In Costa Rica, a “soda” is not a Sprite or Coke, but a family-run small restaurant where you will find some of the country’s most delicious foods at the best prices. If you’re on a tight budget, like we are, the sodas are great places to get a complete meal and not wipe out your bank account. We like sodas for a variety of reasons, including that they’re located everywhere in Costa Rica and in most cases serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Sodas are usually family-owned and operated. If you visit a soda for breakfast, you must try gallo pinto, a dish made of rice and beans and served with your choice of eggs, cheese, beef in sauce, or chicken. The typical Costa Rican meal is called a “casado,” which consists of a choice of meat, like pork, chicken, beef, or fish, cooked to order and served with rice, beans, fried plantains, and a salad, depending on where you are in the country, as well as a drink.
If you ask us where our favorite soda is located, well I really couldn’t tell you because we eat at several different ones depending upon where we are at the time hunger creeps in. But where we do eat, the prices usually range from 2500 to 3500 Colones, or $4.25 to $6.00 USD per meal.
Sodas are generally open from 7 am to 9 pm, but because of COVID-19, those times may vary considerably. You will find that sodas are very welcoming and hospitable. They are also a great place to practice your Spanish.
I want: Quiero
One beer please: Una cerveza por favor
Coffee with milk: Café con leche
Beef: Carne de vaca
Glass of water: Un vaso con agua