Costa Rica Park Cafe is a top restaurant in Costa Rica.

Published on December 22nd, 2015 | by Lenny Karpman

Park Cafe is a top restaurant in Costa Rica.

Tasty Tico: The 25 Best Restaurants in Costa Rica’s Central Valley

When Lenny Karpman left Brown University 50 years ago, he struggled with his desire to be a writer. The safer route seemed to be to choose a profession that would afford him the opportunity to write as an avocation. Today, he lives with his wife, Joan Hall JD, on a small farm in Costa Rica’s Central Valley — on what he calls a refuge for a dozen parrots, a toucan, a flock of chickens, a pair of guinea fowl, six dogs, six cats, a koi pond, a finch, quail and parakeet aviary and a horse. They are gardeners, cooks, birders and golfers. She is a yogi, horsewoman, singer and artist. And they have three children and six grandchildren.

Lenny operates his own website through which readers click through to a bimonthly blog about food and restaurants in Costa Rica. He recently did us a favor by sharing some of his best Costa Rica travel tips for some of his favorite restaurants. This is an invaluable list for any Costa Rica vacation — and it also showcases the wide diversity of cuisine available in this Central American nation.

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So get your taste buds ready, because here are Lenny’s choices for the best restaurants in Costa Rica, divided by category of cuisine:

#1 WINNER: Park Café in Escazú. The chef, Richard Neat, has Michelin stars for two previous restaurants in London and Cannes and a Top 50 in The World accolade from Conde Naste for a third in Marrakesh. Park Café holds the top spot.

American bar food: Tap House, Santa Ana (Burgers, pulled pork, Reubens)

Argentinean restaurant: La Esquina de Buenos Aires, San Jose

Bakery: La Toscana, Escazú (the only place left with quality bagels)

Dim sum Hong Kong style: Casa China, San Jose

French restaurant: La Terrasse, San Jose

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French café and bakery: Chez Christophe, Escazú

Indian restaurant: A Taste of India, Escazú

International restaurants (tie): El Grano de Oro, San Jose and Saga, Escazú

Italian restaurant: Bacchus, Santa Ana

Middle Eastern restaurant: Sash, Rohrmoser (Lebanese)

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Pan-Asian: Tin Ho, San Jose (dishes from China, Japan, Korea, India, Philippines and Thailand)

Paired wine and tasting menu by chef Gustavo Alvarado: Taller Gastronomico El Punto, Escazu (Molecular gastronomy background)

Pizza: La Fabbrica, chain (thin crust)

Peruvian restaurant: Macchu Pichu, Santa Ana and San Jose

Seafood restaurant: Pescatore, Escazu

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Steakhouse: Doris Metropolitan, Santa Ana

Sushi/Japanese restaurant: Kiraku, Escazu

Tex-Mex: Jalapeños Central, Alajuela

Thai restaurant: Aroi Thai, Ciudad Colon

Tico bar and bocas: El Rancho de Laly, Santa Ana

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Tico chicharrones: Oviedo, La Guácima

Tico restaurant: La Crillolita, San Jose

Tico coffee root spit-roasted chicken: Pollos Del Monte, San Antonio de Belén

Vietnamese: Pho Café and Restaurant, Santa Ana

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