Lava Rocks is a good restaurant locaed in La Fortuna, right under the Arenal Volcano. The food is Costa Rican / Western and is quite good. They also have great fruit shakes (like in Thailand). However, if you don't spaek Spanish you won't have a big problem, but most of the workers at Lava Rocks don't speak english, so here are some useful phrases:
Beef: Carne (de vaca)
Raspberry: Mora (Zarzamora)
Cheak please: La cuenta por favor
Thank you: Gracias
You're welcome: Con Gusto
This was good place to stop in and grab some breakfast (the lunch/dinner menus looked good too). It has a nicer setting with rich wooden tables and bar seating inside and along the sidewalk outside. Staff and other patrons were very pleasant.
Favorite Dish: I had the Desayno Tipico that included huevos, natilla, rice & beans, fresh tortilla, block of griled cheese, and beverage. This was a really great breakfast for under $5!
Huevos: I had the scrambled eggs (huevos revueltos), which were quite tasty. They had a hint of onion in them, but not actual onion. It may have been the grill that was used. I loved them.
Natilla: sour cream, but much different than that in the US. I actually like this version of sour cream. It was richer and butter-like in consistency.
Rice & beans: good, on par with everything else.
Tortilla: quite fresh & delicious
Fried Cheese: this a small block of goats cheese that was fried on the grill/griddle. Not fried cheese like in the US with breading and deep fried. This quite a unique treat and addition.
Cafe Con Leche: Among the best I had while in CR!
Soda are little snack-bar like restaurants in Costa Rica. You'll find them everywhere, usually small with a few tables and stools at the counter. They'll serve tipical comidas, or typical meals, usually full plates combining rice, beans, salads, plantain and meat or fish, for a very good price, well under 10$ for two peoples including drinks of freshly squeeze fruits. This one in La Fortuna, openned on two side with view on the city and the Rio Burio, served the best Casados in town!
You have to try it at least once, for the experience, but hopefully as often as you can for your health, enjoyment of the country and budget!
Favorite Dish: Fruit juices are fresh and sweet.
Casados are huge and tasteful and come with a weird little rice and milk desert (some like, some don't). In fact, the plate was so big, I had to switch to just rice (arroz) and meat (con meat en salsa is the best one I think).
WE stayed three nights and really enjoyed our dinner here each evening . They have a pizza oven and the pizzas are very good . We also had a great peppercorn steak which we enjoyed.
The only drawback is the staff weren't the most friendly and didn't know anything about wine ..Just referred to it as red or white.
There are a number of open-air cafes in La Fortuna. We especially enjoyed the fresh fruit (never got sick unlike fresh fruit in Mexico which should be avoided) and we also enjoyed the sailor's rice every restaurant offered. Sailor's rice is rice with a mixture of the day's fresh catch of fish. Add a little tobasco and it is awesome. Oh and did I mention cheap, $5-$7 per person at almost every cafe.
This restaurant in located in Los Lagos resort. It is higher class than what you would find in La Fortuna. They offer a buffet breakfast that is incredible. Amazing fresh fruit, eggs, pastries, all great.
Dinner is very good. Food is perfectly prepared. Portions are a bit smaller and more expensive than an average meal in La Fortuna. Still one of my favorite restaurants in La Fortuna.
Update January 2013 - Returned for a two day stay and had dinner here again. Food is still excellent. I had the rib eye steak, which was cooked perfectly, with avocado salsa, stuffed potato and plantain. Very good meal!
We ate here by chance but actually, if you pull over the side of the road an older waite staff woman practically pulls you inside. The food was just ok. But all our orders were screwed up. It almost felt like they served us what ever they felt like. Tried to up sell a lot of extra and actually bought stuff out we didn't order and tried to make us pay for it. When I went up to pay they threw my nearly full bottle of soda out. When I complain, they actually went into the garbage can and fished my soda back out instead of giving me a new one!
This is a nice little find. Small and tucked away on the main street into La Fortuna. We were a large group some things seemed tight but still plenty of room. The owner is an ex-pat from the US. Very personable and really strives to serve the best food he can. The wait staff were great. Unique, especially in CR, the waiter took our order with an I-pad! I haven't even seen that in the states yet. They serve traditional local food as well as some very good pizza.
I started with an order of guacamole and chips. Decided on just a hamburger but it was cooked perfectly to order and very tasty. The owner told us about his great brownies so I tried one for dessert with vanilla ice cream. Brownie was heated. Nice finish!
Favorite Dish: All good but I liked the guacamole and the hamburger equally.
This is an open air cafe restaurant. The wait staff were very attentive. I was very surprised on how fast my food came. Very inexpensive. I had the chicken casado tipico which comes with a fresh fruit drink. The drink was Guayaba and was very good. I added an order of fresh chips and guacamole which was the highlight. Everything was good though and you couldn't beat the price.
Favorite Dish: Fresh guacamole and chips.
You may notice the large divide of resteraunts where locals eat and touristy resteraunts. Tourist resteraunts will charge you 10$ a plate, while the Soda's (more local places) will cost you 3-4$ and have just as good of food. Try to find the hole in the wall and enjoy. Your best bet is to eat at "Soda's" instead of resteraunts as they can get pricey. These sodas offer a lot of very interesting drinks for you to try, and always expect for your silverware to come inside a little plastic package, I guess this is their way of saying the utensils are clean
After a long day of riding zip lines, we needed a quick bite to eat (nothing too heavy or expensive). So we drove towards Fortuna and happened to come across Soda Las Flores., looked inviting and of course is locally run so we stopped in. Prompt and friendly service and the place smelled so good so we ordered. Using our Spanish, we carried on a conversation with the cook as well as the owner...very friendly people. The food presentation as well as the amount of food we got was amazing...I think the total bill was $16/USD and that included a couple beers.
Favorite Dish: As with most Sodas, the menu is pretty basic. LJ ordered Beef Nachos and I ordered Steak Casado...ummm, ummm good!!!
It was our last day in Fortuna and since we had purchased the 2-day pass from The Springs Resort and Spa, we wanted to definitely see the Wildlife Preserve for rescued animals (Cat Tour). We got to the main reception area and then waited for the shuttle to take us down to the Club Rio Outdoor Center (located 1.5 kilometers below the resort along the Arenal River). By the time we arrived at the center, the last tour for the morning had already left, so we had to wait for the next one which was at 1:00. With that, we walked over to the Rancho Club Rio Restaurant & Bar, ordered food and something to drink. Great scenery and wonderful service. Highly recommend that you visit.
Favorite Dish: Since we were hungry, we ordered Chicken Empanadas, Rum and Coke and a Bushwalker...so delicious and so good!!!
This seemed to be a very popular spot with both locals and tourists. It is a small open-air establishment offering a variety of local and not-so-local items. It may look a little dingy but nothing displeasing, unless you are quite a priss. Just find an empty table and seat yourself. After you eat, go to the little booth at the front entrance and tell the person (it was a young woman) what you had and pay there. You can even buy small snacks, gum, or cigarettes from the booth.
Prices are quite inexpensive for good portions of acceptable food. I had a personal pizza with ham & cheese (yeah, I know - how local & original) and a banana batida. The pizza was decent - nothing to rave about. The batida was a good alternative to the usual ice tea or water.
If you want something good enough and inexpensive, this is definitely a fair choice, especially for the budget conscious.
Hotel Los Lagos (www.hotelloslagos) provides a tasty buffet with the stay at their resort. It generally consisted of cooked meats and sausages, potatoes, eggs, pico de gallo, breads, fresh juice, cereals, and of course fantastic Costa Rican coffee.
All along the streets of La Fortuna are small cafes. Most are open air, covered so you can still eat when it is raining. And the food is volcano themed, as you can see from the rice with the carrots that look like lava. How cute is that. A typical dish such as this, with fresh fish in the rice, potatoes or fries, veggies, would be about $5 per person. Can't beat that price!