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By Sara Moore

I discovered a jewel in Manabi. Approximately 30 minutes from Manta, this fabulous restaurant discovery is on the outskirts of Montecristi. Located on the upper slopes of the Montecristi mountain, 200 meters above sea level. This amazing location gives visitors an awesome panoramic view of Montecristi, Manta and the Pacific Ocean.

This jewel is the Italian restaurant Trattoria Da Gabriele. They specialize in a variety of Italian dishes, prepared fresh with homemade sauces, pastas and sausages. They also offer other meats and seafood. Furthermore, this restaurant is a family business with strong roots in Europe. The operators are very friendly and accommodating and they have been here since 2000. They actually operated in Manta first, before relocating to Montecristi.

The Italian food is authentic and spectacular, and the atmosphere and ambience are beautiful and tranquil. We were immediately greeted and the server was very friendly, pleasant and attentive. We were seated in the rotunda, which is surrounded by double door windows. This area offered stunning views of the city below, mountains and the Pacific Ocean in the distance and also provided us with cool cross breezes during our entire visit. We were served our chosen beverages and hot bread topped with butter and garlic. We ordered the sangria which was lively with wine, limes and apples. We then ordered several dishes. First we had the onion soup infused with white wine and brandy from their appetizers. It was delicious and hearty. The three entrees we had were filet mignon wrapped in homemade bacon, served with the signature mushroom sauce and steamed vegetables on the side, lasagna alfredo with creamy chicken, white wine and ham, and pasta carbonara with cheese. All three entrees were absolutely fantastic! They also have several dessert choices, however the meal was so filling and satisfying that we had no room for dessert this time.

This restaurant has an authentic, old world Italian feel. The surroundings are full of trees, plants, stone and brick. It's very warm and welcoming. The aesthetics give you a feeling of being in Italy at a charming family restaurant on an old cobblestone street. They also have a full pool on the lower level with tables and chairs throughout that terrace area for alternative seating choices. I would absolutely encourage our residents of Manta to take the short drive to this location. You will be extremely happy with the location, ambience, service and meal! The prices are good as well, that's an extra bonus.


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