Entertainment | Restaurants & Dining | April 2009
|Magna Magna: Italian Cuisine in Vallarta|
Gary R. Beck - PVNN
We were looking for a reasonably pleasant spot for Italian cuisine and stopped in Magna Magna chef/owner Luca's seven table café, and most were full after Easter - always a good sign. Luca is also the waiter, who stops by each table to discuss the menu with you. His experience comes from his work and studying in his home Italy so Puerto Vallarta is lucky to have his added talent here.
|Open Tuesday-Sunday from 1:30-10:30 pm, Magna Magna is located at Lázaro Cárdenas 288 on the South side of Puerto Vallarta. For more information, call (322) 222-3881.|
The restaurant's deep orange walls are decorated with murals painted by Luca's brother-in-law, featuring famous Mexicans, such as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera along with whimsical figures of Bob Marley and Johnny Depp in his Pirates of the Carribean garb. Even hanging plants decorate the windows and walls, only they are painted on. One has to look twice to realize the optical illusion.
All the pastas and sauces are made by Luca and, since all of the dishes are made-to-order, you can order your favorite pasta with any of the sauces listed on the menu. I spotted Gnocchi Genovese, and when Luca explained that Genovese sauce is Pesto with cut green beans and small dices of fresh tomato, and Pesto is one of my favorite sauces, that sounded just fine to me.
To me, there's nothing worse than being served Gnocchi that's hard enough to play soft ball with, so after I quizzed him about how light and tender his Gnocchi are, I was sold. Luca also recommended the Lasagna, which both of my companions ordered.
After ordering, an excellent bread was presented with a creamy dipping sauce made with various herbs, both dried and fresh. The mixture varies by what is currently available locally.
Very shortly the entrees arrived. The Gnocchi were so light one did not need a fork. The sauce very fresh and flavorful with the plate most generous, complimented by fresh steamed vegetables. The beans were properly al dente and the tomato kept shape so the sauce did not turn into a red sauce. This was a dish worth repeating.
The Lasagna was a large square with layers of meat and Balinese sauce. The pasta was firm but easily cut, and the filling was tasty and plentiful. One guest was part Italian, and he declared it to be true to its origin.
Open Tuesday-Sunday from 1:30-10:30 pm, Magna Magna is located at Lázaro Cárdenas 288 on the South side of Puerto Vallarta. For more information, call (322) 222-3881.
After 20 years in the San Francisco restaurant business, Gary R. Beck turned his attentions to cooking, dining out, creating recipes and exploring Puerto Vallarta's rich array of eateries. Famous for his restaurant guide, available online at CafePress.com or Lulu.com, Gary also writes restaurant reviews for Puerto Vallarta newspapers, Bay Area magazines, and now, a feature column for BanderasNews.com. Contact Gary at garyrbeck1(at)yahoo.com.
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