I breakfast at Locanda (tel. 506/2656-0036, www.locandasamara.com , 7 A.M.–10 P.M. daily), serving croissants and cooked breakfasts, plus fresh fruit juice (or a bloody Mary) enjoyed under palms on the sands. Lunch and dinner mean anything from fresh seafood to homemade pasta dishes. Another great place to start the day is Restaurante Coco (tel. 506/2656-0665, 7 A.M.10 P.M. daily); it has huge omelettes and pancakes, plus lunchtime casados, sandwiches, and even chicken curry ($6) at night.
The German-run Café Carola (tel. 506/8994-9171, carolaschaffenicht [at] gmail [dot] com, 6 A.M.–6 P.M. Mon.–Sat., 6 A.M.–2 P.M. Sun.) serves fresh-baked baked goods, German breakfasts, light lunch, and snacks.
The airy Restaurante Las Brasas (tel. 506/2656-0546, noon–10 P.M. daily) has heaps of ambience thanks to its effusive use of exotic logs. It serves Mediterranean fare, including gazpacho ($4) and paella ($9), plus surf-and-turf. Similarly, I like the creative menu at the thatched no-frills beachfront Restaurante El Ancla (tel. 506/2656-0716, 10 A.M.–10 P.M. Fri.–Wed., $5–10), serving surf and turf, beef stroganoff, garlic sea bass, and calamari.
La Vela Latina (tel. 506/2656-2286) has revived with a modern look and a menu featuring seafood, burgers, and its famous popcorn chicken. A side bar serves sushi. You can kick it in lounge chairs on the sands.
Meanwhile, a lovely Italian expat couple, Stefano and Stefania, opened Ristorante Gusto (tel. 506/2656-0252, noon–10 P.M. daily) in 2010 on the north side of the soccer field. Impeccable hosts, they serve creative Italian (such as pasta carbonara) and fusion dishes (such as tuna tartare, and chicken curry in a coconut bowl) in a charming and stylish setting. Call in around sunset for the Italian aperitifs. The romantic mood is enhanced by a faux-washed floor inset with mosaics, plus cotton sails overhead and trendy music. It has WiFi.
Tabanuco (tel. 506/2656-0156, www.tabanuco.com ) gets rave reviews for its menu, which includes steamed fish in banana leaf and chicken in orange sauce, to be enjoyed in a rustically elegant beachfront setting.
When things get too hot, head to Heladería Las Delicias (11 A.M.–7 P.M. daily), in Patio Colonial, for ice cream. You can buy groceries at Super La Sámara.