EXPERIENCE OJOCHAL’S GOURMET PARADISE
The tranquil village of Ojochal is home to some of the best restaurants in Costa Rica—a culinary destination for fresh, authentic fare with an international flavor.
The top restaurants are intimate, tasteful, and simply wonderful. Start with El Castillo’s own Azul Restaurant & Bar and venture out from there. In addition to the restaurants below, Ojochal boasts many traditional, open-air seafood restaurants you may want to try.
Azul Restaurant & Bar — A Mediterranean concept located in El Castillo
An “oasis in the jungle” best describes our own Azul Restaurant & Bar—an elegant setting with stunning ocean views and the most extensive fine wine selection in the area. Our on-site chef prepares dishes with the finest and freshest local ingredients.
El Castillo’s dramatic ocean views draw a variety of locals, travelers, and adventurers for casual drinks or a memorable dining experience. All are welcome, which adds to the vibrancy and intrigue of the hotel and restaurant. Hotel guests can mingle with visitors or retreat to their own expansive deck, exclusive cabana, bar, and Jacuzzi pool.
Complimentary breakfast—with Bloody Mary’s and mimosas—is prepared for El Castillo guests, and the menu changes daily. You can dine in our salon, poolside, or at our fun communal table, which is perfect for larger groups.
Daily breakfast includes banana pancakes, gallo pinto, huevos rancheros, coconut pancakes, omelets, and chiliquiles—although your breakfast can be customized to your liking. Lunch at your leisure with delicious wraps, salads, and our popular fresh catch fish tacos. Wraps and tacos are served with a salad or hand-cut French fries.
Azul transforms for your evening dining experience as you enjoy an incredible sunset. Popular starters include hummus served with our house made pita bread and calamari served with our house made tartar sauce. As a second course, our tomato basil soup or seafood soup complement meals. Entrées include souvlakis with our addictive tzatziki sauce, homemade pasta, grilled fish, and our mariscada Mediterranea, which is a fresh seafood platter, including mussels, clams, calamari, and shrimp. Many diners anticipate our entrée specials and delectable desserts.
Exotica – International fusion
Lucy and Robert’s intimate Exotica sets the dining standard in Ojochal. With a robust wine selection, the menu offers Thai, Vietnamese, French, Italian, Polynesian, and more—with a Costa Rican influence.
Starters include a Tahitian fish carpaccio with bananas and shrimp in a banana-curry sauce. French favorites include cognac liver pâté and a duck breast with orange sauce.
All desserts are homemade and luscious. Chocoholics should not miss the chocolate chiffon cake with chocolate sauce and an accompanying shot of cocoa liqueur.
Citrus – New World cuisine
As you enter Citrus, you know you are someplace special. Diners arrive early to relax in the lounge for cocktails and tasty starters.
Chef Marciano’s talents lie in culinary creationism. Drawing from her worldly roots, she creates sophisticated world cuisine including a Moroccan-style hamburger served with spicy harissa mayonnaise; sea bass in a white-wine and saffron sauce; and grilled tuna with a sauce that combines tamarindo and peppery Thai sriracha.
There’s a soupçon of French flavor too, with garlicky escargots and steak frites. Desserts are among the best in Costa Rica. We recommend the divine Choco-Choco flourless chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream.
Ylang Ylang – Indonesian
Ylang Ylang will hypnotize you with the excellent cuisine, depth of wine, and warmth of service. In an intimate setting on Hans and Caroline’s veranda, you will experience authentic Indonesian cuisine—an unexpected pleasure in the jungles of Costa Rica.
The dishes boast flavors from Sumatra, Java, and Bali. Ylang Ylang uses beef, pork, fish, and chicken, all marinated and prepared in the authentic Indonesian way. The ingredients are fresh and most come from the on-site garden.
Chalkboards showcase a changing menu, and dishes are served family style. Some items on the menu are Ajam Paniki (sweet and spicy Balinese-style pork), Ikan Ketjap (Sumatra-style red snapper filet), Nasi Goreng (fried rice with vegetables, atjar, and satay) and Kwee Dadar (a surprising dessert).
Fabrizio’s – Italian
Fabrizio’s unassumingly sits in the heart of the Ojochal village. Once you eat, you understand the restaurant’s dedication to excellent Italian food. The pizzas are renowned and all the breads and pastas are made fresh.
With a little pre-planning and good timing you can score Fabrizio’s famous ravioli. Every Friday, Fabrizio himself rolls out the dough and fulfills orders of ravioli. Midday, cars line up to purchase their share.
Although Fabrizio’s doesn’t sell alcohol, you can bring your own—and there’s a market across the street.
Boca Coronado – Costa Rican
Chef Steven elevates typical Costa Rican cuisine—each dish is delivered with flavor and flair.
Boca Coronado is located along the bank of the Terraba River. An afternoon meal involves gazing at the Terraba River and Garza Island beyond. Once night falls, diners enjoy the moonlight reflecting off the Pacific.
Chef Steven has a delicious boca menu, which include sandwiches, nachos, and burgers. The regular menu includes fresh fish prepared as you like; traditional Costa Rican rice dishes; and delicious pastas including an amazing pesto dish. But the fare you should not miss is the ceviche—it is the best in the area.
Mamma e Papa – Mediterranean Italian and Pizzeria
Mamma e Papa is located off the main road through Ojochal and features a spectacular view of the rainforest-covered mountains. The alfresco terrace enhances the sights and sounds of nature. Countless species of wildlife, particularly toucans, can be spotted in the area.
The flavorful food is the result of an immense love for Mediterranean Italian cuisine—a love that was communicated to the owners by their “Mamma and Papà,” Anna Maria and Salvatore. The menu is the result of generations of experience making Southern Italian food.
Based on flavors from Puglia and Naples, Mamma e Papa offers house made Italian pastas—such as tagliatelle, gnocchi, cannelloni, and lasagna—that follow the family’s methods and work wonderfully with the fresh ingredients found in Costa Rica.
They also have a delicious selection of fresh appetizers and local meats, poultry, freshly caught local fish, and seafood. The pizzas are designed to reflect the flavors of the earth and sea. And desserts include tiramisù, lemon cake, and sponge cake with Italian custard cream.
Villas Gaia – Contemporary Latin fusion
The rancho-style Restaurante Gaia’s eclectic décor and high-vaulted roof create a private, tropical ambiance accented by colorful landscaping and tasteful music—just before the entrance to Ojochal.
The gastronomy of Restaurante Gaia results from years of feedback from frequently returning guests requesting the renowned dishes. The contemporary cuisine, fused with Latin flavors, include Sandwich Energia Verde, Ensalada Fiesta, Lomito ed Salsa de Hongos, Thai Curry, Pescado Macadamia, and Volcado de Mango y Banana.
Pancito Café – Delicious baked goods
The perfect place for a morning coffee, Pancito Café is nestled beside a lovely river just after the entrance to the Ojochal village.
This French-owned bakery serves hearty breakfast omelets, crusty baguettes, buttery croissants, and divine pastries. Lunch includes crepes, quiches, meal-size salads, soups, pizzas, and sandwiches—and everything is available to go.
Customers can relax in this casual, thatch-roofed café. Many have their laptops open, taking advantage of the free WiFi. Get here early on Tuesday for the popular weekly plat du jour.