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Fodor's Costa Rica 2014
El Lagarto Review
With varnished wooden tables scattered across the sand amid ficus and Indian almond trees, close enough to the sea to hear the surf above the mix of Latin music on the stereo, El Lagarto has real surf and turf, and Sámara's best buzz by far. The food—fresh, local seafood and high-quality meat, from lean Brahman cattle, is grilled to perfection on a massive, open-air barbecue. The name means "the Crocodile," but you won't find croc steaks on the menu. You can, however, sink your teeth into juicy tenderloin, lamb chops, mahimahi, prawns, tuna, mussels, chicken breast stuffed with mushrooms and cheese, portobello mushrooms, or a whole grilled lobster. You won't find any barbecue sauce here; everything is simply brushed with extra-virgin olive oil seasoned with a bit of garlic, salt, and pepper to complement the flavor of the wood. Dinners include grilled vegetables and potatoes; a salad is à la carte. Vegetarians can order the grilled mixed mushrooms. They have a kids' menu, an ample wine list, and an extensive cocktail selection, not to mention banana splits. Tax and service are not included on the menu prices, so expect to pay 23 percent more than advertised.
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