Ocean views at Cafe Agua Azul in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Cafe Agua Azul located on the second floor in Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica
Cafe Agua Azul located on the second floor

After hiking in Manuel Antonio National Park, I visited Cafe Agua Azul for drinks and food without knowing much about the place. From the road, the building looked like it hung off a cliff with just air, jungle, and ocean below.

After I parked out front, I walked up the stairs into a beautiful open-air dining room. I was right. The views were amazing. This is why I decided to stop here, and I’m glad I did.

If you ever have the chance, visit Manuel Antonio National Park. The park’s beaches, rainforests, and wildlife make it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Costa Rica.

Interior of Cafe Agua Azul

Open kitchen and dining room
Open kitchen and dining room

Like many of the restaurants in Manuel Antonio, Cafe Agua Azul featured an open-air dining room. There were no walls, but a roof held up by wooden posts allowed ocean breezes in.

There were only about ten wooden tables and a small bar. With limited space, I could see the restaurant fill up quickly at dinner time and on weekends. If you worry about not finding a table, try arriving late in the afternoon before the evening rush.

The lively dining room shares the same space with a small open kitchen and bar. As you enjoy the ocean views from your seat, you can watch the chef and his team preparing and cooking food all night.

The fantastic view of the ocean from the dining room, Cafe Agua Azul, Costa Rica
The fantastic view of the ocean from the dining room

Cafe Agua Azul is literally hanging on the edge of a cliff, with the jungle below. If you look down, you might see a monkey passing by.

As you enjoy your food and drinks, make sure you stop to take in the natural beauty and vast ocean that surround you. In the distance to the left, you can see part of Manuel Antonio National Park. You can’t beat the view, especially at sunset.

Cafe Agua Azul Menu

Cafe Agua Azul menu
Cafe Agua Azul dinner menu

Arriving late afternoon, I ordered from the dinner menu, which consisted of creative seafood appetizers and entrees including tuna, red snapper, shrimp, mussels, and calamari. Other options included pasta and chicken.

There was also another “Munchies Menu” that included more bar-friendly options such as a one-pound burger, nachos, chicken fingers, chicken sandwiches, fajitas, tacos, and quesadillas.

Unfortunately, there were no happy hour specials, which are common in other Manuel Antonio restaurants.

Tuna Tostadas

Tuna tostadas piled high with ahi tuna, avocado, and cream sauce, Cafe Agua Azul, Costa Rica
Tuna tostadas piled high with ahi tuna, avocado, and cream sauce

I decided to start with an appetizer to understand better the type of food served here. I started with the Tuna Tostadas (5,300 colones).

Spicy tuna, avocado, peppers, onions, and cilantro were piled high on the three tuna tostadas, which were topped with a creamy wasabi sauce. Slices of lime on the side added a kick of acid.

The cubed pieces of raw tuna were incredibly fresh, the avocado and wasabi cream sauce was creamy, and the onion and tortilla chip added a nice crunch.

All the ingredients worked well together, and the presentation was beautiful. The flavors were simple but delicious. Sometimes, simple is better.

The original plan was to order an appetizer and move on to another nearby restaurant. After trying the tuna tostadas, I decided to stay and order more food.

Panko Breaded Tuna

Panko Breaded Tuna, Cafe Agua Azul, Costa Rica
Panko Breaded Tuna

Impressed with the tuna tostadas, I decided to try out the Panko Breaded Tuna (9,200 colones). The plate consisted of a lightly seared panko-crusted tuna with a vegetable slaw and cream cheese rangoon, similar to a wonton. On the side was a dollop of wasabi and pickled ginger.

There was a generous amount of tuna. With most seafood dishes these days, you only get a small piece of fish.

When I ordered the dish, the waiter returned and asked me how I wanted the fish cooked. I told him I would like it seared but as rare as possible on the inside. With that said, the fish was only slightly seared and raw on the inside, like sushi. If you want your fish cooked more thoroughly, notify your waiter beforehand.

The panko breading was perfect. It was crispy and did not fall off the fish as I ate it. I was surprised how the chef could cook the breading perfectly without overcooking the fish.

For being made with vegetables, the slaw was colorful, delicious, and seasoned well with salt and pepper. It was made using caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, and squash.

The strangest thing on the plate was the cream cheese rangoon. I am unfamiliar with rangoons, but they looked like deep-fried wontons. Inside the crispy pocket, the cream cheese was slightly sweet and tasted more like sour cream.

Costa Rican Snapper

Costa Rican snapper in a spicy orange Thai sauce
Costa Rican snapper in a spicy orange Thai sauce

Similar in presentation to the panko breaded tuna, the Costa Rican Snapper (9,000 colones) was made with a grilled piece of red snapper, green papaya, sweet plantains, and a spicy orange Thai sauce.

Though the piece of red snapper was not as large as the tuna, it was still delicious, moist, and cooked well. I especially enjoyed the fish’s crispy corners, which added a great crunch to an otherwise tender and soft fish.

The orange Thai sauce glazed on the fish was sweet, salty, and tangy. It reminded me of an orange chicken sauce with more orange zest and rind. Underneath the fish was a simple scoop of white rice.

The vegetables accompanying the fish were similar: fresh, colorful, and well-seasoned. The only difference was the slightly crunchy squash slaw, which resembled pasta. A few pieces of plantains were mixed in with the slaw, though I wish there were more.

Service at Cafe Agua Azul

The service was very friendly and informative. The attentive servers, who spoke both English and Spanish, consistently checked on me to see if everything was ok. I could have sat here all day long enjoying a drink and the views.


Manuel Antonio in Costa Rica has many overpriced and touristy restaurants. Cafe Agua Azul is not one of them.

I enjoyed everything about my visit, including the creative and fresh dishes, friendly staff, and great views.

If you are looking for a restaurant in Manuel Antonio with great prices, food, and views, I recommend stopping by Cafe Agua Azul.


  • Awesome ocean views
  • Fresh and well presented food
  • Affordable prices for location
  • Friendly staff
  • Credit cards (Visa or Mastercard) were accepted


  • No happy hour specials
  • Small dining room can fill up quickly


Thursday-Tuesday: 11:00am-10:00pm
Wednesday: Closed


Main road above Coldwell Banker, Manuel Antonio, 60601, Costa Rica
GPS Coordinates: 9.405321,-84.156726


Last Updated on April 17, 2024