This Vegan Comfort Food in San José, Costa Rica is Worth Traveling For

You need to eat at these 3 decadent restaurants, or at least drool over the photos.

Darcy Reeder

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Child opens her mouth in awe about the delicious-looking vegan brunch at Gia’s Vegan Pastries in San José, Costa Rica. Light-up sign reads “VEGAN PASTRY SHOP.”
My kid was like, “WHOA” about the vegan brunch at Gia Vegan Pastries in San José, Costa Rica (photo by author)

When you think of vegan food in Costa Rica, you probably think of rice and beans and fresh tropical fruit. And you’re right; that’s all there (and it’s yummy for sure). But traveling to Costa Rica earlier this year, we also found innovative, decadent vegan restaurants in capital city San José that rival some of the best restaurants we’ve ever been to.

The three San José restaurants I want to share with you are Gia Vegan Pastries, Huaca Mole Sodita, and Errante Pan Y Pizza.

What’s more, these three San José vegan restaurants are all within walking distance of each other! So, if you love dining at delicious vegan restaurants as much as my family does, book a stay in between these restaurants (east of the city center), and you’re good to go.

Map showing three vegan restaurants in San José, Costa Rica, via vegetarian restaurant app Happy Cow
Map screenshot from Happy Cow (happycow.net) of my three favorite vegan restaurants in San José, Costa Rica

As soon as my kid was able to get vaccinated, we bought plane tickets to Costa Rica. We’ve been very Covid-cautious the entire pandemic, so traveling to another country in early 2022 was a huge leap for our family, but our internet research convinced us that Ticos (Costa Ricans) are mostly Covid-cautious too, and that thankfully turned out to be the case. There’s a high vaccination rate there, and we felt hugely respected by how almost everyone we came into contact with was masking, even when just walking on city streets.

When we fantasized about traveling to Costa Rica, it was the warm weather and wildlife (monkeys and parrots and sloths, oh my!) that filled our dreams, not necessarily the vegan restaurants. But we were pleasantly surprised to find that San José, rather than just being a necessary stopover before making it to the coasts, was a vegan food paradise.

To be clear, we were eating well the entire month of our trip, not just in San José. Costa Rica is full of sodas, or local restaurants, that all offer casados, or plates of rice, beans, salad, plantains, and usually some sort of animal product. Ordering casado vegano, we were able…

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Darcy Reeder

Empathy for the win! Published in Gen, Human Parts, Heated, Tenderly —Feminism, Sexuality, Veganism, Anti-Racism, Parenting. She/They