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Soda Viquez

Soda Viquez

Destination: Arenal

Maybe it's just the sugar rush, but I fall in love with Costa Rica all over again every time I find a good Soda – and I don't mean the fizzy beverage. Sodas are a common name for the small, family owned restaurants ubiquitous to Costa Rica known for their home-style food, affordable prices and fruity drinks.

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The Viquez family runs this particular Soda, you'll find just a block from the central park. Inside, you can get creamy smoothies made with fresh fruit like the coconut and pineapple for $1.50.

Try the typical plates made by a family who eats Costa Rican every day. The Viquez family works together to cook authentic dishes like garlic butter sea bass, $8; casado $5-$6 (a choice of meat, rice, beans and veggies) and arroz con pollo (fried rice with chicken and french fries).

As with most Costa Rican dishes, each entrée comes with a choice of sides that include rice and beans (like in the casado), mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, a side salad, Russian salad (a potato salad with beets that turn it bright purple) and a number of different picadillos (steamed diced squash). At the end of each meal, the restaurant serves a small dish of arroz con leche (rice pudding) as a tasty little dessert to tantalize your taste buds.


Open-air wood patio over a red-tile roof illuminated by strings of LED lights.


Local family-run restaurant with friendly help. You may not get served right away, but it's only because the server is busy chatting with guests at the table beside you. Enjoy the Costa Rican pace of life and they'll be just as amicable with you.


Entrees $5-$10; shakes $1.50


7 a.m.-10 p.m.

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