What is A Soda?
If you are looking for an authentic Costa Rican meal be sure to check out a local soda in Jaco. Sodas are local restaurants where a typical dish costs around $4-$6 and includes a choice of meat (beef, chicken, pork or fish in a variety of preparations), beans, rice, salad, vegetables, fried plantains and a drink. Many sodas are served cafeteria style, but all off similar food. Most are also open for breakfast where you can get the popular Gallo Pinto, a mix of rice & beans, eggs, toast, and fruit for $3-4. Jaco has sodas all over town, most are similar but here are a couple of the most popular sodas in Jaco Beach.
If you ask for a soda in Costa Rica, you won't get a Coke. Instead, you'll be directed to the nearest family-run restaurant, similar to a small North American diner. Sodas are a great place to find home cooking, usually the stick-to-your-ribs variety – think rice and beans, mashed potatoes, fried empanadas and stewed chicken.
Large sodas may have written menus, but most display the day's offerings buffet-style. You can order a la carte, and pay by weight, or ask for a typical casado, the country's ubiquitous lunch special. A casado costs around $4-$6 and includes meat (your choice of beef, chicken, pork or fish in a variety of preparations), white rice, beans, salad, a vegetable side dish, and usually fried plantains. Vegetarians can ask for eggs or fresh cheese instead of meat. The plate of the day, known as the plato del dia, is an even less expensive option, and for $2-$5, you'll get a filling meal of meat, rice, beans and salad. Jaco has a number of sodas, one of the most popular is Rustico's.
If you're itching to try authentic Costa Rican cuisine, eat at a soda. You'll be welcomed with a smile and treated like family, and your patronage will benefit the local community. Rock-bottom prices and large portions are just icing on the cake!