Best Costa Ballena Restaurants: Uvita, Dominical, & Ojochal

On my most recent trip to Costa Rica, I was able to experience some of the delicious flavors the country has to offer on the South Pacific coast of Costa Ballena.  Costa Rica is known for a few different dishes – among the many are gallo pinto (rice and beans), patacones (deep-fried plantains), and casados (a plate filled with typical Costa Rican foods). Lucky for me, I got to try all of these and then some! Having visited the South Pacific many times, the following is a compilation of my favorite restaurants and eateries to-date in Uvita, Domincal, and Ojochal of the South Pacific region.

Uvita Hotel Restaurants

Let’s start with the small town of Uvita. Located just 1 hour south of Manuel Antonio, this was my first stop. I stayed at Rancho Pacifico Hotel, which is situated up in the mountains overlooking Marino Ballena National Park.

Rancho Pacifico organic garden

Rancho Pacifico organic garden

Perhaps the coolest thing about the culinary scene at Rancho Pacifico is their new organic garden! If you are a health-conscious individual who likes to know exactly what goes into your food, this is the place for you. Each night, the chef prepares a gourmet 4-course dinner, blending organic and natural ingredients to create tasty and innovative dishes. Rancho Pacifico also caters to vegans, vegetarians, and those with dietary restrictions.

Rancho Pacifico tropical fruit

Rancho Pacifico tropical fruit

Other notable hotel restaurants in Uvita can be found at Kura and Oxygen Jungle Villas.  These upscale resorts offer gourmet dining in a luxury rainforest setting.

Uvita Restaurants

Now, it’s time to discuss the local food! The town of Uvita may be small, but restaurants are plentiful. One of my favorite spots is the Mosaic Wine Bar & Café, which offers fresh sushi, paninis, and cheese + charcuterie. Vegetarians and vegans will have no problem finding something to eat here, as they are very mindful about this! They also offer live music on Thursday nights.

Mosaic Wine Bar & Cafe

New breakfast options at Mosaic Wine Bar & Cafe

Sibu is a centrally located restaurant and cafe that’s popular with tourists. They have excellent brownies! Bee Hive, a new Mediterranean-inspired restaurant, has a more upscale feeling than most other Uvita restaurants. Try Carlito’s, a Mexican-style restaurant way off the beaten path.  They feature great chicken enchiladas, tortilla soups, sangria and cold beer.

Carlito's Mexican Restaurant Uvita

An assortment of dishes at Carlito’s Mexican Restaurant

If you’re looking for pizza, check out Pizzeria La Fogata, a small, local spot in a casual outdoor setting.  It’s one of Uvita’s oldest restaurants and is popular among locals and tourists. Or, head to Pizza Time for New-York style brick oven pizzas.

Dominical Restaurants

PorQueNo Dominical breakfast

PorQueNo breakfast view

Located about 20 minutes north of Uvita is another small area called Dominical. This town is known for its laid-back vibe – and is one of the best spots to surf in Costa Rica! If you’re looking for a lively place with delicious wings, burgers, and fries, visit Bar Jolly Roger – they usually have live music. Enjoy a gorgeous view at PorQueNo, where you can eat while you watch the sun go down over the ocean.

Ojochal Restaurants

Heliconia Restaurant Ojochal

A special of salmon in orange and passion fruit sauce over caramelized apples served with salad at Heliconia Restaurant

Finally, let’s talk about the up-and-coming Ojochal, a gastronomic treasure in the South Pacific region. One might call The Bamboo Room the most popular restaurant in Ojochal – probably because of the excellent live music scene. However, there is much more to see here! Check out Heliconia, with a comfortable intimate dining room surrounded by tropical plants and trees.  The food is delicious – kind of a fusion of American and Costa Rican styles.

Culinary artistry at Restaurante Citrus

Culinary artistry at Restaurante Citrus

If you’re in the mood for something fancier, visit Citrus, the most famous restaurant in Ojochal. Their French cuisine is unbeatable, but a little pricey. An alternative for French food would be Exotica – but be prepared for a long meal!

While there are endless options for good food in Costa Rica, there is nowhere else like the culinary gem that is the South Pacific region. Even though I got to try a lot of the special places on this list, I’m always itching to go back for more. Whether it’s the food, rainforest, beautiful beaches, or wildlife of the country, I will never get sick of all Costa Rica has to offer. It’s only getting better!

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