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Victoria's Gourmet Pizzas & Pasta Grill

Victoria's Gourmet Pizzas & Pasta Grill

Destination: Manuel Antonio

The fragrance of fresh-baked garlic bread and pizza floats from the open kitchen greeting visitors as they walk into Victoria's Italian restaurant in Manuel Antonio. Rafa Mora, a traditional Spanish guitarist, provides the entertainment for the night with deft fingers that fill the air with a romantic atmosphere.

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Owners Mark and Gladis Dalton are proud to say that everything is made to order using quality ingredients including the fresh oregano they're drying with the residual heat from the top of the pizza oven. All the vegetables come from the local market; the seafood is sourced from the region while the beef is imported from Nicaragua. Victoria's 12- and 16-inch thin crust pizzas use Monteverde mozzarella and homemade tomato sauce (pizzas are available for take-out and delivery).

The appetizer list is limited, but it's difficult to imagine why you'd want to try anything except the fresh chipotle tuna, $15; lightly grilled tuna slices peppered with a chipotle-olive oil sauce.

For dinner, Victoria's serves mostly seafood pastas and grilled fare like the jumbo shrimp (or lobster) Italian sausage penne, market price, cooked with tender pasta, grilled shrimp and spicy sausage in a rich white wine sauce that makes it the most popular dish on the menu. The restaurant best-kept secret is in the Mama's Original Italian spaghetti and meatballs, $20, made using a 90-year old recipe passed down through the Dalton family.

The restaurant features a detailed and affordable wine list with servers capable of dishing out good recommendations, a full bar, and if that's not enough to drink, you could always try the bananas flambé for dessert; made at your table in a brilliant display of blue fire with rum, triple sec, bananas, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream, $5.

Ambiance

Victoria's is an Italian restaurant with an open kitchen and a patio that faces into the rainforest with nightly live music and a family-friendly atmosphere.

Service

Servers might come off a little overzealous, but at least it's in earnest. They're well-versed in the menu and offer decent recommendations on the wine list.

Price

Appetizers $8-$15; Entrees $15-$28

Hours

4 p.m.-10 p.m.

Victoria's Gourmet Pizzas & Pasta Grill in Pictures