If you’re a foodie and visiting Costa Rica, then you have to visit Playa Jaco. Jaco has arguably the best food in all of Costa Rica! Though it’s a touristic town, Jaco has an wide variety of food unlike many other touristic destinations in Costa Rica. You can find the typical $5 Costa Rica lunch to a $20 burger. There is something for every taste bud and there is an large number of high end restaurants in Jaco.
We lived in Jaco for 6 months and were lucky to be there the same time as one of our friends who has been visiting/living in Jaco for over 5 years so he took us to all his favorite spots. We feasted on Argentinian barbecue, chocolate and cacao steak and tuna burgers for our date nights and enjoyed cheap traditional food when we didn’t feel like cooking.
Here are our favorite restaurants in Jaco.
Best Restaurants in Jaco
Graffiti Restro Cafe
For high end dining or a romantic dinner, Graffiti Cafe is your place to go. This seafood steak cafe does not hold back on portion size and they use very high quality meat for their steaks and burgers. We’ve had their fish tacos, burger and chocolate and cacao steak – a very unique dish that seemed like an odd combination but it was downright amazing.
It’s best to make a reservation especially during high season and they open at 5 PM.They have other dishes like Tuna tar tar tower, pork chops, veggie plates and have a good variety of wine and cocktails. Prices start at $11.
Soda Jaco Rustico
For traditional Costa Rican food, Soda Rustico is one of the best restaurants in Jaco, if not the very best. It’s popular among locals since their prices are pretty cheap for such a touristic area. You can get a normal casado (rice, beans, meat and salad) with a drink for about $6. It’s buffet style and they have different options every day.
On some days they have soup like olla de carne or seafood soup and it gets super popular for lunch. This is an excellent option for vegetarians because it is buffet style so they can pick and choose whatever they want.
The Pizza Shop
I love pizza. It’s hard to find good pizza in Costa Rica despite the number of Italians living here so I was psyched when I found the Pizza Shop. They make New York style pizza which is my favorite so if you’re craving pizza, then this is the place to go in Jaco.
THey also deliver which is a rarity in Costa Rica. They also have sandwiches but their pizza is the best.
This soda is another excellent cheap place to eat typical Costa Rican food. They are cash only but you can get breakfast for as cheap as $4 with coffee. Their gallo pinto is in my opinion, actually one of the better ones in Jaco. This soda is also buffet style, they don’t have quite as many options as Soda Rustico but it’s pretty cheap and good.
For yummy fish tacos, burritos and salads, head to Tacobar. They have an all you can eat salad bar and even dessert.
They also have $3 breakfast which is great if you’re staying somewhere that doesn’t include breakfast.
I love it when restaurants make their own sauces or breads. Kaya Grill, an Argentinian grill restaurant makes their own mayonnaise and their tuna burger is the best I’ve ever had.
They also have a meat variety platter of chicken, chorizo and steak and a great wine list.
I am a sucker for sweets and don’t even get me started about pastries! So when Yeison introduced me to Pachi’s Pan, I was delighted. They are a very old bakery, Yeison remembers going there as a kid and though their sandwiches aren’t that great, their sweet pastries are downright delightful.
I love their pañuelos, empanadas and cakes. SO good! And cheap. The caramel ones are my favorite. Yum!
Pachi’s Pan is in downtown across from the Banco Nacional.
Thinking about renting a car in Jaco? Get our 10-25% car rental discount with Adobe! They have an office in Herradura and can deliver/pick up your car to Jaco free of charge.
Isaga Bar and Restaurant
For good food and a fun night out at a more local place, head to Isaga Bar and Restaurant. Here you’ll experience the typical Costa Rican bar night life. They serve typical food, have cheap beer and savory chiliguaro!
We loved ordering chifrijo and Imperial, two super Costa Rican things to get at a bar and it’s not very expensive at Isaga. We always brought our Tico friends here and they loved it.
Craving dessert? El Barco has a lot of gelato flavors as well as typical Costa Rican sweets like churchills. Sure there is a Pops right around the corner but El Barco delivers more unique flavors and more variety. They were having a nutella special going on one night which I especially loved!
Soda Marea Baja
If you have a car or don’t mind to take a taxi, this soda is a little outside Jaco and is awesome. It’s open 24 hours, buffet style and cheap! All the Ticos go here and for $6, you can get a casado with a drink and all you can eat salad bar.
This was the best place when it was late at night and we didn’t want to go to a bar to eat.
This place is hard to find, it’s tiny and there’s only 1 chef. Which makes it ALL more awesome. Her menu usually only has 2 items (whatever is freshest that day) and it changes every day. The gallo pinto is delicious and we had a chicken pasta dish once that was yummy. Driving to the north end of Jaco through downtown, take the last left onto a small road right before the bridge and it’s a tiny hole in the wall place on the left.
Here is a map of all the restaurants except La Chinita Pacifica and Pachi’s Pan.
Playa Jaco travel tips
We have written a few posts about Jaco. These posts below will help you decide if you want to visit Jaco, where to stay, what to do and more! If you’re thinking about living in Jaco, I have a post on that too.
And you can see what the town looks like in our driving video!
When it comes to the best gastronomic experiences in Costa Rica, Jaco is a top place to visit. Other than San Jose, I don’t think there is a destination that has this many high quality restaurants. There are great restaurants in every touristic place in Costa Rica but there are definitely way more fine dining restaurants in Jaco.
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