San José has a variety of restaurants serving cuisines from all over the world. You can find superb French, Italian, and contemporary fusion restaurants around the city, as well as Peruvian, Japanese, Swiss, and Spanish spots. The greatest concentration and variety of restaurants is in the downtown area, as well as in the nearby suburbs of Escazú and Santa Ana. If you’re looking for cheap eats, you’ll find them all across the city in little restaurants known as sodas, which are the equivalent of diners in the United States.
Fruit vendors stake out spots on almost every street corner in downtown San José. If you’re in town between April and June, you can sample more varieties of mangoes than you ever knew existed. Be sure to try a green mango with salt and chili peppers—it’s guaranteed to wake up your taste buds. Another common street food is pejibaye, a bright orange palm nut about the size of a plum. They’re boiled in big pots on carts; you eat them in much the same way you eat an avocado, and they taste a bit like squash.
San José has a few 24-hour restaurants for real late-night partiers. In addition to Restaurante Nuestra Tierra, your best bet is Del Mar ((tel) 2257-7800; Avenida 1 and Calle 9), with stained-glass windows and efficient service; it belongs to and is across from the infamous Hotel Del Rey and its very active sex worker scene. There’s also a 24-hour Denny’s ((tel) 2520-2500; www.dennyscostarica.com), at the Best Western Irazú, on the highway out to the airport, and another is beside the Hampton Inn at the airport.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.