If you are ready for a culinary adventure, look no further than La Cascada, a traditional eatery right in La Fortuna's main park. This traditional Costa Rican restaurant is known for its seafood and grilled meats.
The minute you step into this restaurant, you won't be able to resist the urge to look up. Your eyes will be naturally drawn to the high ceiling that goes up to a peak and is surrounded by hand-hewn wooden beams. The main room has a massive wooden post at its center with wooden support beams surrounding it, which makes the entire thing look like a huge cocktail umbrella! It should come as no surprise that La Cascada is perfect for Happy Hour cocktails or a late-night drink. The bar area may seem small, but it draws a crowd.
Breakfast is a very popular affair at La Cascada. Known for its large portions and good prices, this eatery is famous for morning meals that provide visitors the fuel they need before they head off to their adventure at Arenal Volcano.
At breakfast time, it's hard to miss the scent of Costa Rican coffee lingering in the morning air. The food is a traditional affair, with Costa Rican staples of tortillas, plantains, gallo pinto, eggs and fresh fruit. For those feeling a bit homesick or just yearning for an old favorite, there are some American-style dishes, too.
If you're worried about fitting breakfast in during your busy day, don't be! La Cascada starts serving at 6:00 in the morning. If you prefer to sleep in a bit on your vacation, they have you covered there, too, as it's been reported you can still order breakfast foods even after the breakfast hours end.
If you're a meat lover, be sure to check out the steak or chicken fajitas. You can even have meat cuts set ablaze tableside for the flambé-style experience. Grilled meats are a specialty of this eatery, which offers strip steaks, filet mignon, barbecue ribs and butterfly cuts. If you're a vegetarian, you're still covered; you can sample the veggie burger and some savory fries.
For seafood lovers, there's plenty to try here. Go with the yellowfin ceviche and its tomato and avocado topping or try the corvina fish. There's also the "Catch of the Day," such as a filet of sea bass, which comes with plantains, rice, beans and a salad. If you are not sure what to try, opt for the mixed grill. Served with a baked potato, this jumbo mixer has steak, chicken and shrimp kebabs.
Last but certainly not least is the homemade soups. From chicken soup to mixed seafood soups, there are plenty of choices.
Happy hour happens every day. There's the piña colada, of course, but don't forget to order the local staple known as the pisco sour. While this drink may come from Peru, it's been adopted by locals in Costa Rica far and wide. There's also the guaro sour, which is made with cacique guaro. This sugar cane liquor is the stuff of legends in Costa Rica and not something you want to miss out on. There's also a wide variety of international and local beers, a myriad of fine wines and just about every tropical drink you've ever heard of.
When you're in the mood for affordable, delicious local fare, head over to La Cascada.
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Costa Ricans are not strangers to the generous tippers from the United States, and in fact many depend upon it. Service industry workers such as drivers and guides are accustomed to receiving what their equals might receive in the US.
However, one notable exception is the Costa Rican restaurant. It in not uncommon to be automatically charged 10% for service and 13% for taxes at many restaurants in Costa Rica. Though some unknowingly tip 15% - 20% on top of this inflated amount, adding 10% for excellent service can be seen as both a gesture of generosity and understanding.