Restaurants in San Juan del Sur

Your eating life in San Juan del Sur will quickly fall into an agreeable rhythm. Breakfast could start under an open air rancho, in an all-day breakfast spot on the sand, or street-style in the market - with huge fruit platters, gallo pinto (rice and beans) huevos rancheros (eggs with tomato salsa, tortillas and sour cream) and perhaps even a nacatamal (Nicaragua's version of the tamale).

Then at lunch you may find yourself using the one Spanish word that you need to know in order to dine well in San Juan del Sur: mariscos (seafood). Most of the fish is caught directly off shore and served with a refreshing simplicity - local chefs not feeling the need to add any cliched MasterChef flourishes.

As the shadows start to lengthen, happy hour spots open to showcase the giant sunsets San Juan del Sur is so famous for. Do as the locals do and order a bottle of Flor de Caña rum, a bucket of ice, a bottle of Coke and a dish of limes. Then it's time to choose between the variety of dinning spots dotted around town and along the beachside malecón. Or just stay where you are and ask to see the menu.

Take a look at some of the restaurants, cafes and bars you can enjoy in San Juan del Sur.

San Juan del Sur Cervecería: Hopps Trail Blazing

San Juan del Sur Cervecería, Craft beer and music in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua | Photo Credit : Mathyas Kurmann

Photo Credit | Mathyas Kurmann

Nicaragua is not known for its innovative brews and you won’t find many craft brewmasters in this part of the world.  In fact until recently, you’d be hard pressed to get your hands on anything other than a Toña or Victoria. Occasionally a seasonal variety would find its way to San Juan’s popular bars, but really Nicaragua is ‘rum country’ and Flor de Caña pretty much has the monopoly. 

But we’ve got good news for beers lovers.  All that’s changing.   The craft beer scene is slowly, very slowly, finding its way down to our beloved beach town.  And San Juan del Sur Cervecería owners Brendan DeBlois, Matt Greenberg and Bobby Hottensen are leading the way.

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Día de Los Donuts: Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth

Graphic Design by Bryan Clark Design in Nicaragua

Graphic Design by Bryan Clark Design in Nicaragua

There’s a sweet new aroma in town that’s difficult to resist.

Día De Los Donuts, San Juan del Sur’s first ever donut shop, opened it’s doors on March 15, 2015.  Artfully decorated with brightly colored walls and a beautifully hand painted Day of the Dead themed mural, the cozy storefront entices locals and travelers alike.
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7 Mouth Watering Delights in San Juan del Sur


01 Super Frutto Gelateria

It’s difficult to beat Italian ice-cream on a hot sunny day in San Juan del Sur.  Super Frutto serves up dozens of seasonal flavors all made in-house with fresh natural ingredients. Cup or waffle cone, mix and match, pick your topping.

02 Red Velvet Cupcakes at Gato Negro

The queen of all cupcakes has made its way to San Juan del Sur.  We heard it first directly from the mouth of owner/visionary Kelly at Gato Negro. Romantic red cake sponge with chocolate chips and homemade cream cheese frosting.  And for you chocoholics and coffee lovers, it’s worth noting that their Expresso Fudge Brownie combines four types of chocolate with lots of expresso.


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Buddha’s Garden: From Field to Fork

Buddhas Garden Dinner.jpergRaw foodies and health nuts will love this sleek new space adjoining Zen Yoga. Bridget Perry and Matt Hamilton have brought healthy and conscious eating to San Juan del Sur with a cuisine that’s entirely 100% gluten, dairy and sugar free.

Their mission is:

To provide food and beverage options that offer complete nourishment for the body, mind and soul. We source our products from sustainable and organic sources and assure a wide variety of raw and vegan options to make even those who prefer meat think twice.

From seasonal green juices to hangover cures, the food is not only delicious, it’s guiltless.  Their wide variety of raw and vegan meal options make eating healthy a treat. In addition to salads, entrees and smoothies, they offer one, three and seven day juice cleanse packages.
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Republika: Tradition Reinvented

Republika BarIf I had to describe the Republika Bar in one word only it would be beloved.

Since I moved to San Juan del Sur almost 8 years ago, I have watched the bar go through four generations of ownership.  I think it’s safe to say that Mandy and Cory Dwyer put the bar on most people’s radar, winning the hearts of expats with the combined vibe of laid back surfers, sports enthusiasts and Southern hospitality.  They established Trivia Night Tuesdays, had a regular weekly poker following and made Republika the go-to spot for watching sports events.  Their departure left a hole in the hearts of many San Juaneños and big shoes to fill. 

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6 Top Spots for Coffee in San Juan del Sur

coffee shopNicaraguan growers have been producing quality coffee since the 1850s, so it was only a matter of time before specialist coffee shops serving local beans started to open in San Juan del Sur.

So whether you’re a long time resident, interested in relocating to San Juan del Sur or planning a visit, I give you 6 great spots to get your caffeine fix (plus a bonus spot).  And best of all, San Juan del Sur is still a chain free zone.
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Hotel Victoriano Serves up a Sense of Occasion

Victoriano 1

Hotel Victoriano is a San Juan del Sur landmark and I’d heard good things about the onsite “Vintage Restaurant”.  So when my two dining companions suggested we meet there for lunch, I jumped at the opportunity.

The mansion was built in the early 1900s by British immigrant William Cross, using materials shipped over from England. It later became a weekend retreat for the ruling Somoza family, before being carefully restored into the 21 room Hotel Victoriano.

We were the only ones here for lunch but that didn’t seem to take away from the sense of occasion. [Read more…]

Cha Cha Cha: A Small Restaurant with Big Flavor

Cha cha cha

If you’re craving comfort food accompanied by a cozy candlelit vibe, Cha Cha Cha is your place.

After investing 7 years in Costa Rica managing the “The Time Out Tavern” sports bar, brothers Glenn and Steven Graham took a time out of their own. They traveled north in search of a new country, a new vibe and a new flavor. [Read more…]

La Carreta: A Smokin’ Party on Monday Nights


Located on a choice corner on the only road leading into San Juan del Sur and the beach, La Carreta Bar y Restaurante is where it’s at on Monday nights.  It’s no secret that this corner bar has seen a few face lifts over the years, but we’ve never seen it as hopping as it currently is under Claus’ management. [Read more…]

Big Wave Daves: A Legendary Roadhouse

Big Wave Dave's 1

Big Wave Dave’s has a legendary status among expats and travelers looking to dust off their boots (or the sand off their sandals) in search of a hearty meal and a cold draft beer.  The roadhouse has been renovated and re-invented over the years, but the laid back home-away-from-home vibe is authentic.

The Vibe

It’s a place you go to eat turkey dinner for Thanksgiving when you live thousands of miles away from family. It’s a costume party on Halloween and the spot to drink a Guinness on St Patrick Day.  It’s the home of the Farmers Market on Saturday mornings during rainy season.  It’s where you go to play Bingo on Mondays and to listen to the Blues on Sunday afternoons. And the bar is one place in town where ex-pats can always find company. [Read more…]