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Il Peperoni en la Playa Pelada

Il Peperoni en la Playa Pelada

Destination: Nosara

Your lips curl upward from the sides into a smile as you bite into a slice of wood-fired pizza at Il Peperoni en la Playa Pelada. It's a cheesy moment with your pizza, but it's romantic nonetheless.

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Adapting secret recipes chef Barrantes learned while living in Milan and Geneva, Il Peperoni's menu blends Costa Rica's love for fresh seafood and quality ingredients with the flavors of Italy, baking pizzas, grilling meat to juicy perfection, and tossing imported Italian cheeses with local avocados and fish caught in Playa Pelada.

Take for example, the shrimp spaghetti, $11, slathered with creamy béchamel sauce, made even creamier with chunks of ripe avocado. Just what you'd want on a hot summer day under the Tuscan sun, a garden-fresh caprese salad, $6.50, comes shaped like a sunflower, with petals of ripe tomato slices, mozzarella imported from Italy, and fresh basil.

Share an order of Carpaccio, $7, with layers of paper-thin slices of mahi-mahi, wedges of avocado and tomato, drizzled with olive oil and parsley, while you decide which pizza to order. Indulge in the calm beach paradise of Playa Pelada as you sip an Il Peperoni special Passion fruit margarita, $5.50, a tropical complement to food from the sea.

Watch chef Barrantes slice a combination pizza, $11, with mushroom, olive, ham, and sliced red bell pepper into the flame of his wood-fired oven, where magical Italian-style passion converts into a gooey masterpiece that tastes even better than it looks.  Delight also in a Casado Tipico, $11, magnificent with a hearty combination of steak, spaghetti, salad (avocado, cabbage, hardboiled egg), rice, beans, and plantains.

Save room for a Banana Flambé, $5.50, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, dribbled with semisweet chocolate syrup. Be sure to eat it quickly — the ice cream starts to resemble the Leaning Tower of Pisa if you wait too long.

Ambiance

A breezy spot that circulates delicious smells, spacious enough for families and groups of friends to sit together. A wood-fired oven bakes almost 120 pizzas on a busy night, almost flying out of the oven and into the mouths of hungry diners. Just beyond the oven,  the smell of grilled meat wafts from a large outdoor barbecue.

Service

Italian hospitality mixed with Costa Rican nonchalance, you won't feel smothered by the restaurant staff, but they're available when you need them.

Hours

11 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Price

Appetizers $6-$11

Pizza $8-$14

Pasta $7-$12

Casados $9-$12

Dessert $4-$5

Il Peperoni en la Playa Pelada in Pictures