When you visit Costa Rica and you want good local food, you have to eat at a soda. Trust me. You haven’t experienced real Costa Rica if you don’t eat at a soda. Oh and no I don’t mean eat next to a pop can.
Sodas are what Costa Ricans call restaurants that are usually open space, smaller and serve typical food. Every town you visit in Costa Rica has a soda, guaranteed. Most of them hang a Pepsi or Imperial sign outside and you’ll see something like “Soda Tipica” and that is where you want to go if you want to eat where the locals eat.
Sometimes they may be kind of dingy looking, with that hole in the wall feel but that’s what makes it even more of an enjoyable experience.
Usually when Yeison and I are on the road and are hungry, that’s what we’ll look for. They’re normally cheaper than a standard restaurant and there’s nothing better than cheap delicious food!
Eating at a Soda in Costa Rica
Eating in a soda in Costa Rica is best and only way to get a taste of true Costa Rican food and a glimpse into the life of a Tico. Sodas are usually set up two ways: buffet or menu. We personally like buffet style because they typically have a bunch of different choices so it’s easy to find something you like.
This way also gives more options to vegetarians than plain ole casados which can get boring after awhile. Buffets usually serve more food too or they have dedicated days for certain dishes like olla de carne or other things.
A typical menu for a soda in Costa Rica goes like this: entradas (appetizers), platos tradicionales (traditional food) casados, pasta, arrozes (arroz con pollo/mariscos/camarones/calamares) and platos fuertes. Platos fuertes are usually a whole fish, steak, the special of the day or something like that.
For drinks, they usually have sodas and natural juices like cas, mora and strawberry.
And another thing sodas usually have are chileras which are pickled spicy vegetables. If you like spicy food, you have to try this! Great addition to any traditional Costa Rican dish.
Eating at a Costa Rican soda is probably one of the best ways to get to know the locals and meet people. It’s easy to spot sodas and you can find them everywhere, even if you’re driving on what seems to be a road into the middle of nowhere, you’ll find a soda.
Check out what this soda in Costa Rica is like! This is a 360 video so move your cursor around in the video.
Want to learn how to cook like a Costa Rican? Check out these recipes!
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