SODA in Costa Rica: Local Restaurant and Local Cuisine


local restaurant costa rica soda

One of the best things to do in a new country is to visit local restaurants, that way you can enjoy delicious local food, taste their culture and immerse a bit more. Today we’re going to be talking about soda in Costa Rica.

If you are going to travel to Costa Rica, you will want to eat the food people usually eat there, that’s normal! You can go to expensive restaurants, but to truly have a cultural and nice trip, you should eat at a local restaurant in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica Soda Traditional Restaurant

What is a Soda in Costa Rica?

A local restaurant in Costa Rica is called “Soda”. That’s where the locals eat on a daily basis. You can have a drink and have a complete breakfast full of the most delicious Costa Rican local food. A Soda in Costa Rica is the way to go!

Eating local food is without a doubt the best experience of traveling. Costa Rica is no different.  Where to find Costa Rica Traditional Food? A SODA of course!

Yes, it is a SODA in Costa Rica. So when you hear the word, soda, that is the local restaurant in Costa Rica. This is like their typical place, and they are everywhere. This is one of the coolest things about Costa Rica. Why is that? First, it’s the local restaurant, and they serve homemade, fresh, delicious food.

costa rica soda sign

Dishes at a Costa Rica Soda

The main, most local type of food in a Soda is called a casada. Interestingly enough, casada means married one. At one point, it was what the wives used to serve their husbands. When they used to come home for lunch during their work day. That’s where the name originated from. Casada is a very thorough meal. It’s got pretty much everything you need, usually, it’s rice. It’s some sort of protein. They have meat. They have a fish. They have an egg, and even for vegans, they are now serving some for vegans.

Then there’s a salad. There could also be a little bit of soup. It definitely has either bread or tortilla. Tortillas are not as big in Costa Rica, but you could certainly find one. You’ll also get a dessert and a fresh drink, it’s a refresco, a drink is a refresco. Something like a lemonade. It could be some sort of juice.

The rice and beans are actually a Caribbean dish because it’s made with coconut oil and coconut milk. That could be a little bit of a difference. When you are on the Caribbean side and honestly guys, it’s delicious.

casada dish at a soda in costa rica


Every place is different, and some places will even give you coffee and tea. So it is really the whole meal, and I am not even kidding. The whole meal will cost you less than $10, and it is huge. So if you’re eating in the morning, they also have breakfast specials. But the casada which is served for lunch and dinner is really your best bet. It is the tastiest thing that they offer.

Where Can You Find a Soda in Costa Rica?

You could find a SODA all over the country and when you were traveling to the Caribbean side, they have an extra special thing they have called rice and beans which is usually included.

If you are in San Jose, Costa Rica my personal recommendation is Soda Tapia, it’s really close to La Sabana Park but if you’re at any other place in Costa Rica I’m pretty sure you can find a soda there.

Soda Tapia, a local restaurant in San Jose – This soda started as a small 8-table family restaurant in 1965. Now more than 50 years later it is a small chain of four restaurants in the Central Valley Region of Costa Rica, and it is still managed by the sons and grandsons of the couple that started it.

Soda Tapia specializes in traditional Costa Rican dishes making it a great option if you want to get to know this country’s fascinating gastronomy.

Price: $5 – $10
Food Quality: Good
Decor: Cafeteria-like
Service: Average
Cuisine Type: Traditional Costa Rica
Address: C. 42, San Francisco, San José, Costa Rica
Phone: 2222 – 6734

a table with dishes at costa rican soda


So this is one of those things that you have to try even if you are a foodie and want to try all the different restaurants. But remember this, true foodies try the local dishes and the local eateries and this is it. If you guys have any more questions about Costa Rica and the eateries and anything else please let me know. I lived there for over 7 years.  I pretty much know a lot about Costa Rica and I’m happy to help.

typical dish at a local soda in cosata rica

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Last Updated on September 29, 2023

3 thoughts on “SODA in Costa Rica: Local Restaurant and Local Cuisine

  1. This pics look good!! When I was in Costa Rica last year, I had some incredible Casados from street vendors that were SO cheap!

    Cheers and Happy travels 🙂


    1. wow you had street vendor food, I never tried that. We mainly ate in the little restaurants.

  2. Never been to Costa Rica, I heard lots of good stuff there, hopefully I can visit the country one day and try that Chicken Casada, Looks really delicious… 🙂

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