Cafe`s & Restaurants at the Arenal Volcano
Cafe Arabigo, La Fortuna
Arabigos Café – Artisan Coffee Shop. The obsession of tourists for local Cafes shows signs of continuing to increase. Through the corners of La Fortuna, among shops, restaurants and handicrafts open new Cafes with enough arguments to convince us of its quality. One of them is Arabigo`s Café located just one block west of La Fortuna Park. These baristas really know how to make a good coffee either infusion or the traditional Moka Latte, Capuccino, Irish and some other local variety. They use coffee beans selected from the best coffee farms in Costa Rica and if you add their funny service to attend you will be convinced that it is the best “Café en la Fortuna”
- El Novillo - This place is the definition of "nothing fancy." In fact, it's just some lawn furniture (tables and chairs) set on a concrete slab underneath a high, open zinc roof. Still, it has garnered a well-deserved reputation as the best steakhouse in the area. The steaks are big and tender and well prepared. The chicken and fish dishes are huge as well and also nicely done. Meals come with garlic bread, fries, and some slaw. If you want a real local treat, order some fried yuca as a side. If the night is clear, you can get a good view of any volcanic activity from the parking lot here.
El Vagabundo – Italian/Pizza. Good, thin-crust pizzas backed in a wood-fired oven. A good selection of pasta dishes and a few more substantial main course options as well.
- Las Brasitas – This little restaurant offers a change of pace from the ubiquitous pizza joints, steak houses and sodas. The simple burritos and tacos are nothing to write home about, but they are tasty and acceptably done.
Nenes – Walking distance from central park, this hidden gem is a favorite among locals. Nene's dishes up traditional Costa Rican fare along with international favorites. Great selection of pasta, seafood and salads as well.
- Lava Lounge - This downtown La Fortuna open-air restaurant combines a very simple setting with a sleek and somewhat eclectic menu. Healthy and hearty sandwiches, wraps, and salads are the main offerings here. You can get a traditional burger or one made with fresh grilled tuna. For more substantial fare, there's traditional Costa Rican Arroz con Pollo, and a Casado, built around a thick pork chop. You can also get several different pasta dishes, and every evening there are dinner specials, which may include some coconut-battered shrimp with a mango salsa, or a prime sirloin steak in a green pepper or red-wine sauce. The decor consists of a series of rustic wooden tables with mostly bench seats. Also, Scott, the owner, has a Dog Rescue Center not far from his food place so if you want to spend some time with adorable dogs, this is the place.
Restaurant Mystica - This Arenal restaurant is set high on a hill overlooking Arenal Lake. A large open fireplace turns out pizzas. The pastas and delicious main dishes are authentically northern Italian. Whenever possible, Mystica uses fresh ingredients from its own garden.
- Don Rufino - Set on a busy corner in the heart of town, this restaurant is easily the best -- and the busiest -- option right in town. The front wall and bar area open on to the street and are often filled both with local tour guides and tourists. Try the pollo al estilo de la abuela (Grandma's chicken), which is baked and served wrapped in banana leaves, or one of the excellent cuts of meat. It's a good choice for breakfast, and the bar stays open most nights until 2am.
Willy's Caballo Negro Restaurant - The German owners of this attractive little roadside cafe serve up three different types of schnitzel, both chicken and veal cordon bleu, and a host of other old-world meat dishes.