FOOD, DRINK and NIGHTLIFE:
A recent addition to the San Ramon restaurant scene is Musashi. So far it has been a HUGE hit, especially with the expats!! The sushi is impressively prepared and very fresh. The teriyaki options are delicious if you want your meal cooked. A recommended destination for a celebratory meal or date night. They have a nice beverage selection including sake and some imported Japanese beers. Order the Love Boat to get the romance going, a huge boat filled with sushi and vegetables (cost about $40). End the meal with one of their tasty desserts! You will feel happy after a visit to Musashi!
(Typical Costa Rican/ Cafe/ Bar)
Fory Fay is a very popular restaurant with one location in San Ramon and another in nearby Palmares. They are well known by the locals for excellent ceviche. If you’re hungry try the casado, a big plate of food with your choice of protein (fish, chicken, meat) plus rice, beans, plantanos, fries, salad and a fried egg. Our favorite dish is the shrimp with garlic sauce. A half order is about all we can handle. There is nothing like fresh shrimp perfectly cooked and steeped in garlic. The atmosphere is pleasant with colorful fabric draped from the ceiling. This is a great choice for a nice lunch or dinner. My personal favorite at Fory Fay is the “sopa de leche con mariscos”… Delicious.
(Sports Bar/Typical Costa Rican)
An inviting eatery with open-air seating, a favorite spot to watch some sports. I’ve enjoyed watching soccer, NFL football, basketball, baseball, and even some bull riding at Bocaditos. The food is great. The bocas are large, well-prepared and all come with mashed potatoes and salad. Some of our favorites are the Pescado Ajillo and Fajitas de Pollo, but everything on the menu looks good. Luis, the manager, is a friendly host and the service is on a similar level to the food. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner and serves alcohol at moderate prices. Bocaditos is 250 meters west of the hospital on a primary east-west road. I recently watched the Golden State Warriors defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals at this hot spot, and it was great to celebrate it with the locals (many of whom really enjoy basketball).
(Typical Costa Rican)
On the second floor of the Central Market, Bella Vista is another good choice for breakfast or lunch. It is a peaceful place to get away from the vibrant and hectic street life of downtown San Ramon and is popular with locals. We go there for the Gallo Pinto and eggs, but many go there for their house specialty, Olla de Carne, a soup of vegetables with a large piece of meat on the bone and a side of rice.
Mi Choza (aka Los Negritos)
(Typical Costa Rican/ Bar)
A small restaurant/bar across from the cemetery. This is a popular spot for lunch or dinner and is best enjoyed as a couple or group. The bocas are large, delicious and many are attractively served on wooden cutting boards. Among our favorites are the shrimp omelette and the cheese taco with salad and papas, yucca and plantanos fritas. The entire menu looks pretty popular with the customers. The fruit smoothies are good here and there’s a full selection of beer and liquor. Arroz con camarones is also a consistent hit here.
(Typical Costa Rican/ Country Bar)
A way cool country bar with a loyal and rowdy local clientele who come for the big, inexpensive bocas, beer, and the lively atmosphere. La Guaria is a 5-10 minute drive from the center of San Ramon on the old Palmares Road. The bar is where the crowd is and it’s rectangular shape makes for lots of good people watching. There’s another small room with tables and an outdoor dining area. If you get here too late, a parking spot is sometimes hard to find.
(Bar/ Local Restaurant)
One of the most popular restaurants in town among locals, this restaurant has expanded three times since its opening in 2007. The large bar is a great place to sit and check out the local scene. Most people come for the drinks, loud music and tasty bocas. The kitchen makes a great ceviche. All the fish and seafood are fresh and great. This place captures the gritty, boisterous, friendly spirit of San Ramon.
(Typical Costa Rican/ Buffet Style)
A popular stop on the Inter-American Highway 7 KM past San Ramon on the way to Puntarenas. This is a cafeteria-style restaurant where you can point and try a variety of local dishes, including fish, chicken, rice, plantanos, and fresh refrescos/juices. From its high elevation on the Inter-American Highway, the open-air restaurant has an ocean view. This is fast food with a Tico twist. _______________________________________________________________________________
A popular friendly downtown bar owned by Chinese ex-pats Kenneth and Karen. The beer is cheap and the music good. It attracts the local college students and has a hippie feel. This is a place mostly for drinking, seeing friends and hanging out. The regulars order the Chinese bocas and stop there. The chicken or pork fried rice and chop suey/Chinese stir-fried noodles are good, filling choices.
When you are longing for something familiar, try the pizza at Pizza Roy’s. Pizza Roy has three locations in San Ramon. We generally visit the one across from the basketball court just down (East) from the San Ramon Farmers’ Market and the University of Costa Rica. The classic cheese pizza is a mix between New York and Chicago style, with a thin yet soft crust. There are the usual and some unusual toppings available for your choosing. The pizza is prepared fresh, while you wait. Stop in or call 447-77-80 and place your order for delivery.
(Korean/ Japanese/ Sushi)
Adding good variety to the San Ramon eating options, Comida Joel is a snack counter specializing in Japanese and Korean food. This relatively new, small establishment is on the same block as Secretos and Sound Bar 80 meters West of the Parque Central. When you get a taste for something completely different, try the California roll or miso soup. The proprietor is a smiling, friendly guy and deserves your patronage for attempting a bold new offering.
COFFEE and DESSERT:
This is the first of the local coffee shops. Delicias is a few blocks East of the University and is hard to miss with its bright orange façade and corner location. The crowds enjoying their caffeine and pastries create a fun scene especially between 3:00 and 5:30PM. In a town whose social life is centered in bars, this is a good alternative.
Take a seat in the lively dining room and the staff will drop off a pencil and paper menu and you mark your selections to order. The local favorite is café con leche, a strong coffee served in a small stainless pitcher with another pitcher of steamed milk. Cappuccino and other custom coffee drinks are available. For non-coffee drinkers you can’t go wrong with the milkshakes. The delicious homemade cakes are displayed well and should be viewed before ordering. Chocolate, Carrot and Cheesecakes are among the choices. Delicias has recently expanded into serving breakfast. The omelettes look good and the breakfasts are less greasy than many of the sodas (diners) nearby. Join a group of Gringos@ Café Delicias for some coffee every Thursday @ 10am!
Aromas is another good choice for coffee and dessert. It is centrally located across from the Club Social and next to Bar Sol Naciente. It also draws a large afternoon and early evening crowd for coffee, sweets, sandwiches and socializing. The café space was formerly the site of a Middle-Eastern restaurant and has a nice low, close to the ground seating area in the front window inherited from the former establishment. The main seating area is open with brightly painted walls and nice lighting. The cappuccino is popular here. Our favorite dessert is the tres leches, a local classic. The brownies will satisfy your chocolate cravings and they’ll heat them up if you like.
In April 2008, Aroma’s opened a second cafe on the Main Street through San Ramon. This is a great addition to the San Ramon local scene and for travelers passing through on the way to Volcano Arenal and the Rain Forest.
BAKERIES / PANADERIAS:
San Ramon is filled with numerous bakeries throughout the city. Many homes in Costa Rica do not have ovens so people do not bake. As a result, bakeries are very popular and plentiful. They feature all sorts of breads, pastries as well as savory ones filled with meats, chicken, and vegetables. Below is a photo of our personal favorite:
Founded in 1926, the club is both a large building with multiple bars and an integral part of San Ramon history. For drinking, dancing and taking in a tradition of San Ramon, explore the club on a busy weekend night. Wander up to the 2nd floor, if you can, where you’ll find a lot of cool photos of San Ramon through the years.
Weekend nights there are 2 Latin dance clubs and I’ve been with crowds of a few hundred people in each room. One club attracts 30-40 somethings and the other a younger scene. There’s also Karaoke midweek. When the Costa Rica National Soccer team is playing, the club draws big crowds to drink and cheer wildly as the game is broadcast on many screens. There is periodic live music and special events so check out the schedule.
Located just west of the central park. Things get interesting in both bars after 9PM. On a busy weekend night, the street outside looks like a scene from “Fame” with beautiful local teens and twenty-somethings in serious numbers.
There are two floors that host themed nights and live music. There’s sometimes a modest cover charge to go upstairs. Indiscretos also has a limited menu of good bocas if you’re hungry.