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argentine steak tenderloin at casa del mar restaurant
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Casa del Mar Restaurant

Casa del Mar Restaurant

Destination: Santa Teresa

Argentina has a meaty presence in Santa Teresa — and Casa del Mar Restaurant has some of the best of it, firing up masterfully grilled meats, pizzas and sausages to hungry beachgoers.

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When Argentine Lucila Bugarini and Andres Diz backpacked around Santa Teresa in 2009 and stayed at Casa del Mar Hostel, they nonchalantly threw a few pizzas on the grill and shared them with fellow travelers. Immediately after the hostel's Spanish Owner Cesar Carmona tasted how amazing the pizza was, he invited the Argentine couple to partner with him to run a restaurant on the side of his property.

Since that fateful barbeque, the Casa del Mar eatery's exploded into a full-blown restaurant with an open-flame blackwood grill, several tables, full staff of grill masters, and Lucila as the spunky lead waitress.

Everybody starts with garlic bread and Criolla (typical Argentine salsa), made with tomato, sweet onions, bell peppers, garlic and spices. An ice-cold mojito, $6, goes best with the garlicky spiciness of the complimentary appetizer.

Lovebirds and bigger groups adore sharing massive plates of full parilladas (grilled meats), $28, brimming with chorizo, chicken, pork ribs, pork loin and flank steak, served with a mixed salad, grilled potatoes, and several special dips including chimichurri, jalapeño and red wine-marinated carrot.

Adventurers come to find out why Cesar hired these Argentines, ordering the pizza-look-alike Lomito (Argentine steak) special $13, meat grilled over the open flame, with melted mozzarella cheese, caramelized onion, bell peppers and tomato atop a grilled pita flat, and grilled potato side, a mixed salad and three dipping sauces: chimichurri, red wine-marinated carrot and jalapeño.

Even the desserts at Casa del Mar are meat-themed: the chocolate salami, $6, is a round sliced chocolate and shortbread cookie with melted chocolate, served under a scoop of ice cream topped in chocolate sauce, slivered almonds and coconut meal.

Ambiance

You can see the bright orange of the grill's flames from the street, luring you in to sit at one of the wooden tables sprawled all along the northern half of the Casa del Mar hostel's front gardens: a meat lover's tropical paradise.

Service

Locals and visitors come from all directions across Santa Teresa, and the restaurant accommodates everyone with equal parts kindness, love and tender grilled meat.

Price

Appetizers $6-$10; Entrees $11-$18; Pizzas $7-$20; Desserts $6-$8; Drinks $3-7

Hours

3 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Casa del Mar Restaurant in Pictures