Fed up with all the chicken, rice, and beans you've been eating in your out-country travels? Costa Rica's capital beckons you back with the country's most varied and cosmopolitan restaurant scene. Italian, Spanish, Asian, French, Middle Eastern, Peruvian—they're all here, along with upscale Costa Rican cuisine.

Wherever you eat in San José, be it a small soda or a sophisticated restaurant, dress is casual. Meals tend to be taken earlier than in other Latin American countries; few restaurants serve past 9 or 10 pm. Local cafés usually open for breakfast at 7 am and remain open until 7 or 8 in the evening. Restaurants serving international cuisine are usually open from 11 am to 9 pm. Some cafés that serve mainly San José office workers limit evening hours and close entirely on Sunday. Restaurants that do open on Sunday do a brisk business: it's the traditional family day out (and the maid's day off). Watch your things, no matter where you dine. Even at the best restaurants, thieves occasionally target purses slung over chair arms or placed under chairs.