A soda is a traditional “Mom and Pop” Costa Rican restaurant where the food is cheap and delicious. Soon after I arrived to the city in mid-February, I was on one of my explorative jaunts which always, never rarely, find me lost. But, lost is good for me. It’s how I find the unique things cities have to offer. Soda Rivera is so off-the-beaten path, that it doesn’t have a website or any mentions I could find on the internet, so I can’t even give you the address. 

I wasn’t necessarily looking for a place to eat yet. Wasn’t actually hungry. What drew me to the place was this image of this man painting. The street art documenter in me was intrigued. I was just going to get a couple of shots and move on.
I must’ve stood out like a sore thumb, because this man, I think the manager, came out to greet me and usher me inside. Look at his sweet smile. I couldn’t tell him no. 
He sat me down and then said some things to his staff, who then came over to help me and take my order. 
Some Ticos (Costa Ricans) enjoying their lunches. 
My first Chicken Casado in Costa Rica! And I was not disappointed. The plate was HUGE and it cost about $3.50 (usd) = 2100-2300 colones, if I remember correctly. A casado (Spanish, “married man”) is a Costa Rican meal using rice, black beans, plantains, salad, a tortilla, and an optional entrée that may include chicken, beef, pork, fish and so on. The term may have originated when restaurant customers asked to be treated as casados, since married men ate such meals at home. Another theory is that the rice and beans and/or the grouping of dishes are married, since they are always together. (wiki)
Close-up because…damn! Salad, Red beans, Plantains, chicken, rice, diced potatoes, onions…what a happy marriage!
It was amazing to eat in a full-on Tico establishment, with no other foreigners around. My seat was the open one you see across the counter between the man in the baseball cap and the (only other) woman. 
I happened upon it again a couple of weeks later, but I still don’t know where it is. But, you can see the sign has been finished. 
Fresh melon juice included with your meal. Ticos tend to drink juices with their meals, rather than water. 
I like to see big jugs of picante sauce. 
More sauces.


I highly recommend this place if you can find it. It’s total pura vida.

FEB/MAR2019. San Jose, Costa Rica.


  1. Now you have written about it, the place is world famous :-). That food looks good, especially the ripe plantains…

    1. LOL. It’s funny that you say that. Just about an hour ago, I was trying to figure out why my blog doesn’t come up in search engines when I type in things like “street art in san jose, costa rica…” – so, unfortunately, I don’t think Soda Rivera is getting much publicity from here. 🙂

      1. You have to give the search engines some time. They probably come along your web site only once in a while.
        Anyway, your pictures show that the shop is full, so they don’t need that publicity, they obviously have their regular customers.

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