During our stay, we've experienced several dining options for dinner. A full, hot breakfast is included with our room, so we've usually done a very light lunch, then we go out for dinner. The first night (Mon) we got a recommendation from the front desk clerk for a restaurant - within walking distance. Apparently, we didn't understand his directions very well, because we wandered around for a while looking for the restaurant. When we found it, it was a great little "soda" - a term that refers to a small diner or cafe. It is called Soda Tapia and reminded us of an American diner from the 60's - waiters with paper hats, a red & white themed decor, tables and booths inside, plus tables outside. They served burgers, fries, milk shakes, and banana splits, along with more traditional Costa Rican selections. The waiter was very helpful and friendly, understanding that our Spanish was extremely limited. They even had an English version of the menu. The food was very good. Our bill, for 2 entrees, 2 soft drinks, and a shared dessert: $17.
Tuesday night we walked to a restaurant called Rosti Pollo, which I believe means "roasted chicken" (I like to call it the Rusty Chicken). It is a popular chain here and it's specialty is, oddly enough, rotisserie-style chicken. The food was so-so and our bill for dinner was about $18.
Two nights we ate at the hotel's restaurant - once because it was raining and once because Tina wasn't feeling well and wasn't up to walking to a restaurant. The food is good, but as you'd expect, a little pricier. Our dinners at the hotel restaurant ran about $22 - $24.
Last night (Fri), we were in the mood for some "comfort food," so we walked to a pizza restaurant I had spotted before, during a taxi ride. It was a nice, modern restaurant and the staff was very friendly (a consistent theme). We worked through the language issues (more with their English than our Spanish) and ordered a salad to share, a pizza, a Costa Rican beer (Imperial) and a Coke. The salad turned out to be huge and very tasty (good thing we shared it) and the pizza was also good. I have to say, though, it was not as good as pizza we get on Maui. The bill came to just over $32 - more than what we had expected to pay. That's the same we pay on Maui for a similar meal.
One note on dining out. The first few times we ate at restaurants, I left a tip for the waiter, in addition to paying our bill - just like in The States. However, I learned that the restaurant checks here have a built-in tip included. It's OK to leave an additional tip, but certainly optional. No wonder the waiters seemed extra grateful... ;-)