A Guide to Local Restaurants in Heredia

There are so many options for grabbing a bite in Heredia. Here you’ll find a quick and easy guide to some of the best eats in town.
By Ben Espinola

By Ben Espinola

Ben is a traveling educator, writer, and musician originally from Greensboro, NC. He has done a wide variety of teaching, youth work, freelance writing and tourism temp jobs across numerous countries on four continents. He can usually be found struggling to learn a new skill or down at a nearby watering hole sharing a drink with local characters.

There are so many options for grabbing a bite in Heredia, that it can be a little hard to know what to expect when you try out something new. Here you’ll find a quick and easy guide to some of the best eats in town.

Local Costa Rican “Sodas”

Sodas are traditional Costa Rican eateries that serve up affordable and filling plates called casados, traditional lunches. Other types of restaurants offer casados, they are sort of like a daily special. You choose your meat: chicken, fish, beef or pork, and it will be served with a mountain of rice, beans, plantains and some kind of salad. They usually include a drink, usually a fresh juice. You can often get other typical Latin American foods like empanadas.

Our favorite Sodas are in the Central Market of Heredia. There are various competing sodas throughout the market serving up cheap, nutritious food in a bustling, authentic market atmosphere. It’s a great spot to fill up and watch the world go by.

Cantinas

Cantinas are primarily bars that also serve food. Usually on the menu is typical bar food like burgers, fries, sandwiches and tacos. They will usually have a variety of beers, usually only bottles, though sometimes a tap as well, and a sizable food menu of salty, greasy goodness. They can make a great spot to chill after a long day, drink a little and eat snacks or a quick meal.

El Botecito

This spot is a neighborhood hangout where many local people come to watch soccer, unwind and have a good time. Once upon a time the bar itself was an old boat, hence the name, although the boat is gone, it maintains a sort of maritime charm, through its decor. Well maintained and with a super friendly staff, the joint has a super laid back vibe and is a great place to grab a drink and mix with local neighborhood characters. The food is great too, we recommend the fish tacos (los tacos de tilapia).

La Cantina Ten Eleven

This bar has a bit of beach vibe mixed with a sports bar. It’s open air, with a sand floor in the front of the house, and an astroturf floor in the back giving it a sort of athletic ambiance. There’s ample seating throughout, beach chairs, booths and tables, giving you a great choice of places to chill and chat with new friends. They’ve got pizzas, burgers, tacos, and a great selection of different fries, smothered in cheese or other toppings.

Other Local Restaurants
La Fortina

This unique restaurant is open air, and built with simple materials including shipping containers. In reality it’s a market of sorts with multiple different restaurant counters sharing the space. It’s been nicely dressed up and decorated and has great ambiance both on the ground level and on the second floor. There’s several different dining areas and its very spacious and fresh. There are several bars where you can order food and drink and Thursday nights they have live music. The food is great too: sandwiches, pizzas, burgers and mexican food are all tasty and reasonably priced.

La Maquina de Sueños

Located just footsteps away from Tico Lingo, this cutesy little restaurant offers diners a super friendly staff and surprisingly diverse menu. The owner and head chef Gaby takes a lot of pride in her dishes and can be found always wearing a smile. We recommend the “plato del día” as it’s typically always a delight. Likewise, the paninis and fried yuca are always a hit.

La Galería Slow Food

Situated in an old Costa Rican colonial home, La Galería boasts an absolutely beautiful interior mixing the old world with the new. Diners can expect high quality dishes from pastas and salads, to paninis and ceviches and are offered very kind and personal service.

Tacotitlan

This is a Mexican restaurant just around the corner from the University. They offer authentic Mexican food like tacos and tortas. There’s a few seating areas, but we recommend sitting in the courtyard in the back featuring a fountain and old school colonial architecture.

Holy Wings

This is the best spot in town for wings. With little on the menu other than wings, fries and a chicken sandwich, they basically do one thing, and they do it well. Served up in a sort of cone, a bit of mess, and a tasty meal are guaranteed.

Estadero Bistro Cafe

If you’re looking for a cute little cafe to have a cup of coffee, slice of cake or a tasty sandwich this is the perfect spot. With both indoor and outdoor seating, the ambiance here is charming and quaint. The food is a sort of French Bistro style and is both affordable and delicious. The desserts are superb as well.

American Chains

There are many familiar American chain restaurants scattered throughout the country and many in Heredia. It would be strange advice if I told you to go to McDonald’s or Subway when in a foreign country, but it’s there if you want it. American style fast food is a mid-price option in Costa Rica and you can expect to pay what you would pay in the US or Europe, sometimes more. However, in general the quality of the ingredients and the cleanliness/general niceness of the restaurant is a little higher. There’s also some variety on the menu and you can try items specifically catered to local tastes that you can’t get back home.

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