The Restaurante Colbert (tel. 506/2482-1791 or 2482-2776, www.colbert.co.cr , 7 a.m.–9 p.m. daily), at Vara Blanca, is a French-run bakery and café with an airy, well-lit hillside restaurant with magnificent views. It offers set breakfasts, plus croissants, crepes Suzette, sandwiches, and French-Tico fusion cuisine such as tilapia in tomato sauce ($7).
La Paz Waterfall Gardens  has a magnificent buffet restaurant (tel. 506/2482-2720, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. daily, $10), and Rainbow Valley Cabins & Restaurant (tel. 506/2482-1053, www.rainbowvalleytrails.com , 7 a.m.–9:30 p.m. daily) serves buffet meals, plus breakfasts such as Belgian crepes and granola, around a huge fireplace. Penny-pinchers can take advantage of a $3 lunch.
A suitably Bavarian ambience pervades the German-run Casa Bavaria (tel. 506/2483-0716, www.casabavaria.net , noon–11:30 p.m. Fri.–Sat., 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun.), with a huge and impressive international menu in its Ingolstad restaurant. It also has a beer garden.
I love the atmospheric and rustic Jaulares (tel. 506/2482-2155, 7 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 7 a.m.–midnight Fri.–Sat., 7 a.m.–8 p.m. Sun.), serving meals cooked on an open wood-burning stove. The black bean soup ($2) is superb, as is the jalapeño steak ($10). It also serves lunch specials (casados, $5), plus an open buffet ($12). It’s favored by locals on Saturday nights, when it has live music.
Colinas del Poás (tel. 506/2430-4113, 7 a.m.–7 p.m. daily), one kilometer farther north, has a beautiful restaurant specializing in trout dishes. Just up the hill, Freddo Fresa (no tel., 7 a.m.–10 p.m. daily) is hewn of cypress timbers and has a fantastic rustic ambience. It serves homemade goodies such as tortillas, grilled-chicken sandwiches with fresh bread, and picadilla of potatoes, corn, sweet red pepper, and cilantro—all with ingredients from Emilio’s organic garden. The food is prepared on an old stove and there are fresh strawberry shakes to die for.
At Poasito, the Steak House El Churrasco (tel. 506/2482-2135, www.elchurrascocr.com , 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Sun.) is a popular spot for tenderloins, lengua en salsa, and other meat dishes ($4 and up). Try the bean dip with tortillas and jalapeños, followed by tiramisu.