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 - Costa Rica

El Lagarto

El Lagarto

Destination: Samara

Wood is the way at El Lagarto in Playa Samara, where savory local seafood, vegetables and high quality meat cuts emerge from the flames of a cedar-wood grill to land on Guanacaste wood boards, still sweltering with charred goodness as they arrive at your timber table out on the beach.

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As the restaurant livens up for the evening, you won't want to melt your cold Playa Samara cocktail, $7, shaken with blue Curacao, cacao, mint and Baileys.

Approach the bulk of the menu with a surf and turf mentality, making your way through masterpieces with ingredients from both the sea and land. Lead with mussels, $15, in a white wine and garlic reduction. For impeccable caramelized flavors, order the Maasdam cheese- and shrimp-stuffed whole squid, $22, or Portobello mushrooms, $10, smothered in Masdaam cheese and garlic sauce.

Complete the wood-fired feast with a 25-ounce Porterhouse steak, $34, medium rare, with a perfect char on the edge, alongside zucchini, half tomato and a baked potato split down the center, bursting with garlic butter from the seams.

Ambiance

The moon's reflection on the beach illuminates El Lagarto's sands, stimulating tranquility during an intimate evening meal.

Service

Unparalleled with the profound flavors of the menu, service is rather casual, leaving time for guests to take in the stunning view of the ocean.

Price

Appetizers $5-$16; Entrees $11-$45; Drinks $3-$7

Hours

3 p.m. – 11 p.m.; closed October

El Lagarto in Pictures