TAMARINDO COMMUNITY TALK Gluten Free Tamarindo
Below are my 9 favourite places to eat in Tamarindo that offer gluten-free options. Depending on how strict you are, or how sensitive you are, your milage may vary at these restaurants. As always, it’s best to ask questions so you can be sure what you are ordering is safe for you.
Santa Rita Cafe
The Santa Rita Cafe is a fantastic spot for a gluten-free lunch. They offer sandwiches on Udi’s gluten-free bread and they are amazing. I’ve had the vegetable sandwich and the chicken sandwich so far and have not been disappointed. This is also one of the safest places in Tamarindo to eat gluten-free. The owner is highly knowledgeable of gluten-free food safety and is very careful to avoid any chance of cross contamination. If you follow a gluten free diet, this restaurant is a must visit. Santa Rita Cafe is located in the Sunrise Commercial Centre, close to Mato’s Surf Shop and right beside Monkey N’ Croc.
The Surf Shack is one of the best places for a burger in Tamarindo, the peanut butter and bacon burger is especially fantastic. They don’t have any specific gluten-free options but you can order any burger without a bun. If you bring in your own gluten-free buns (Udi’s buns are available at the Auto Mercado, just outside of Tamarindo) they will also prepare an burger for you, complete with toasted bun. The Surf Shack is located in the rotunda, close to Nougi’s restaurant.
Bamboo Sushi Club
If you are looking for great sushi in Tamarindo, Bamboo Sushi Club is the place to go. They don’t have a gluten-free menu and the staff are not super knowledgeable about gluten-free items, but they do offer Kikkoman gluten-free soy sauce, you just have to ask for it. Just be careful when ordering as there are a few items that contain tempura even though it’s not mentioned on the menu - it’s best to ask just to be safe. Bamboo Sushi Club is located on Calle Central, right across the street from Roca Bruja surf shop.
Seasons by Shlomy
Seasons is one of the few restaurants in the Tamarindo area with gluten-free items highlighted on their menu. There are quite a few options to choose from too, it’s not just restricted to a few salads. They even bring you a basket of gluten-free crackers instead of the bread that other diners get. Seasons is highly recommended if you’re looking for a fantastic gluten-free meal in Tamarindo. Just be prepared, they only accept cash! Seasons by Shlomy is located poolside at Hotel Arco Iris.
Cala Luna Boutique Hotel
Cala Moresca Restaurant, located at the Cala Luna Boutique Hotel, is another restaurant in the Tamarindo area with gluten-free items highlighted on their menu. There is a pretty good selection and the staff are reasonably well aware of gluten-free needs. If you are visiting for the fabulous breakfast buffet you can even get gluten-free pancakes and corn tortillas instead of bread. They also don’t line their bacon serving dish with bread to soak up all the grease (a nice change from a lot of buffets I have visited). Cala Luna Boutique Hotel is on the road to Playa Langosta, past Hotel Capitan Suizo.
Wok N Roll
Wok N Roll is the only restaurant I know of in Tamarindo that offers an actual gluten-free menu. It lists every item on the menu that can be prepared gluten-free and the options are quite extensive. The one oddity is that sushi is served with balsamic vinegar instead of gluten-free soy sauce so I would bring your own if you plan on ordering the sushi (balsamic vinegar just sounds wrong to me and I’ve never tried it). Just be careful as all of the food is asian inspired so there is a lot of possibility for cross contamination, especially if the same woks are used for non-gluten-free - as always, ask if you are unsure. Wok N Roll is located on Av Central, one door down from Sharky’s Sports Bar.
This was the first restaurant I found in the Tamarindo area that serves gluten-free pizza. In fact, they can do almost anything on the menu gluten-free, including pasta and focaccia sandwiches. They need a 4-5 hours notice to prepare your meal so call ahead at +506-8566-6596. The owner speaks pretty good English and understands gluten-free, just make sure that if you are speaking with the staff that they fully understand that you are wanting to order a gluten-free pizza (or other meal) – it’s not a common order so it might get miscommunicated. Antioch Sapori is located in the Garden Plaza, across from the Auto Mercado.
La Princesa Cafe
If you’re looking for a great cup of coffee and a sweet treat, La Princesa Cafe is the place to go. They don’t have an extensive gluten-free menu but the few things they do offer are fantastic. My three favourites are the choco-coco balls, the chia & oat jar and the quinoa salad. The first two items contain oats so they won’t be safe for everyone who is gluten sensitive but they are absolutely amazing. They can also make gluten-free cheesecake on request (it’s just the filling minus the crust) but it’s also great. La Princesa Cafe is located in the back of Tamarindo’s Food Court, across the road from Plaza Conchal.
Coffee & Waffles
The last thing I expected to find in Tamarindo was a restaurant offering gluten-free waffles so I was pleasantly surprised to find this place on a walk to the rotunda. They offer quite a few different flavours of waffles, from the classic waffle and a side of maple syrup, to a waffle topped with Nutella and peanut butter. The service was fast and friendly and our table had an amazing view of the waves breaking on Tamarindo beach. Coffee & Waffles is located across from Girl Fish and Buon Apetito on Calle Central.
The Crazy Cookie Lady
If you’re looking for some crazy delicious gluten-free desserts, stop by the Tamarindo Feria on Saturday mornings and visit The Crazy Cookie Lady. The market is located in the field behind Chun’s Chinese Restaurant, very close to El Pescador and runs from 8 AM to 1 PM every Saturday. She carries a wide selection of baked goods, including cookies, cupcakes and sweet breads. She also makes gluten-free sandwich bread and cakes for any occasion - we also ordered a birthday cake from her a few months and it was flat out amazing.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of every single gluten free option in the Tamarindo area. There are plenty of other restaurants that can accommodate a gluten free diet, you just have to ask questions to ensure that what you’re ordering is safe. A few of my new favourites are Sprout, Patagonia Argentinian Grill & Restaurant and La Bodega - all offer meals that can be prepared gluten free.
Written by Jeff Fraser - Gluten Free Tamarindo
Gluten Free Tamarindo offers reviews of restaurants, bars and grocery stores that are gluten friendly in Tamarindo, as well as gluten free product reviews and even a downloadable restaurant card.