I wasn’t expecting such cool, hipster and not to mention vegan food options when hitting up the capital of Costa Rica on my recent travels there.
Anyone who is vegetarian or vegan can attest to the joy of finding a place on your remote (or otherwise) travels that ticks the boxes of healthy and delicious eats. So it was to my utter delight that I stumbled across, not just one but multiple vegan options while in San José.
While in Costa Rica I was participating in a sustainable and community-based tour with Sumak Travel. A beautiful way of engaging with a culture and its locals authentically with insider knowledge sharing the local’s favorite and sometimes underground places, not just those on the tourist track.
The guys Joris and Felipe of Sumak Travel took us on a special dinner at Al Mercat. Did I say dinner? I meant feast. It was amazing!
While Al Mercat is not exclusively plant-based, we did enjoy a very varied meal of only vegan offerings of gnocchi, tacos, plantains, intriguing salads and coconut banana sorbet to finish. They focus on farm to table dining with their own farm garden close to the restaurant. Inside it is light, welcoming and unassuming. I loved all the on trend plants cascading from ceilings and walls, just adding to the ‘green’ nature of the place.
Where to find it: Barrio Escalante, San José
Offering: mostly plant-based, farm to table urban dining
Pro tip: use the loo…they have a very interesting assortment of in-toilet reading material 😉
I came across luv burger by accident when pounding the pavement hunting down a yoga studio, desperate for a guided practice after 3 weeks of travel.
Luv Burger is a 100% plant based food offering in a casual dining atmosphere with an aim to being a healthy and sustainable fast food offering.
The food was wonderfully generous in portion and super fresh and delicious. Think Buddha bowls, raw rice paper rolls (with, I have to say, the best dipping sauces, so good I literally just ended up drizzling them all over my rolls), house-made kombucha and green juices, plus raw cakes, oh and of course, burgers (vegan!).
Where to find: San Pedro, Montes De Oca, San José
Offering: nourishing, tasty, fast plant-based whole food.
Pro tip: try the raw vegan cake pops. I promise it will make your day
Quite a casual pub style place, Ravi has a thorough vegan and gluten free offering. I must admit, I was again just wandering past and was drawn in by the really cool, artsy mural and illustration on the outside wall.
They focus on organic food, which they say makes up about 50% of their menu, they also have about 90% of food curated from local farmers and food artisans, including craft beers.
To me, the food seemed to have quite a strong Mediterranean influence with dishes like pizza, pasta, and Rotolini but all with local ingredients providing a fresh and plant-based twist.
Instagram location: #ravi
Where: Barrio Escalante, San José
Offering: plant-based, locally sourced ingredients, casual dining
Pro-tip: try the watermelon, lemon and rosemary juice for a refreshing drink