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pizzas in oven tierra y fuego 
 - Costa Rica

Tierra y Fuego

Tierra y Fuego

Destination: Montezuma, Mal Pais, Santa Teresa

Tierra y Fuego fires up the ultimate Italian dinner experience in the hills of Costa Rica. Drive to the top of the rolling mountainside in Delicias de Cobano above Montezuma's dark blue coastline, through pastures and cattle farms to arrive on 2.5 acres of land where Tierra y Fuego's authentic Italian meals start from the ground up.

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Italian Owners Monica and Giuseppe Ciciriello grow their own fruits, vegetables and herbs* all around their restaurant, and import the rest of the quality ingredients from Italy. You can taste the difference in their products, even in cocktails, $6, vodka, lemonade, lime and garden-grown basil and the complimentary sea-salt-dusted focaccia bread.

You'll travel to Italy without buying a plane ticket when you order the mixed Italian plate, $16, with raw prosciutto, salami, roasted red bell pepper, olives, onion, eggplant, ricotta cheese and toasts.

Of course, the pizza dough is made fresh daily, 24-hours before it's thrown in the wood oven that burns logs from the fruit trees of their gardens. Make sure you try at least one pizza: whether it's ham and mushroom, $14, or the Tierra y Fuego, $15, garden tomatoes, local mozzarella, pecorino cheese and spicy salami, or any of the others.

Tierra y Fuego serves a pasta dish that's virtually unknown outside of the northern Italian Alps region: hearty Pizzoccheri, $14, buckwheat noodles, potatoes, cheese, sage, spinach, garlic and black peppercorns. Also, a slice of lasagna, $14, Bolognese sauce, Parmesan cheese and basil garnish, pays honorary tribute to the truest of Italian succulence.

Transatlantic transport via fork and spoon are possible with dessert too: tiramisu, $8, spongy lady fingers, whipped mascarpone, cocoa powder and chocolate shavings, garnished with mint, or Panna Cotta, $7, topped with seasonal blackberry marmalade. And naturally, the liquor finale carries garden flavors too, rosemary and regular limoncello.

(*) Tierra y Fuego grows its fresh organic herbs and some vegetables in water – without soil - using a recirculating system that pumps water – with solar energy - between its tilapia fish tank and its garden net pots. The tilapia fish tank fosters water with high-nutrient levels for the leafy greens to feast on and clean as it goes through their roots before draining back into the fish tank, keeping the fish healthy. Heads up on aquaponics!

Ambiance

This restaurant is beyond worth the drive. Besides the mouthwatering menu, you're dining right next to the gardens and orchards that provided the basis of your dinner, so the food tastes 100 times better for that reason alone.

Service

You may wonder where you are when you feel the warm Italian hospitality and taste the classic savory recipes, but let us assure you that this is still in Costa Rica.

Price

Appetizers $5-$16; Entrees $11-$18; Pizzas $11-$16; Desserts $7-$8

Hours

5 p.m. – 10 p.m. Thursday-Sunday

Closed June 7 - July 1 & Sep. 15 - Nov. 1.

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