being arroz con camarones (camarones means shrimp). 


Empanadas are a fried pastry that can be filled with chicken or pork, rice and beans or potatoes.


Tamales are made of a mixture of corn meal and meat or vegetables that usually comes wrapped in a banana leaf.  This is a traditional meal for Christmas, but also common on the menu.


Ceviche is a popular side in Costa Rica.  It is a seafood salad marinated in citrus juice.  Though it is often sold in plastic cups by sidewalk vendors, we do not recommend buying it this way.  We only recommend buying ceviche from established restaurants.

Sopa Negra

This is a black bean soup that you will find on most menus


These are sandwiches filled with your choice of meat (actually, whatever the restaurant has to offer that day).


This is the word for steak.  Similar to many other countries, steak is a common dinner dish.


Most restaurants serve a variety of natural juices, sodas, water, beer or wine.  


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