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Pura Gula

Pura Gula

Destination: Puerto Viejo

Pura Gula's Owner and Head Chef Mark Olieviera searches for inspiration among the fresh fruit and vegetables at Puerto Viejo's Saturday farmers market using them in his evolving menu of inspired-weekly recipes.

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For lunch, Pura Gula features a selection of pizzas, sandwiches, salads and crepes, but for dinner, Olieviera reinvents his menu nightly, writing it out on a chalkboard placed in the center of the restaurant – eight dishes, that's it.

The dinner menu focuses on less so that he can always use the freshest ingredients, Olieviera says. But don't take his word for it, taste it in dishes like the crawfish flambe, $14, a deceptively simple recipe of fresh, brandy flambéed crawfish seasoned with salt and garlic, served with a salad sprinkled with an organic cacao dressing.

On some nights, Barcelona-native Olieviera wields his Spanish influence over dishes like the red snapper filet, $16, crowned with hard boiled egg, olive oil and garlic garnished with dried herbs and served with grilled vegetables and mashed potatoes, while on others, he lets local ingredients shape his recipes like in the red snapper filet, $16, rubbed in an achiote (annatto) paste mixed with garlic, pepper and olive oil, broiled and served with grated ginger.

One of the menu's staples is its thick-cut locally raised beef tenderloin, $16. The sauces change nightly, but if they're anything like the creamy gorgonzola sauce that's drizzled over the tower of tenderloin, homemade sliced bread and mashed potatoes, then we'll take it.

Dessert comes care of Olieviera's neighbors, who make specialty treats in their spare time; desserts like the Black and White, $6, a ball of organic cacao, chocolate orange and dried coconut paired with a ball of fresh coconut, almond and dried coconut.

Ambiance

Set among the ambiance of the surrounding jungle, Pura Gula's an open-air restaurant in Playa Chiquita. Pura Gula's a small casual dining restaurant seating 6 tables with views of the kitchen and the surrounding flora.

Service

Friendly and insightful, Olieviera and his servers have a superb knowledge of the menu.

Price

Entrees $12-$16

Hours

12 p.m. – 9 p.m.; Closed on Sundays

Pura Gula in Pictures