Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

The Best of… FOOD

As we’re headed into our last week here in Costa Rica, it’s time for a round-up of the best ways to meet your stomach’s needs within walking distance from the campus!

The far-and-away cheapest option is one of the “sodas” on campus, which we’ve mentioned before, where you can get a complete balanced meal – rice, beans, salad, plantains, some kind of meat, and fruit juice – for approximately $2.43 USD (1215 CRC).

But let’s be honest, even the most strong-willed of us can’t last the entire semester without craving a burger or a slice of pizza. So here are the cheap, delicious options we’ve found within a block of the campus:


BEST BURGER AND FRIES: El Empanadazo  el-empanadazo

WHERE IS IT? Across the street from the north side of the campus (think behind the Ciencias Sociales building), on the eastern corner of the same block as Copy Mundo.

INFORMATION: call at 2261-8291, email at, or look them up on Facebook at

TYPE OF FOOD: Colombian and American

– quarter-pound cheeseburger: comes with lettuce, tomato, potato chips, ketchup, mustard, and mayo: – 1200 CRC/$2.40 USD
– “small” fries: diner style, always hot, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, and perfectly salted – 800 CRC/$1.60 USD
– fruit juice: served in an enormous chilled metal cup, malt-shop style, variety of flavors – 500-800 CRC/$1-1.60 USD

That’s basically a McDonald’s quarter pounder meal for $5, but it’s in a much cozier, friendlier locale and I’d like to think it’s healthier. I’m probably in denial. I know it might not be the prettiest-looking restaurant, but the food is delicious and the waiters are super friendly and take the time to get to know you, and it’s so close to campus!  el-empanadazo-burger-and-fries


BEST PIZZA: Pizzeria Mangiare  pizzeria-mangiare

WHERE IS IT? On Avenida 2, about halfway down the first block on the left hand side if you’re coming from campus.

INFORMATION: call at 2261 6161 or look them up on Facebook at:

TYPE OF FOOD: Various sizes and styles of pizza, lots of toppings, garlic bread, and soda.

Pizza Gigante: 5500 CRC/$11.00 – it sounds a little steeply priced, but this pizza is literally GIGANTIC and easily split between four or even five people. If you can’t get a group together though, you can get a slice for just 850 CRC/$1.70 USD. It comes with sausage, pepperoni, pineapple, olives, sweet chile peppers, onions, ham, mushrooms, tomato, salami, oregano, and basil. (pictured below)
Calzone Gigante: 1150 CRC/$2.30 USD – do not attempt to eat this on your own. You’ll regret it. It’s seriously a pizza folded in half, with all the same toppings as the pizza gigante. On that note, it’s the most economical order, and you’ll never be disappointed.

The pizza is really good, but it’s worth mentioning that they make them to order, so expect to wait about 20 minute to a half-hour. Bring something to do or someone to talk to, but definitely visit at least once. You will not be disappointed.  manigare-pizza


BEST SMOOTHIE: La Dosis  la dosis

WHERE IS IT? A little further south than the Burger King/Papa Johns.

INFORMATION: call at 2260 4589 or look them up on Facebook at:

TYPE OF FOOD: Smoothies made out of whatever type of tropical fruit you can imagine, can be custom made, for a small/large it costs either 1000/1300 CRC ($2/$2.60 USD) in water or 1300/1500 CRC ($2.60/$3 USD) in milk (or with yogurt or ice cream).

Kayley: Maní Mania – peanut butter, milk, yogurt, granola, banana, strawberry
Ryan: El Sabrocito – apple, strawberry, banana, milk, and vanilla ice cream or yogurt

These smoothies (called “batidos” in Tiquicia) are delicious and healthy, so you get the tastiness without the guilt. And with friendly, helpful, and incredibly patient baristas, La Dosis became our favorite Tuesday night haunt.  batidos


BEST DRINKS: El Rancho de Fofo  fofo

WHERE IS IT? On the far corner of the first block of Avenida Central away from the U. Real close to Bulevar. If you can’t find it, ask anyone. All, and I mean all, of the university students know it.

INFORMATION: call at 2237 7715 or look them up on Facebook at:

TYPE OF FOOD: Drinks and bar food (ie. Nachos, wings, etc.)

Kayley – rum & coke (they’re highly generous) or Imperial (national beer of Costa Rica)
Ryan – guaro (ask for Cacique, the national brand)

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are all ladies’ night at Fofo. That means we get in free and the first two drinks (or more, if you make a good first impression on the bouncer) are on the house for us chicas. Just like El Empanadazo, don’t judge this place by how it looks; Bulevar might look nicer, but if you want to dance and meet people, Fofo’s has the far better environment. But please, of course, DRINK RESPONSIBLY.


And on a side note, while you’re in Costa Rica, EAT THESE EVERY CHANCE YOU GET: churro-relleno


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