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       fried whole red snapper kmbute
  - Costa Rica



Destination: Samara

Like the house where the neighborhood kids gather after school, Restaurant Kmbute, the staple and only public restaurant in Islita, buzzes with excited chatter of locals, travelers and families enjoying drinks and Costa Rican dishes outdoors in the the warm beachside air.

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Locally caught specialties like marlin ceviche, $4.50, emerges from the kitchen practically still swimming, prepared to order. Drinks like a margarita, $12, poured classy with patron and Cointreau, pair impeccably with the mouthwatering seafood selection.

Scaled, sliced, salted and fried for 15 minutes before it’s served, a whole fish, $26, matches well with a refreshing mixed salad with beets, avocado, hearts of palm and crispy cucumber.

Special not just because it matches owner Jose Angel Mendez's nickname, but also because it's a delicacy; sliced, tenderized cambute (wild abalone), $14, offers a textural experience you've got to have it at least once in your life, seasoned in garlic sauce and served with mashed potatoes and veggies.

Citrusy lemon pie, $2, cleanses the palate with a tart, sugary pop that's best on a warm summer night.


High top wooden tables and chairs transcend a half-moon of tiki huts on the outer part of the restaurant grounds. Under the main Ramada, a stand-up bar area has two flat screen TVs, playing sports channels.


Like any family, this one can get distracted chatting or watching the sports game instead of tending to customers — but they always come around, amicably when they do.


Appetizer $2-$14; Finger Food $2-$7; Entrée $6-$36; Dessert $2-$4; Drinks $4-$25


Noon – 10 p,m.

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Kmbute in Pictures