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Costa Rican, Central American
Dinner, Late Night
Outdoor Seating, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Table Service
Reviews (69)
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Reviewed 3 weeks ago

if you're really thirsty and hungry and want to ruin your evening in arguments be sure to end at Buena Esperanza/Martina's. on market day it's fun to see a display of crafts, bringing some civilisation at the edge of the jungle. besides this occurrence, try...to avoid. food is average, but service is lousy and bills are up. beware of keeping track of what you order, you might be subject to surprises when the bill comes. it could be understandable if they were local people taking advantage of tourists, but they're pure aliens, gringos! what a contrast with the local restaurants in Puerto Jimenez run by local people. they don't know what to do to please you.More

Date of visit: February 2020
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

Vincent and the staff make this little gem an absolute must on the road to/from Carate. We visited after an attempt to river run up to the nearby La Carbonera waterfall. Only a 20-30 minute walk along the main road from Matapalo. Think of your...cool neighbor with an outdoor porch and good taste in chill music. Now make the porch 5 times that size, add satisfying, straightforward fare, a full bar, outdoor ping pong, and you’re getting close to Martina’s. We had fresh veggie quesadillas, cold beer and amazing ice cream from a local producer—don’t miss it if they’ve got some! Vincent, our server, shared stories, his zest for life, and some amazing wildlife pictures to top off our visit.More

Date of visit: December 2020
Reviewed February 6, 2020

This place came highly recommended by friends who had visited last year and it did not disappoint. Quite possibly the best seared tuna I've ever had. The service was also great.

Date of visit: January 2020
Reviewed February 5, 2020

Great chef. Best seared ahi in a long time. Very fresh. We went there expecting a sandwich bar and it far exceeded our expectations. Chef came out to talk about my celiac GF diet - thought about what he could provide and made suggestions. A...restaurant card with english and spanish is required for celiacs traveling in Latin America. Every chef I’ve communicated with really appreciates the written information. Service just a bit below a 5, but good. Went back a second night. Chef greeted us personally 😁. He’s really a great guy and listens well Partner had the panco fried mahi mahi - moist and flavorful. A pineapple chutney accompanied it and was great. I had the chicken w/ coconut and peanut sauce. I asked for the chutney also and it was delicious with the sauce. Basically Martina has a gem of a “neighborhood restaurant and bar”. Very good value for delicious meals.More

Date of visit: January 2020
Reviewed January 30, 2020 via mobile

I hear the bad reviews of the people who have reviews before me, but if you are me, then this place is a 5 star all the way! Yes, there are some catty vibes from the barman - but I love that. It’s a hodge...podge of old hippies, shirtless guys who should probably be wearing shirts, yoga-types and expats. You’ll even hear a few British voices here on a Friday night when they have the market. It’s fun, it’s vibrant and it’s an experience. The food here is SO good and some of the best I had in Costa Rica. Yes, it’s expensive in comparison to some of the meals out there, but who cares when it’s that good?! Have the tuna and have it rare and you won’t be disappointed. Everyone’s there to have a good time. Would I go here again? 110% yesMore

Date of visit: January 2020
Reviewed April 28, 2019

As other reviewers have already mentioned, Friday night at Buena Esperanza (aka Martina's) is a must for the Friday night market. My husband and I attended the market and really enjoyed speaking with the local artisans. We purchased some beautiful hand made wooden bowls but...did not stay to eat. We returned on a less busy day for dinner and while the food was good, the service was not. We ordered the seared tuna and mahi-mahi. Each was served with rice, salad or slaw and while delicious and well prepared, it didn't feel very 'local. I could have had this meal anywhere. This was the most expensive meal of our trip and thought the atmosphere appeared to be fun and inviting, I'm sorry to say that even though we did our best to speak the language and interact with our server, we did not feel welcome. Very disappointing especially since we saved our trip to Martina's for our anniversary dinner. We really wanted to love this place. Instead, it left a bitter taste in our mouths.More

Date of visit: April 2019
Reviewed February 22, 2019

Osa: the last untamed part of Costa Rica. That is what you hear as the pitch to visit… and it exceeds expectations, especially on a Friday night at Martina’s To get to the best parts of the peninsula you drive to Puerto Jimenez, which is...not much of a port, but started life as a gold mining town. Hot and dusty, you head south of town and immediately the road becomes dirt. Driving about 10-15 km further you notice something else: the power lines have disappeared. You are entering the wild outback of Osa - all out of sight, off the grid and stand alone - solar power, micro hydro and generators . We stayed in Matapalo de Osa, which started life as a surfing destination, and still pretty much is. The laid back, hang loose vibe is immediate as you settle into the Osa lifestyle. There are not many choices to eat in this part of the country , but everyone… every, single person we talked to said “ you MUST go to Martina’s for Friday dinner. When we asked why, we got mostly smiles and the response : “ it is real Matapalo, real Osa, go early to find parking and get to the local market”. We could not pass up an opportunity to get real local color, so off to Martina’s for Friday dinner. The first part is finding Martina’s… it is not on Google Maps as Martina’s… it is the Buena Esperanza. You find it right before a good sized river crossing towards Matapalo ( which if you take incorrectly you can have problems… I lost my front license plate there) . You’ll find two signs: one for Buena Esperanza and one for Martina’s. We arrived right at 4:30 pm - that is when the market opens. Finding the small parking lot already filling, we parked on the side near the restaurant, and strolled in. Suddenly, we were transported back through space and time. The parking lot was filled with ancient Range Rovers, pickups and VW vans. The vendors were all just setting up… it has been a really long time since I saw that much tie dye. The market is a local ‘ artisans market’ , where dozens of aging hippies, counter culture drop outs, yoga infused millennials , and their home schooled semi feral kids were gathering and setting up wares. It was a cornucopia of new age, organic, artisanal foods and handiwork: soaps, essential oils, jewelry , handbags , and organic coffees, chocolate, baked goods and even ice cream. It is said that people come for miles to get the ice cream, since there are few freezers in the area . The tattooed chocolatier with a top-knot bun mingled with the aging French ponytailed jeweler , a tall, straight-haired women in a long tie dyed skirt meticulosity set up her booth of bath and body oils, while chatting with a young gringo with his Tica wife and children in tow, setting up their home grown coffee. Darkness started to fall, and you heard the muffled sound of the generator starting up. Soon the restaurant and market area was filled with light , adding to the already otherworldly festive atmosphere. The sound system started and if you did not feel unstuck in time ( a nod to Kurt Vonnegut) then the playlist pushed you over - from the “Age of Aquarius” to Nirvana, and everything in-between. The crowd continued to arrive , some were even real patrons like us. It turns out that the Friday market is half market, half Friday get together for the Matapalo , Carate and Puerto Jimenez expats, exiles, dropouts, entrepreneurs, and their friends and family. It was like nothing I had seen in a long time… It was wonderful. Then came a roar of what I swear was a big Harley-Davison tricycle ( probably was a quad, but I so wanted it this way) as Martina herself made a grand entrance : Aging, Germanic, tattooed - she looked like she was typecast as she strode off the bike to an almost royal greeting. It was dinner time. By now we were actually getting hungry, resisting eating chocolate and ice cream to spoil dinner. We went into the rancho-like restaurant and bar and were greeted by a young asian American who was our waiter . He asked us where we were from, I said Puriscal. He laughed and replied - “Wow- I worked at a farm here there for two years and even bought this shirt ( a classic Hawaiian one) at a Ropa Americana there. Small World”. I went to the bar to get us drinks and turned out the bartender was from the Boston area, where we moved from. Small World, The Dinner menu gets announced on a chalk board, and there is always at least one vegetarian entry. Being one, I ordered the Gnocchi , while our traveling companions ordered the pork and the chicken. Dinner arrived as a huge surprise - it was wonderfully prepared, presented and tasted fabulous. Here we were in the literal middle of nowhere, no power, few bridges to cross rivers, and we had one of the better meals we have ever had in the country. A big thumbs up for Martina’s! Afterward we did eat some of that local organic chocolate and the Osa famous ice cream, topping off a surprising, amazing, memorable , and delicious Friday night at Martina’s. When you are in Osa… GO.More

Date of visit: February 2019
Reviewed January 4, 2019 via mobile

Really enjoyed our meal at Martina’s, and contrary to some reviews we found Martina really friendly! The bar is colourful, stylish and relaxed, the food was great (delicious tuna) and we met some nice people. We bought the most amazing chocolate at the Friday night...market and yes the music was loud later on (we were in an AirBnb almost next door), but it’s only once a week. Approach this bar with an open mind and a relaxed and friendly attitude and you’ll enjoy it.More

Date of visit: December 2018
Reviewed January 2, 2019 via mobile

My husband and I ate dinner here on our honeymoon. He got the mahi mahi and I got the tuna steak. I thought my meal was by far the best in Costa Rica, the tuna was perfectly cooked. The feel is pretty chill and friendly....Prices are pretty high including beer prices but with only a few restaurants to choose from in this area what can you do? Our waitress was a bit rude to my husband who doesn’t speak any Spanish, she was clearly annoyed by his lack of knowing the language.More

Date of visit: December 2018
Reviewed August 17, 2018 via mobile

We are travel bloggers and get to see many places. Its a fun spot on fridays but despite the vibe the food is absolutely fantastic! Be sure to have the best plate of food (its pricey $15) for sure!

Date of visit: August 2018
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