5 Best Restaurants in Jaco, Costa Rica
Posted by Jack Albritton on December 18, 2013
If you are planning on a trip to Playa Jaco, Costa Rica you are in for a treat when it comes to food. There is a wide variety of options to suit every taste and budget so it is a bit hard and somewhat subjective to pick the best. But I’ve done my best to pick out what I consider the 5 best restaurants in Jaco, Costa Rica. All are family friendly and casual, as is life in Jaco. These are all great spots for dinner and a couple serve lunches also, but I would suggest during the day trying out some of the local Costa Rican food. There are small, typical restaurants called “sodas” all over town which are great spots to soak up the local culture as well as some tasty meals. Now let’s see what is on the menu.
Graffiti Restro Cafe & Wine Bar
You could almost miss Graffiti as it is located in a little strip mall across from the plaza containing Citi Cinemas, KFC and Quiznos. This is just right off of Jaco’s main road, Avenica Pastor Diaz. The menu offers everything from vegetarian dishes to sushi. One of their signature dishes that patrons rave about is the cacao and coffee encrusted tenderloin.
Chef Danny Clark has created one of the top dining experiences in Jaco, if not Costa Rica with dishes such as snook seasoned with 5 Caribbean spices and topped with mango salsa, blackened tuna fish tacos, a tuna tartar tower and more. He uses fresh, locally grown ingredients for his recipes and throws in a little love for good measure. They also have great musicians play there from time to time so if you can catch dinner and some live music you are double lucky.
Located downtown in the center of Jaco, Wishbone has been satisfying guests, especially surfers, for many years with their unpretentious menu that really offers something for everybody, no matter what you have the taste for. The menu ranges from Tex-Mex like fare to homemade pizzas. They also have sandwiches in homemade pita bread that are big enough for two meals for most people.
All the portions are huge here and you will never go home hungry. You can enjoy fresh tuna in a variety of ways. There are tuna steaks cooked to order, a sashimi plate that is to die for and Caliche’s own version of poke, a Hawaiian dish consisting of sticky rice, spinach, onions, cubed raw tuna and a spicy poke sauce. Whatever you choose you can’t go wrong here. The atmosphere is fun and there are always surf videos on the TV’s.
Lemon Zest is located on Jaco’s main street just 50 meters south of Mas X Menos, the main supermarket in town. Chef Richard Lemon, a former Le Cordon Bleu instructor, has been offering delightful gourmet fare to the area for some 7 years now. This is considered one of the top restaurants in Costa Rica.
Appetizers such as grilled sugar cane-skewered shrimp with naranjillo mojo sauce or lobster and manchego quesadilla are to die for. Main dishes include macadamia-crusted mahimahi, fresh seared tuna, sesame-and-panko-crusted lobster with a pineapple risotto and sweet chile sauce, duck, wonderful cuts of beef and more. They also offer a great wine list and a sinful selection of desserts. This is not just dinner. This is a culinary experience from appetizers and drinks to dessert and coffee.
Sushi has been a favorite in Jaco for some time. However, it is the new kid on the block that serves up the best in town. Although Arigato has been open for less than 2 years, owner and Chef Rudy Aizawa is no stranger to the sushi scene in Jaco. He has worked in other restaurants in the area and then had a very successful sushi catering service before opening Arigato. He has 3 additional Japanese Chefs, so the food at Arigato is 100% authentic.
The menu also offers cooked Japanese fare in case someone in your group isn’t a sushi fan. Be sure and ask or look for the daily special posted. Like most of Jaco the scene is casual here so shorts and flip flops are fine.
Side Street Bistro
From the same people who brought you Graffiti comes Side Street Bistro. Chef Danny Clark has created another successful restaurant in Jaco, which in a short time has become a favorite of both tourists and locals alike. As good as Graffiti is Side Street Bistro has it’s own unique style and flavor. They offer both indoor climate controlled dining as well as tables outside in shaded, breezy green spaces.
Side Street serves both lunch and dinner, specializing in gourmet sandwiches, soups, salads and baked goods. Breads and baked goods come from an artisanal brick oven giving off a wonderful aroma to delight your sense of smell if you should happen to be dining while they are baking. In addition to the main dining facilities Side street has their own shaded beer garden, serving several craft beers brewed on the premises. On the second floor is a day lounge terrace under a beautiful tree that is rumored to be the oldest in Jaco. Besides beer they serve creatvice libations with their signature drink being the Side Street Mojito.
Sunday is a day to hangout and play as Side Street offers free yoga in the morning, never ending mimosas, brunch and live reggae in the afternoon. The food may be spectacular but the vibe is laid back, casual and comfortable. Not many eat there just once.
These are the 5 best restaurants in Jaco, Costa Rica in my opinion. You will have to try them for yourself and see what you think. The proximity to the ocean offers the freshest fish you have likely had in your life. The above mentioned restaurants use local produce, fruits, herbs and ingredients to complete the wonderful meals for their guests.