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il giardino restaurant facade puerto jimenez
 - Costa Rica

Il Giardino

Il Giardino

Destination: Puerto Jimenez

Il Giardino is a quiet Italian haute overlooking the Bay of Puerto Jimenez. During the day, the sun and the breeze splash the patio with warmth. In the evenings, the restaurants lights small candles at romantic tables for two set up beside the water.

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The budget menu offers redemption in the form of cost-efficiency. For $10, hungry diners can order house-squeezed juice — made with actual fruit — a choice of pasta and homemade rosemary bread, which is easily the best dish at the restaurant.

The restaurant claims to have an Italian owner who uses only the freshest ingredients to make home made pastas including raviolis and tagliatelle since its beginning in 1999. While that may be true, there's little follow through in the recipes. The pastas sauces taste like they came out of a can.

The crab tagliatelle, $11, actually used imitation crab (think California roll) despite being literally next to the ocean. If crab is not available, it would be best to replace the dish with another type of dish.  The pumpkin raviolis, $10, came out undercooked, and everything ordered had too much oil, butter and cream. Even the panzanella pizza, $10, was a bit sad and soggy.

Perhaps, a fine Italian restaurant inside Costa Rica's most remote and untouched region is a little much to ask for. When it comes to cocktails though, the restaurant uses fresh fruit so make sure to order drinks such as pina coladas and daiquiris.


Casual dining beside the Pacific Ocean. This open-air patio has a tropical flare with plants, statues and a view of the bay.


The service is incredibly slow, even by Costa Rica's laid back standards. Make sure you've got at least two hours to spare before sitting down at a table at Il Giardino.


Entrees $8-$12; cocktails $7
12 p.m.- 10 p.m. everyday

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Il Giardino in Pictures