I am continually asked for advice on good places to eat when visiting Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica. Easily one of my favorites is the popular “Ronny’s Place”, also know as “Mi Lugar”. The food is affordable and delicious, the views, especially for sunset, are breathtaking, but the real draw to this restaurant is the owner, Ronny Alpizar.
"Mi Casa es su Casa" means "My House is your House" in Spanish and that is the slogan and warm feeling you will receive when dining at Ronny’s Place. The friendly staff and Ronny himself make it a point to personally attend you during your visit. Offering a true Costa Rican dining experience, the menu features specialties in both international and local cuisine. No dining experience at “Mi Lugar” is complete without trying one of their specialty drinks. Their in-house bartender boasts more than 10 years experience mastering his own custom drink mixes with
beautifully inventive presentations (see pictures), delicious and innovative combinations such as their famous “Coco Loco”, and earning a special recognition from Lonely Planet Guidebook for having the “Best in the Country” Sangria.
Background on Mi Lugar:
Boasting an enviable mountaintop location, Ronny’s Place is the only restaurant in the area where you can enjoy the fabulous Pacific Coast sunsets 365 days a year.
Weather permitting.) Inaugurated in 2003, the original name was "Mi Lugar" (My Place). A popular local Costa Rican, owner Ronny Alpizar decided after working many years at some of the area’s best hotels it was time to branch out on his own. A friendly and sociable man, Ronny is very popular among all that live in the Manuel Antonio & Quepos areas, both Ticos and Expats alike. Ronny, feeling that having his own restaurant would allow him to offer the quality and personalized level of service he felt was missing in many other local businesses, he launched his successful endeavor some 7 years ago and has never looked back. Although the plan was to always call it “My Place”, as is typical in Costa Rica, it just simply became "Ronny’s Place". This also saved a lot of misunderstandings when friends were invited to meet and have dinner at “My Place”; they no longer mistakenly showed up at the inviting party’s house ready to eat!
It’s All About Location:
Located at the top of a mountain, overlooking the Pacific Ocean in the midst of a 90 acre farm, Ronny’s Place is the only building you will find in the immediate area. Accessible by a bumpy dirt road, the short drive is worth the visit to this “typical” rancho style restaurant offering breathtaking ocean views of two magnificent private beach coves and the expansive horizon allowing you to see as far as Puntarenas on a clear day. To arrive there, take the main road towards Manuel Antonio National Park, and about 2K at the Amigos del Rio offices (Rafting and Kayaking Adventure Company with large sign), you will see the signs on the right side of the road for the entrance to the farm where Ronny’s place is located.
You will continue some 800 meters climbing the dirt road (you do not need 4wd), but don’t forget to watch for the cows, horses, chickens, pigs, sheep, goats and other farm animals that may be wandering about as you head up the road. Upon arrival, you will find the perfect place for rehearsal dinner parties, birthday celebrations, office parties, casual wedding receptions, or just the ideal spot for a casually romantic sunset dinner. Opening daily at 12pm, it’s a great place to enjoy a casual lunch as well. Keep your eye out for Ronny, I have never eaten there without his friendly greeting. Not only does he remember my name, but he knows I love his banana cake and usually sends a piece over to our table on the house. That’s our Ronny!!
Some Favorite Recommended Dishes:
Easily one of the most popular dishes at Ronny’s Place is the fresh whole Snapper. Caught right off the shores that you can see while seated at Mi Lugar, this dish could not possibly be more fresh unless you caught the fish yourself! Other popular dishes are the fresh Lobster (in season), grilled Brochettes of Beef, Chicken and Seafood, Filet Mignon with Mushroom Sauce, Nachos, Ceviche, Shrimp Cocktail, as well as a vast selection of Pasta Dishes meant to satisfy vegetarian diners, and a wonderful selection of appetizers (known as “bocas” in Costa Rica). Once again, I feel a deep obligation to remind potential diners to not forget to try Ronny’s specialty drinks served in all their elegance, such as the Pina Colada, Coco Loco and their famous Sangria. Everyone in this area has their favorite, so feel free to ask the concierge at your Vacation Rental Home, or Costa Rican Hotel in the area to find out what theirs is. I’m sure they would be happy to share their positive dining experience at Ronny’s Place, as well as direct you on how to get there!!
Kimberly Barron, originally from Malibu, California has lived in Parismina and Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica for 20 years. Starting as a certified tour guide, she spent 15 years managing fishing lodges on the Caribbean Coast and later 4* & 5* Hotels on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. Currently semi-retired, Kimberly still works as the Marketing Director for Byblos Resort & Casino and Hotel Makanda by the Sea.