Playa Grande: Where to eat
Go. Eat. Repeat.
When visiting Playa Grande or Tamarindo, YOU MUST GET THESE EMPANADAS. Pasta Casera Tamarindo is hands down my favorite food on this planet. Highly recommend the Caprese empanadas. But let's be real, they're all amazing. Once you have one, you'll go back for another. Promise.
The price is reason enough to love them: About 1,000 colones each ($2ish).
Taco Star doesn't look like much at first but this local favorite has it all. The food is good and cheap. With the main break directly out front, it's always packed with surfers. And the owners are kind and have the cutest little boy in the world, River. I wouldn't go to Playa Grande just for this but if you're in town, the vibes here can't be beat!
Cafe Mar Azul: Right next to the Playa Grande Surf Camp, it's a good place to go for local cuisine. There you can try Gallo Pinto, the national dish of Costa Rica: rice, beans, Lizano sauce, plantains, eggs & tortillas. Also, I highly recommend the mint lemonade. Holy refreshing!
Mandarina Tropical, Tamarindo: So it may seem strange to recommend a smoothie chain; however, for the budget traveler - these are a must! When in starving and dehydration mode, my go to is "The Breakfast Smoothie" and a giant pipa fria. $5 for the lot and it will keep you goin' until your next bowl of rice. (You think I'm kidding. I'm not.)
Cantarana Restaurant: Maybe I'm biased because my friends own it, but the pizza is pretty dang good for the middle of the Costa Rican jungle. Up on the 2nd floor patio of Cantarana Hotel, it feels as if, rather, YOU ARE dining with the monkeys among the treetops. Plumerias and palms everywhere!