Tue. Apr 23rd, 2024
food in costa rica

We know of Costa Rica’s popularity as a tropical paradise with some of the world’s most breathtaking beaches, surfing spots, waterfalls, and volcanoes. But it’s also an excellent country to satiate your cravings for something flavorful and delicious! Because when you travel to a new country, one easy way to know the local culture is through the cuisine. Every meal can teach you something different and unique about the culture and foster friendly relationships with the locals. The same goes for Costa Rica and its broad spectrum of authentic local dishes, loaded with flavours and freshness. 

Are you planning to visit this Central American nation? If yes, then it can be a bit daunting to plan where to start and what to do to make your vacation memorable. But don’t worry, Costa Ricans are known for their friendliness and traditional food. The food in Costa Rica is typically not that spicy and is famous for using fresh ingredients like fruits and vegetables. The tropical climate encourages the natural growth of exotic fruits and vegetables, so there is always something new to add to your culinary experience. In Costa Rican meals, you will find rice or black beans in almost every dish, which makes them unique and worth trying. 

We’ve listed six traditional Costa Rican dishes for your upcoming vacation. When visiting Costa Rica for the first time, you must try these traditional cuisines of Costa Rica to know more about Costa Rican culture and tradition. 

1. Gallo Pinto 

Gallo Pinto is a simple dish people generally have for breakfast and is one of the food items you’ll see most on menus across Costa Rica. It is easy to make and consists of white rice and black or red beans sauteed in oil with sliced onions, sweet peppers, and fresh coriander. You can enjoy Gallo Pinto with your family and friends during your vacation almost everywhere in Costa Rica, as many posh restaurants around the country serve this delicacy. 

2. Casado 

Casado is a traditional Costa Rican dish you can have as a daily meal, for lunch or dinner. It is not a single dish but consists of several different food items. Restaurants generally serve Casado with a bowl of white rice, beans, the meat of your choice, fried plantains, fried veggies, and a salad. You can enjoy this fantastic dish in small local restaurants dotted across the country called “Sodas.” There are five different ways to prepare meat, including grilling it or serving it with a sauce. Also, which meat you will get with your dish depends on where you are in the country. Fresh fruit juice is generally also included in a Casado to make it more flavorful. 

3. Sopa Negra 

This dish is a soup that can be an appetizer or a main course, depending on your choice or mood. Black beans are one of the main ingredients used to make Sopa Negra flavorful and tasty. This yummy soup is spiced with coriander, sweet pepper, and onion, perfect to have during a rainy evening. This traditional Costa Rican soup is one of the best dishes in the country and is sure to fill you up. This soup is the best option for vegetarians, and other variations of this dish can meet special dietary needs, including gluten-free food restrictions. You can enjoy this soup with white rice and hard-boiled eggs, making it a complete meal. Also, topping it off with ingredients like diced avocados will add a healthy punch to your soup! 

4. Chifrijo 

If you’re looking for a delicious lunch or an evening snack in Costa Rica, Chifrijo is perfect. This chicharrones-based dish is a favorite among locals in the Puntarenas region. You can enjoy a Chifrijo bowl served with a layer of white rice and large-sized beans called “cubaces” almost everywhere in the country. Get yourself corn tortillas, fried tortilla chips, or bread as accompaniments for the best taste. Street vendors sell this delicacy at the beaches in Costa Rica, and since most people like to have them with beer, you can also find this dish at many bars in the country. 

5. Patacones 

Patacones are excellent deep-fried snacks loved by people all over Costa Rica. It is made by flattening and frying plantains and is mainly served as a Costa Rican snack at events and functions. They are crunchy outside and a little soft inside, making them a great choice to enjoy with your favorite drink. This snack is widely available at many restaurants, and you can also enjoy it at street food stands across the country. 

Restaurants serve Patacones with a black bean puree and shredded cheese or guacamole. They taste best when eaten hot, fresh, and with a cold beverage, like beer. Season them with salt right before you eat them for the best flavor. You must try Patacones at least once during your vacation in Costa Rica! 

6. Arroz Con Leche 

If you like desserts, this one is for you. Arroz Con Leche is a delicious, famous, and easy-to-make dessert you can enjoy whenever you crave something sweet. The dish’s simplicity lies in its ingredients, i.e., milk and rice. However, the flavors of this sweet dish are much more complex. In addition to rice and milk, sugar, salt, cinnamon sticks, and lemon zest are the essential ingredients added to make this dessert much more flavorsome. You can also enjoy a variation with raisins, and other nuts included.  


Your mouth must be watering already reading about these super delicious traditional dishes. You must try all these flavorsome local dishes in Costa Rica when in the country as they reflect the true colors of culture, tradition, and authenticity. You can undoubtedly include many more options on your food tasting list. One of the best ways to enjoy these delicious dishes daily during your stay is to book a luxury rental in Costa Rica with a private chef. One such luxury stay in Costa Rica is Villa Firenze, where you get the facility to customize your menu according to your preferences and dietary restrictions.

Costa Rican cuisine here is an experience full of freshness and nature. So, explore more culinary delights during your vacation and have the best time enjoying the Pura Vida life in Costa Rica while having the best food ever.

By Manali