The Costa Rica Restaurant Review

Mountain Edition: The Lava Lounge Bar and Grill - Restaurant Review

mnsrconnoisseur | 04 March, 2011 20:59

The Lava Lounge is a bar and grill located in La Fortuna de San Carlos, near Volcan Arenal.

I was recently on an excursion to Volcan Arenal with a group of friends.  It had been several years since I had been there, and I was looking forward to getting out into the rainforest again.  My last trip had been pretty lean in terms of worthwhile dining experiences, so it was important to find the right place to eat this time.  After a long day of walking while doing the suspended bridges tour and then ziplining, the tour guide that my friends hired suggested that the Lava Lounge would be a very nice place for us to go, and besides, it was right across the street from the little motel we were staying in...

There was a decent crowd there, and the place was getting set up for some live music by a lone performer.  It is a fairly rustic decoration, but nice.  Wooden benches and tables.  But it meshes very well with the setting and decoration of the place.

The menu had several interesting options.  We got started off with drinks.  I ordered a Mai Tai, which is one of my personal favorite cocktails. It is unfortunate that I haven't found anywhere, whether it be bar or restaurant, in the city that offers Mai Tais.  The only places in Costa Rica that I have found them have been in the Arenal area, Tamarindo, and Mal Pais.  I am sure there are other places that have them, but it would be nice to find a place in the city so that I don't have to wait until I am on vacation to have one.

The food wasn't served particularly quickly, but it was ok because it was a very nice ambiance, and we had our drinks and were enjoying each others' company and were reminiscing about our day's activities.

Eventually the food came out and by the time we got started the musician started playing.  I don't know if I had consumed just as many Mai Tais  as were necessary to get the effect, or if it was the ambiance, or if he was really quite talented, but the live music was very enjoyable.  It seemed to be just the right smooth sound to set a very pleasant mood.  One of the couples with us actually got up and danced to one of the songs because it was hard to just stay in your seat (note that the place doesn't have a dance floor, you have to dance between the tables wherever there is room).

The food?

Well, as nice as the performance was, I almost forgot about it.  Until I actually started eating.   I ordered a hamburger -- which of course was made from local, grass-fed beef.  It was delivered on the rare side, which is what I had asked for, and was actually quite impressive.  It was superbly prepared, and was a large portion.  Others in the group ordered the chicken and beef fajitas, while a couple others ordered steaks that were the special for the day.  I tasted the fajitas and they were very good.  Everybody was very happy with what they received and we left nothing but clean plates.  We had 6 people in total (and 1 small child that just picked a few items from mom and dad's plate without needing a dish of his own), and the meal with the drinks was about $106.  All in all a very fair price to pay for the pleasant evening that we enjoyed.

The music was so good that we had a hard time pulling ourselves away from the table and heading back to our rooms.  Only our plans for a full day following was able to motivate us to return to our rooms and get some rest.

I would certainly return to the Lava Lounge, and would recommend it to anyone that happens to be visiting La Fortuna.


Note:  Lava Lounge is located in La Fortuna (which is a very small town, so the restaurant will be easy to find).  Call them for reservations at 2479-7365, or visit them online at

Comments Disabled

mnsrconnoisseur | 13 July, 2010 22:56

I apologize to readers of this blog, but I have had to disable comments. 

This decision has been so long in coming, mainly because I appreciate and very much welcome reader comments.  However, the amount of spam that is posted on this blog in the form of comments is absolutely staggering.  Unfortunately Lifetype's spam filter mechanism, or at least that which comes with the version that is active on this site, leaves much to be desired.  

Those that are following my reviews on this site will notice that, prior to my most recent post, it had been quite some time since I have posted a review.  That is not because I have had nothing to say.  In part it is because the majority of the restaurants that I have been to recently have failed to impress (and I tire of writing a bunch of negative reviews in a row), and also because every time I am in the mood to log on and write something I am innundated with spam comments on every subject from fake watches, to viagra, to pornography and 1000 other subjects that have absolutely nothing to do with food, nor with restaurants, nor with Costa Rica (in fact much more often than not they originate from IPs that are not even located in Costa Rica).  If I let the computer run by itself it takes literally hours to purge all of the spam posts, and by the time it is finished, my inclination to write has long been used up by many other tasks.

I expect that this decision will result in me making more regular review posts regarding Costa Rica restaurants on this blog.  And with any luck the spam bots will eventually "forget" about this site and I will be able to reactivate comments.  But I'm not holding my breath.

Thanks for reading.


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