Long considered to be the culinary capital of Costa Rica, Ojochal is an eclectic community with a little something for everyone. Our village is a mix of locals and expats from around the world, each throwing their own tastes and traditions into the cultural mix that makes Ojochal unique.
In keeping with the local tradition of sharing what we know, our community events and parties tend to involve bringing a plate of something along. And when it comes to special outings, Ojochal’s restaurants have much to bring to the table, too.
Below is a list of our local destinations for culinary delights and creative beverages, each open and available to taste and enjoy in the 2017-2018 season.
Castillo’s Kitchen at El Castillo – Traditionally thought of as the crown jewel of Ojochal dining for its immaculate views of the Pacific coast, food and service over the years have been equally impressive. New Chef Pablo promises to bring the future of Costa Rican cuisine to the tables of Castillo’s Kitchen, still the place to come for an elegant three-course meal, none of which are likely disappoint. The setting is sophisticated and the atmosphere is dress casual, in respect of the climate and the pura vida vibe of Southern Costa Rica. The bar is no longer open to the public and strictly reserved for the guests of this exclusive establishment. Come for dinner to enjoy this picturesque venue, which is a top choice for weddings and special occasions in our region.
Cuisine: Reinvented Costa Rican cuisine, Seafood
Drinks: High-end imported wines with a good local selection
Hours: Monday to Sunday for lunch and dinner, by reservation only
The Bamboo Room – Ojochal’s favorite nightlife spot offers live music every night of the week. This is the place to come for a fun time out with friends enjoying great entertainment. The menu is simple and delicious, and the service is fast and friendly. Consider this your Costa Rica equivalent to your choice venue back home.
Cuisine: American with local influences
Drinks: Craft bottled beers and drink specials every day, with a good selection of beverages
Hours: open at 11am Monday to Saturday for lunch and dinner (closed Sunday)
La Mona Grita – The newest hot spot at the entrance of Ojochal is poised for an easy stop off to have a drink and see friendly faces. La Mona Grita has fast internet and TVs all around, making it the local spot for sports fans. Friday nights are for fiestas, with DJ Fabian playing dance music nearly every weekend. They have the largest selection of tequilas in the Costa Ballena and a solid margarita menu. They also lay the bold claim that theirs is the coldest beer in Ojochal, so come out and test their theory – you might even be invited to play a game to win your first beer on the house!
Cuisine: Taco Tuesdays and the occasional special, however don’t expect a food menu
Drinks: Margarita menu and the coldest beer in Ojochal
Hours: Open every day from noon until late
Citrus – For the duration of the high season, it is fitting that Marcella will be serving her adoring clientele from her own home (at the old location of Citrus). Her menu is both high-end and homestyle, with plenty of personality and delightful self-expression going into each of her creations. She has an enduring spirit and speaks volumes through her cuisine and the culture she creates in the community. Choose this location for a classic date night or a dinner with friends.
Cuisine: French and Asian fusion
Drinks: Elegant cocktails and wines
Hours: Open Monday and Tuesday from 5pm to 10pm, Wednesday till Saturday from 12 to 10pm (reservations a must)
Exotica – A small restaurant hidden away in the recesses of the green wall that lines the main road through Ojochal village, this location is easy to miss, but don’t pass it by! Inside is potentially the most divine meal you will have in Costa Rica, if not in your life! Pricey in comparison to others but essential for those special dinner occasions. Lucy is an incredible hostess, and her team craft an incredible experience in a sensual jungle ambiance, filled with outstanding food and drinks. The desserts are to die for and reservations are a must for this experience.
Drinks: Elegant cocktails, fine wines and a great selection of apertifs and digestifs
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 5pm
Diquis Del Sur – Reopening again on the 15th of December, Diquis has been popular with the local French-Canadian community and dancing enthusiasts for many years. This season, they reopen with an Italian chef who will be creating a mix of pasta dishes and some traditional pub-style quick meals. Come for their cocktail specials and a daytime snack menu in the day and enjoy a game of the traditional French ‘petanque’ on their green lawn. Kick back in the evening with gorgeous sunset views and happy hour specials.
Cuisine: Italian and gastro-pub
Drinks: Cocktails, local beer and happy hour (4-6)
Hours: Open every day from 6-8:30 for dinner, with light snack menu in the day
Cuisine: Central American with international favorites
Drinks: Local selections
Hours: Open from 11am (closed Tuesday)
The Lookout – Aptly named for it’s high perch close to the entrance to Ventanas Beach, the views from this stunning restaurant/hotel are spectacular. The atmosphere is lovely, with attentive, friendly staff and mood music to entertain guests. Come for the sunset, stay for dinner, and come away with an unforgettable experience.
Cuisine: Central American, Gastro-pub, Seafood
Drinks: Nice wine menu and a mixed selection of local and imported
Hours: Open for dinner from 4pm (closed Mondays and Thursdays)
Fusion – Another great location off the highway, this is a popular destination that can cater for large groups. The menu is equally expansive, with pages and pages of pub favorites like burgers, steaks, calamari, wings – and many international and Costa Rican classics to match.
Cuisine: Sushi, Asian, Contemporary
Drinks: Imported and local selections
Hours: Open every day from 11am
Mamma e Papa – Delicious homemade pizzas and pastas, served in a beautiful home setting. Overlooking the green river valley, the owners present a peaceful environment to enjoy healthy mediterranean cuisine, prepared lovingly in their home. Bring your whole family for this people pleaser of a place.
Cuisine: Italian, pizza
Drinks: Italian wines and local selections
Hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 3:30pm
Fabrizio’s Pizza – A preferred local hangout for great pizza and great service. Fabrizio is the man behind the wood-fired oven, serving his circular creations to those who can’t get enough of the ‘za. Fresh pasta is also available on the menu, and his Saturday oven-roasted whole chicken for take-home sells out every week.
Cuisine: Italian, pizza
Drinks: BYO or non-alcoholic available
Hours: Monday to Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 11am for lunch and dinner
Sud Lounge – An incredibly sensual space with numerous different spots to tuck yourself away to have a private rendezvous. This is a special spot for big groups to have a fun night out, with sexy lounge music and dreamy vibes. The service and the food are excellent, and the owners are great entertainers for their legion of fans and newcomers alike.
Cuisine: Mediterranean and gastro-pub
Drinks: Fine wines, cocktails and local selections
Hours: Every day except Wednesday (closed) from 4pm
Fiesta del Mar – Recently reopened with new owners, this restaurant has gone through various incarnations over the years. Most recently, they are featuring pizza and wings, as well as one of the few breakfast menus available in the region. Recent reviews have been good, and thanks to their prime location and large dining room, this is sure to be a popular destination during the high season.
Cuisine: American with a Central American twist, and breakfast
Drinks: Local selections
Hours: Open every day from 6am
Villas Gaia – The rancho style restaurant features an eclectic décor . Privacy and tropical ambience are created by colorful landscaping and tasteful music. Their menu is popular with guests and locals alike.
Cuisine: Latin flavors
Drinks: Local selections, with smoothies and juices in the day
Hours: Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner
Pancito Café – Our local breakfast spot at the entrance plaza in Ojochal, and a small bakery with cakes, croissants, and espresso coffee available to grab and go also. They open early and are a delicious alternative for light, fast fare.
Cuisine: European café with hot kitchen and counter food
Drinks: Coffees, smoothies, juices
Hours: Open Monday to Saturday from 7am-3pm
360 Boutique Hotel – Positioned just right for the daily sunset thanks to their 360 views, the bar and restaurant have yet to open but already have the local community abuzz. A wide ranging a la carte menu will feature traditional Central American classics. Paired with immaculate design and detail, 360 is sure to be a next level eating experience atop one of the highest perches on the Calle Perezoso ridge.
Cuisine: Mediterranean style, with local flavors with local ingredients
Drinks: Partnering with McCormick Distilling for a specialty line of vodkas
By Alex Swift