We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The Tripadvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Ratings and reviews



$2 - $8
International, Mediterranean, Fusion, Middle Eastern, Costa Rican, Healthy
Special Diets
Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options
View all details
meals, features, about
Travel safe during COVID-19
Visit our Travel Safe hub to see how we're helping you make more informed travel decisions during COVID-19.
What you can expect during your visit
  • Face masks required for staff in public areas
  • Hand sanitiser available to guests & staff
  • Socially distanced dining tables
  • Staff required to regularly wash hands
  • Tables disinfected between guests
  • Face masks required for guests in public areas
Safety precautions are provided by the property and are not checked by Tripadvisor for accuracy.
Safety precautions are provided by the property and are not checked by Tripadvisor for accuracy.
Reviews (122)
Filter reviews
88 results
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
More languages
Traveller rating
Show reviews that mention
All reviews falafel vegetarian sushi pancakes soup chef marvin yoga retreat healthy food permaculture farm wonderful kitchen every meal meals prepared stayed here lunches and dinners local chef delicious ingredients his creations special diet
Selected filters
Updating list...
Reviewed 1 week ago

I've gone here a few times for the great views of the lake and volcano and to meet friends or join in activities(even saw a toucan here!) but I joined in the dinners that they have here and oh my god! It was heavenly! The...vegetarian sushi was the best I've had and so varied. I was a little unsure at first when I was told they would make sushi but the staff there said it was amazing so I had to try it. Was not disappointed, if anyone gets the chance to be there on their sushi night I would definitely go for it and order a bottle of their homemade kombucha ;pMore

Date of visit: May 2022
Reviewed 1 week ago

This was the third time I went here. I love that they have a different country theme every night and that the food is vegetarian. They have a set menu, for me this works really well :) For me this also means there is less...waste. The staff is really personal, so you feel at home right away.More

Date of visit: May 2022
Reviewed 3 weeks ago

I spent two weeks at a wonderful yoga retreat called Essence. The kitchen is run by local Chef Marvin. His crew; Chef Gabriel and wonderful kitchen help Dennis, Carro, Priscilla are always so helpful. Many of us had dietary restrictions and the kitchen were so...skillful and executed our meals perfectly with such creativity. Thank you so much for taking such wonderful care of us!More

Date of visit: March 2022
Reviewed 15 April 2022

I stayed at essence for yoga retreat and had all my meals at essence. Marvin and staff are awesome, they take care of all your diet needs and the food is freshly made daily. Taste was awesome, along with the presentation.

Date of visit: April 2022
Reviewed 6 April 2022 via mobile

This place is amazing, all vegetarian, the food is flavorful and beautiful. I highly recommend making the trip up the mountain. Located at Essence Arenal, a beautiful permaculture and yoga retreat. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner at set hours 8 to 9am, 12 to...1pm and 6:30 to 8pm, so make sure you go at the specified times. There is a menu with a variety of options and dinner has an additional preset 3 course meal. They make vegetarian versions of food from across the world, such as Indian lentils with pita bread and raika, and vegetarian sushi as examples. They can also accommodate food restrictions such as gluten free, ask about the banana pancakes. The cute decor and open kitchen make for a very homey and casual experience, where you get to watch the chefs at work. The staff is friendly and the owner/chef is funny and energetic. They do serve alcohol, 3 beers on tap, wine, and a variety of cocktails. 5 stars, 10 out of 10, if you have the chance, do not miss this place.More

Date of visit: March 2022
Reviewed 4 April 2022

I spent 17 wonderful days at Essence yoga retreat where the food was crafted and served beautifully by Chef Marvin, Chef Gabriel and their wonderful kitchen staff: Dennis, Carro, Priscilla. The staff are all so kind and gracious. They are very conscientious and remembered all...of our diet restricts and they do their very best to accommodate. I have never experienced such care and the food was always delicious and the presentation was very lovely.More

Date of visit: March 2022
Reviewed 3 April 2022

The Restaurant is Amazing! The best food I‘ve had in Costa Rica. Three Course Menu - all Vegetarian, nicely served and all regional, high quality Ingredientens. Marcel the chef is the heart of the Place. He knows every detail about the dishes he serves and...is really fun to hang out with. Be prepared that you want to come back. Great view on the lake and the Vulcano. Staff is also Lovely. All in all, just an amazing place you should not miss out.More

Date of visit: April 2022
Reviewed 9 March 2022

We had 2 days breakfast in the restaurant. There was multiple choice, we tried different ones, what all tastes great. Thanks to the chef's for their kindness en help by our problem!!

Date of visit: March 2022
Reviewed 9 February 2022

A must place to stop and visit. The view is as incredible as the food. Chef Marvin is an artist in the kitchen, he made the most delicious meals for us while we were there. The falafel was amazing and the traditional gallo pinto breakfast...with tofu scramble was out of this world. Having vegan options available while traveling was an added bonus. We felt like family the moment we walked through the door, everyone on staff was so nice and so welcoming that we will be back for that reason.More

Date of visit: February 2022
Reviewed 18 January 2022

I am rarely writing reviews, but for this place I have to. At one moment you have this homie feeling, like you are visiting friends’ house and they have just brought in vegetables & fruits from the market (or actually a local farm) to cook...for you - everything is very fresh, but no surprises. Next thing you know - there is a well-decorated plate next to you and it tastes amazing! Somehow the chef manages to combine seemingly simple ingredients in a bouquet of tastes, where they complement each other, while retaining their core essence. And one can say for sure that food is cooked with love here!More

Date of visit: January 2022
View more reviews
Best nearby
Best nearby hotelsSee all
Castillo del Arenal
351 reviews
.65 km away
Hotel Linda Vista
100 reviews
1.09 km away
Linda Vista Hotel
910 reviews
1.12 km away
Lost Iguana Resort & Spa
1,874 reviews
7.10 km away
Best nearby restaurantsSee all
La Ventanita
352 reviews
.43 km away
Phoenix Restaurante
147 reviews
.46 km away
Pizza John's Jardin Escondido
560 reviews
1.08 km away
Best nearby attractionsSee all
Gavilana Permaculture
146 reviews
.74 km away
Butterfly Conservatory
680 reviews
.58 km away
Arenal 1968
9 reviews
5.40 km away
Lake Arenal
1,905 reviews
6.25 km away
Questions & Answers
Ask a question
23 January 2022|
Response from Vanna L | Reviewed this property |
No they don’t serve fish or seafood.
Is This Your Listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim Your Free Listing
Frequently Asked Questions about Essence Arenal Restaurant

Yes, Essence Arenal Restaurant offers takeaway services.

Yes, Essence Arenal Restaurant is taking precautions against COVID-19. A full list is available within the "safety precautions" section of this page.

Essence Arenal Restaurant is rated accordingly in the following categories by Tripadvisor travellers:
  • Food: 5
  • Service: 5
  • Value: 5