Emilio's Cafe Manuel Antonio Costa Rica
Costa Rica

The Best Restaurants in Manuel Antonio

Restaurants in Manuel Antonio are not hard to find, but sorting through them is the last thing you want to spend time on during your vacation. Fortunately, whether you’re traveling with a significant other or a large family like us, there are plenty of restaurant options to suit any palate or budget.

If you’re staying in an Airbnb, you’ll most likely have a kitchen where you’ll be able to cook some of your meals. The very first place to put on your list isn’t a restaurant, it’s a grocery store! Super Joseth is one of the grocery stores in the area and they even deliver if you’re not feeling like leaving your place. Keep in mind, if you purchase items brought in from the US, you will pay a premium.

Even if you do have a kitchen, you’ll definitely want to venture out to a restaurant at some point. Here are some of my favorite Manuel Antonio Restaurants plus a few more I wish we had time to visit!

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The Best Restaurants in Manuel Antonio

Emilio’s Cafe

Emilio's Cafe Manuel Antonio Costa Rica

For most of our breakfasts in Manuel Antonio, we just ate at our house. But on the day we left we decided to check out Emilio’s Cafe. The breakfast sandwiches and coffee were delicious, but the view was what made this place stand out from the rest. It was stunning!

While we only tried their breakfast, they serve lunch and dinner as well. The space isn’t very big so if you’d like a table with a view make sure you go there a little early.

Website: Emilio’s Cafe

Price Range: $ – $$

Bar Jolly Roger

Bar Jolly Roger in Manuel Antonio Costa Rica

If you’re craving wings, American bar food, and sports, Bar Jolly Roger is your spot.

This is one of the only places in Manuel Antonio you’ll be able to catch American sports. We only had a few drinks here but the atmosphere was fun and the service was great!

We sat in the bar area to watch a game, but if you’d rather see stunning views, they have those too.

Website: Bar Jolly Roger

Price Range: $ – $$

El Avion

The plane at El Avion in Manuel Antonio Costa Rica

Whether you go for a quick drink or a full meal, you must stop by El Avion at least once on your trip. The food was decent, but El Avion was more about the experience.

To walk in the restaurant you’ll have to go through a “crashed” C-123 Fairchild cargo plane which has been turned into a bar. It’s really cool to see. They also have a fantastic sunset view, so if you go make sure it’s before sunset time so you’re sure to get a good table.

The story of the cargo plane is so interesting. It was part of the Iran-Contra scandal during the Reagan administration. This particular cargo plane was abandoned at the San Jose airport and acquired by El Avion in 2000. To read more about the history of this plane and the Iran Contra scandal, check out El Avion’s website.

Website: El Avion

Price: $$ – $$$

Manuel Antonio Falafel Bar

A bit unexpected, but not to be missed is the Manuel Antonio Falafel Bar. Who knew you could get quality Mediterranean food in Costa Rica?!

Unfortunately, we didn’t get to try this place while we were there but based on the reviews it sounds like a winner. Many of the reviews mention their smoothies being some of the best in the area, so make sure you get one to go with your falafel.

Check this place out if you need a quick and inexpensive meal in Manuel Antonio!

Website: Manuel Antonio Falafel Bar

Price Range: $ – $$

El Lagarto

We spent American Thanksgiving at El Lagarto and it was delicious! Perched high above the ocean, it’s a spectacular place to catch one of Manuel Antonio’s incredible sunsets.

El Lagarto is known for their woodfired BBQ which is in the middle of the restaurant. It’s very interesting to watch and the food they make with it is so good.

Website: El Lagarto

Price Range: $$ – $$$

Manuel Antonio Deli

During our day shopping for souvenirs in Manuel Antonio, we were in need of a quick bite to eat for lunch. While most of our family went to have lackluster burritos elsewhere, my brother in law’s girlfriend and I decided we would seek out some delicious sandwiches at the Manuel Antonio Deli.

We were so happy with our decision and the sandwiches ended up being some of the most amazing food of our trip. If you want something quick and inexpensive, make sure you check them out. They are right next to a store that sells the comfiest bamboo shirts!

Tip: If you’re looking for souvenirs, I highly recommend purchasing them in Quepos. The prices for most of what we saw high up on the hill in Manuel Antonio was much higher than the same items we saw in Quepos.

Website: Manuel Antonio Deli

Price Range: $

Cafe Agua Azul

I don’t eat much seafood so I was excited when we went to Cafe Agua Azul and saw a delicious burger on their menu. It was really good! However, they have local fresh fish options if you’re looking for something more authentic.

This restaurant was very close to the house we were staying in so it was an easy option for us for dinner one night. The service was absolutely wonderful as were their drinks and food. The restaurant was not big at all so if you go at a peak time you might have to wait. Even with a group of 7, we didn’t have to wait very long though.

Since we went at night, we didn’t get to see the view but from its location, the views are sure to be amazing during the day. Whether you just go for drinks or a full meal, you’re sure to have a wonderful time!

Website: Cafe Agua Azul

Price Range: $$ – $$$

La Luna

If you’re celebrating something or just in the mood for a nice dinner out, La Luna is the perfect spot in Manuel Antonio. From the service to the food, everything at La Luna is top notch. You can expect incredible sunset views and fresh local seafood.

What I love about Manuel Antonio is how unpretentious it is, even the nice restaurants. You don’t need to dress up to dine at La Luna, a casual outfit is perfect for this setting.

La Luna is attached to the Gaia Resort. When you arrive, you will be taken to the restaurant by golf cart, a nice touch considering the steep climb from the parking lot.

Website: La Luna

Price Range: $$$ – $$$$

Barba Roja

We loved happy hour at Barba Roja. What is better than buy one get one free drinks?! Like many restaurants in Manuel Antonio, the view is stunning so if you travel during the winter when the sun sets early this is a great spot to hit up before dinner.

They do have food, however, they aren’t known for it. So I would reserve this spot as your go-to for happy hour and sunset views. They serve drinks two at a time during happy hour so make sure you go thirsty!

Website: Barba Roja

Price Range (happy hour): $


Whether you’re in search of fresh local seafood, cheap drinks, or just some good bar food, Manuel Antonio has it all. Wherever you go, just make sure you look up from your table every now and then to take in the magnificent view surrounding Manuel Antonio!

Planning a trip to Costa Rica? Don’t stop now! Check out these Costa Rica travel planning posts next:


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10 thoughts on “The Best Restaurants in Manuel Antonio”

  1. We never got to El Avion, and I’ve been torn up about it for years! I tend to not repeat countries, but Costa Rica is a must, I loved it so much! Bar Jolly Roger sounds awesome too, as I love a good “home-away-from-home” bar!

    1. Costa Rica was one of those places where I felt like I could stay forever. I loved the people and the views weren’t too bad either 😉 El Avion is one of the coolest restaurants I’ve ever been to! I hope you get back there and can check it out one day!

  2. I want to go to Costa Rica so bad and reading this post made it so much worse! It’s just such a long plane ride from where I live – ugh. Someday!

    1. That’s how I feel about Africa, Middle East, South Pacific, Asia… I could go on!! If the darn airfare wasn’t so high I would be visiting all those places and more haha! I get so jealous of Europeans too because so many countries are just a train ride away. *sigh* wanna trade homes for a while?! Haha!! 😂✈️

  3. This looks amazing and bringing out such comprehensive list for cafes and restaurant is a great help of foodies out there. I have never been to Costa Rica but definitely plan to visit someday soon, will try to make it to these cafes.

    1. I hope you make it there one day! It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been!

  4. As always, your information is well written and informative. We hired Costa Rica
    Expeditions five years ago to help us plan our trip there. The company was outstanding and our private guide and driver could not have been better. They made the trip for us and our friends.

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