I just wanted to post about the various restaurant opportunities that exist in the areas around the Finca. My criteria for being included here is essentially a place where I eat on a regular to semi regular basis and that I've had consistent good experiences.
If possible, I'll edit this post as I get new info or if the dining experience changes significantly.
In general, Ticos eat a late lunch (sometimes as late as 2PM) so not a lot of restaurants open before noon unless they are serving breakfast (in the list below, that's Sibu, Porque No, Fuego, and Mono Congo).
Every restaurant on this list is dog friendly.
PIEDRAS BLANCAS (about 10 minutes from the Finca)
Tons of sodas out there but really hard to find anything but casados and really bad "gringo food".
La Comida Favorita (Wifi) (not sure if that's the actual name but it's on a big sign just outside.)
This is supposed to be a "Chinese Food" restaurant and they serve a number of rice based Asian style entrees. However for me it's the fried shrimp that keeps me coming back. If you're just in the mood for a break from the rice and beans and vegan fair that we tend to find at the Finca and just a want a great plate of fried food, this is a wonderful and close alternative.
PALMAR NORTE (about 30 minutes away from the Finca)
Well stocked pharmacy here along with gringo style grocery store.
This is part of a hotel in Palmar Norte. Right now they have a very reduced menu of Costa Rica style "gringo" food, and it's frankly not that great. But it's a decent place to go and use internet and enjoy one of their ice cream dishes or a smoothie. They are supposed to reopen their full menu and dining room in December. If that happens then I can highly recommend their casados. Also there's a busy ATM right across the street and the people are really nice.
GOLFITO (about 45 minutes to an hour from the Finca)
Only reason to go here is to pick someone up from the airport or if you need to do some bargain shopping for appliances or liquor at the Deposito. Huge port with nothing really to do but gamble (they do have a Casino).
Mar y Luna
We usually get a big sloppy plate of seafood here that's fresh and messy. Ceviche is great too…but it's hard to find bad ceviche in Costa Rica. Overlooks the murky water of the crocodile infested gulf.
OJOCHAL (about 45 minutes to an hour from the Finca)
I am really looking for recommendations from here. It's supposed to be a big "foodie" scene but I've never actually eaten there yet. Please let me know if you have and what you would recommend (I'll add it to the list)
UVITA (about an hour to an hour and a half from the Finca)
The southernmost ex-pat'ed city on the pacific side imho so the options open way up as you drive north from here. This is also where the "nice" beaches begin. And you can find more gringo style shopping options. Almost all the locals speak some English.
The first nice restaurant you get to heading north on Costanera from the Finca. Mainly sushi (which is excellent) but also great smoothies. I also prefer their miso over Mosaic's. Opens at Noon.
This is a Finca Favorite and a place we all like to go. Lots of Finca birthdays get spent here and we know the owners. The atmosphere is really nice and boho. They're known for Sushi (which is really good) but they also make great panini's and have some really nice and unique appetizers. They have Kombucha on tap and make some great mixed drinks (I love their "Mora Mule"). I think they have a pretty extensive wine list as well (I don't drink wine).
I'm from Texas, so I passed by this place scoffing for about a year and a half before I finally went in because I was suffering from red meat withdrawal. They actually do a wonderful job on barbecuing brisket, sausage, pulled pork, and chicken. They also offer some great fried sides, like french fries and onion rings (both are obviously made at the restaurant). Their traditional BBQ sides leave a bit to be desired however (baked beans, potato salad, and cole slaw). But being from BBQ Country, I tend to be a little picky on that stuff. But would absolutely recommend their meat dishes all day and night. Oh and they have a very decent hamburger as well (maybe the best in Uvita…but I haven't tried Five Maes yet).
These guys advertise a Mediterranean Blue Zone Menu. We've eaten here a few times and had great experiences every time.
Porque No (Wifi)
Awesome sunset view. If high tide and sunset are coinciding then you'll get some very dramatic photo ops as the ocean crashes against these huge rocks with the sun setting behind them. Be sure to make reservations though (which I've actually done using Facebook messenger). Food is decent but you don't go here for the food. They also have great smoothies and alcoholic drinks.
Another great place to go for a sunset view. It's actually on an isthmus (or a small peninsula) so you somehow have ocean on both sides of you. Food is decent and the menu is typical gringo entrees.
First stop for most gringos. Sibu caters mostly to the tourists and expats and is easy to find on the Costanera in the heart of Uvita. Everything here is pretty good…nothing is excellent. Great smoothies, deserts, ice cream dishes and I actually had a decent steak here once which is just rare in Costa Rica, in general. Right next door is a Gelato shop (which Sibu also runs) that has excellent Gelato and is a volunteer favorite stop.
Pizza Time/Uvita Pita (Wifi)
Absolutely excellent pizza (even by US standards). Another Finca favorite (and the 2nd "nice" restaurant you find heading north out of Palmar). They also have great calzones, bakery items (at Pita), greek salads and local beer. I almost always take the volunteers here at least once during their stay and I highly recommend it to anyone.
DOMINICAL STRIP (about an hour and a half to two hours from the Finca)
Yoga meets surfing. Highly gringo-ized and thick with expats. Plenty of English speakers.
Essentially "fast food" Asian style. It hits the spot when I'm craving Chinese food. I had some phenomenal crab rangoons here (with real crab). They open at 2pm (that might be a temporary Covid thing though).
Mono Congo (Wifi)
Great little café marking the entrance to the Dominical strip. Very popular and you can count on lines during the busy tourist times. The food is consistently tasty, healthy, and fresh. Also have great coffee and tea drinks.
Fuego Brewery (and coffee shop apparently) (Wifi)
Really nice atmosphere. The Restaurant itself is very professional looking and probably the only restaurant on this list that isn't a typical outdoor central American tiki style restaurant. They do brew their own beers here. Food is decent but a little too healthy for my tastes. Also have weekly live music and event nights (like trivia).
Tortilla Flats (Wifi)
Our favorite bar right on the beach in Dominical. Decent bar food (onion rings, calamari, french fries, etc) but where they shine is their Basil Margarita…which imho is the greatest margarita in the world. They will also make your drinks "to go" if you'd like to sip your margarita on the beach.
PASO CANOAS/PANAMA BORDER (about an hour or hour and a half from the Finca)
Another place that I have yet to find anything good to eat at. Rife with sodas, cafeteria style sodas, and American fast food restaurants. Even the franchises don't seem to make the food right but you'll find them there: McDonalds, Subway, and Burger King. I rarely eat at PC but if anyone else had different experiences here then please share.
If anyone has their own recommendations please post them under my post and if I can edit the post, I'll add your recommendations to the list so eventually we can build a comprehensive guide. Thanks all and happy eating.