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La Cantina

La Cantina

Destination: Manuel Antonio

The crackle of the wood fire barbeque and the smell of grilled meat wafts through the open-air under the waxy illumination of wooden chandeliers at La Cantina. Chefs bake fresh bread in the brick oven, stir-fry vegetables on the flat top grill, and baste ribs in the open kitchen to the tunes of the nightly live music.

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La Cantina draws its influences from all across the Americas with dishes like the Azteca soup, $8, with crispy tortilla strips, avocado hunks, shredded chicken, seasoned with coriander and fresh thyme.

But the real draw is the barbeque. The St. Louis style ribs, $22, are cold-smoked for 40 minutes then thrown on the barbeque and basted in a house-cherry sauce, served with caramelized, grilled pineapple rings. The Patagonia ribeye, $22, is tender, juicy and sliced on a wooden cutting board then drizzled with a house sauce made with olive oil, fresh herbs, garlic, and red pepper flakes; served with grilled yellow corn and vegetables.

Wash it down with a house cocktail like the monkey biz, $6; baileys, coco rum, Smirnoff vodka and fresh banana, or for something a little simpler, settle down with a freshly muddled mojito, $5.

For dessert, La Cantina has Costa Rican staples like tres leches cake, $4, made with condensed, evaporated and regular milk or, for a slice of the U.S., there's apple pie a la mode, $4.


Wooden chandeliers softly illuminate La Cantina's large, rustic double, decker open-air restaurant and bar. With space for more than 200 guests, an open kitchen and nightly live music, La Cantina comes alive after the sunset.


Servers are courteous and attentive while the presentations of the main dishes show that chefs have a keen eye for detail.


Apps $8-$10; Entrees $8-$23; Cocktails $3-$7


4 p.m.-10 p.m.

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La Cantina in Pictures