Atenas Restaurants & Nightlife
From traditional Costa Rican dishes to tasty Italian, Atenas restaurants accommodate varying tastes and budgets:
Balcon del Cafe
A popular cafe that serves tempting lunches along with lighter fare (empanadas and quiche) and a very good cup of coffee. German owner, Melanie, also makes fresh bread, buttery pastries and delightful cakes and pies daily. Patrons can choose from a modest selection of imported cheeses and German sausages, plus sauerkraut, chutneys and other delicacies. Located in Roma Centro; closed Sundays.
Enjoy creamy, smooth gelato in this cheerful spot overlooking central park. Small cups go for $1, and a rainbow of flavors are available -- from coconut and cheesecake to Oreo.
Rancho Tipico La Trilla
Serving some of the best Costa Rican fare in town, La Trilla is an open air restaurant lit with twinkling lights in the evening. Their specialties are casados, a dish of rice, beans, salad and your choice of meat. Arrive with a huge appetite: these plates are massive and can easily serve two people.
La Trocha del Boyero
Charming rancho-style restaurant run by a husband and wife duo that features one of the tastiest Caribbean dishes (rice and beans infused with coconut milk plus stewed chicken) this side of Puerto Viejo. If you're craving a tender steak, flavorful seafood soup, or a hearty plate of garlic jumbo shrimp, La Trocha can't be beat.
Soda Las Tres Hermanas
Run by three sisters, this small eatery in the central market is packed with locals and serves great fish ceviche, casados and other Costa Rican favorites. Prices are low at $3 for most lunches. Open for breakfast and lunch everyday.
Kay’s Gringo Postres
A local haunt for Atenas expats, Kay’s offers casual American fare including great burgers, chili, biscuits with gravy and a variety of desserts. Owned by a South Dakotan couple, Kay’s also has a lending library, hosts a weekly womens' group, and is a good source of information for new Atenas residents. Check out their special Tex-Mex buffets (by reservation only) and chicken fried steak luncheons.
Soda Tio Mano
Near the park, this inexpensive soda is a popular gathering spot for locals. Fried chicken, hamburgers, sandwiches, hot dogs and other fast food are menu staples. Try some of their homemade desserts like pineapple upside down cake and sweet corn cake.
Ekalis is a good choice when you're craving fast food. Chow down on pizza, hamburgers, pastas or fried rice with chicken. Located on the west side of the Catholic church. Delivery service is available.
Alida’s offers a nice break from Costa Rican cuisine. Italian owners and chefs prepare delicious thin crust pizzas baked in a wood-fired oven, antipasti and pastas. Located on the main road (Highway 3), past the blinking traffic light.
La Fiesta de Los Pupusas
Located on the left side of the main highway to Atenas, about a half mile before the town center, La Fiesta serves El Salvadoran and Costa Rican dishes. They specialize in pupusas, a thick corn tortilla filled with cheese, beans, or meat.
Chicharronera Don Yayo
Next to the Fiesta de Los Pupusas, Don Yayo is packed with Costa Ricans traveling to and from the beach on the weekends and serves both bar food and full meals along with plenty of cold beer. For a hearty appetizer or light lunch, try their chifrijo, a combination of rice, beans, salsa and deep fried pork served with yucca and lime.
Atenas is a conservative, small town and the nightlife is almost non-existent. Those in search of discos and bars should consider nearby Escazu or Santa Ana.
Bar La Esquina Caliente
If you don't mind smoke and love to people watch, this hot little corner is about the only place in town that is always packed, no matter what the hour. A full bar serves up regulars, which include a blend of locals and expats. Located opposite the corner of central park.
Bar El Nacho
The latest addition to the small town bar scene, Nachos offers traditional Costa Rican dishes along with the usual cocktail and beer menu. Look for live music on the weekends.