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.

Simon Says: Get your Healthy On


Despite the easy going vibe there seems to be a lot happening at Simon Says, a no-frills spot in the heart of downtown San Juan del Sur. In one corner patrons are playing card games, in another avocados are tossed with tomatoes and olives, books are being exchanged and smoothies are being blended behind the counter.

“Just a couple of years ago it was hard to eat healthily in San Juan del Sur” said my lunch companion as she contemplated the menu. But today we’re sitting in what could almost be described as a US style juice and salad bar. Almost, because the Argentinian owners have given the place a super casual, cheerful feel that fits well with what San Juan del Sur is all about. If you’re wearing more than flip flops here, you’re overdressed. [Read more…]

Jugoso: Organic Dishes and Authentic Spanish Flavor

Jugoso sign (Susan Hogan)

Photo Credit : Susan Hogan

Picture this:

You have just finished an epic surf session. You are craving a healthy plate filled with lots of fresh vegetables and possibly the catch of the day. Beans and rice just won’t cut it right now. You want the option of either a fresh blended healthy fruit drink or an ice-cold beer. Your feet are sandy. The surfboards are in the back of your pick-up truck and you want to park somewhere in town where you can keep an eye on your belongings. You also want to watch the sunset into the ocean to complete the almost perfect day.

Where do you go?
[Read more…]

Banana Hamacas: A chill spot for healthy food

This is an archive post. Banana Hamacas is no longer in business

Banana Hammocks Art

It is difficult to make a case for a better smoothie shop in San Juan del Sur.

I am sitting on a wooden bar stool leaning up against the Banana Hamacas’ artfully painted interior mural wall. The colorful waves decorated with surfing bananas establishes the vibe of the restaurant. I hear Jack Johnson’s mellow tunes playing on the surround sound stereo system in the background. The music fits the atmosphere perfectly.

A giant fishbowl style glass is delivered to my table. My banana-avacado-cashew-coconut-cinnamon smoothie has just arrived and I couldn’t be happier.

Banana Hamacas offers 6 varieties of smoothies, and every one of them is as diverse in flavor as my order. Ingredients range from dark chocolate and peanut butter to blueberry and mint. For those of you who have spent time in Nicaragua, you know that blueberries and peanut butter are not easy to come by.

[Read more…]

Barrio Café: Drop by and say “Hola”

Barrio Cafe Expresso Bar
Located on the corner of a busy intersection plumb in the heart of downtown, Barrio Café is where people come to eat, banter, people-watch, and then get going again. The service is efficient (even when the place is crowded), the all-day breakfast very tasty and they serve a robust espresso-style coffee (the beans come from high altitude farms in Matagalpa, a region in northern Nicaragua).

The top bar has big windows that open onto the street. Order a michelada (a salty beer prepared with lime juice, spices, salsa and peppers) and perch on one of the high seats to catch the action of San Juan del Sur’s downtown. There’s a taxi stand opposite where drivers call out for fares, chicken buses clatter past and surf shuttles load and off-load right outside. If that’s all a bit much, you can retreat to the shady back courtyard for some alone time with your gallo pinto.
[Read more…]

Terraza de Palermo: A Destination in Itself

Terraza de Palermo

Whether you are staying at Villas de Palermo Hotel & Resort, or another location in San Juan del Sur, Terraza de Palermo is a destination in itself. There are three good reasons to pay a visit to Terraza de Palermo; the food, the pool and the views.

Situated in the neighborhood of Palermo and located within Villas de Palermo Resort, Terraza de Palermo is slowly but surely gaining recognition for its’ eclectic menu and seafood specials. If lobster is in season, the seafood stuffed lobster should not go unordered. If you are hungry for shrimp, try the 25 Shrimp grilled to your taste with choice of tempura, scampi and breaded seasonings.

[Read more…]

Meson Español: Dining on the Malecón just got Fancier

Meson Espanol Restaurant San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

We’re sitting at a wooden table in a white washed room, just a few steps from the sand looking out over the San Juan del Sur Bay. It’s hard to think of a more picturesque dining venue than Meson Español. The entire two-level dining area is open to the beach, so you can watch the ocean from any spot you choose.

After serving up great Spanish food in Managua’s Gallerías Santo Domingo, we were pleased to see them finally open a San Juan del Sur branch right on the malecón. It’s a good sign for San Juan del Sur’s dining scene when popular Managuan restaurants come to town.

It also means that when it comes to food, the malecón just got a whole lot fancier.

[Read more…]

Arribas: A Beachfront Bar with Great Vibes


On some nights, the crowd at Arribas will keep dancing until 4 or 5 in the morning. This kind of popularity does not happen by chance. The owners have spent the time to build out an imaginative event calendar mixing in guest DJs, special party nights, live benefit concerts and sports screenings.

The brushed concrete floor, metal furniture, hardwood railings and clean lines give the place a stripped back, minimalist vibe that carries all the nighttime activity effortlessly. Make sure you check out the meticulously built Flor de Caña bottle wall at the entrance when you next walk by.

As the sun begins to set and the air cools, out come the squashy cushions and the sofas on the sand. Grab a spot fast as as few hours later it will be standing room only as the DJs take things up a notch and the place transforms from cocktail bar to nightclub.

[Read more…]

El Timón: Watch Live Performances & Sample Nicaraguan Cuisine


Photo Credit: Justin Courter

Located in a prime beachfront position, shaded by a tall, multi-level thatch roof, El Timón has been serving up typical Nicaraguan food since 1979. It’s easily one of the most established restaurants in town.

Practically every visitor comes at least once during their stay to watch live performances while sampling delicious local specialties. It’s hard to miss: El Timon is located right where the main entrance road meets the beach.

But the secret to El Timón’s long lived popularity is not just the prime location. The food and drink stand up well and the owners keep adding new events, introducing new dishes and inviting skillful performers.

[Read more…]

A Superb Panorama Awaits You At El Jardin Hotel & Restaurant


Overlooking the superb panorama of Nacascolo bay, this 11 roomed boutique hotel has one of the best views of the area. And, around here, that’s saying something…

Perched on a hill and drenched in a spectrum of bright paint colors, the boxy architecture of the hotel cleverly exploits the areas greatest resources – sun and sea. The large swimming pool is surrounded by sprawling terraces and chaise longues to laze around in. Those seeking a shadier spot can steal away to smaller seating areas dotted around the place, or retreat to their private terrace (most of the rooms have one).
[Read more…]

We’ve Got a Lot of Love for Howler Bar


“Would you like that served in a coconut, chicas?”

We’d just ordered two spicy rum drinks and started a conversation with the friendly barman. “Yes please!” we answered. I mean who doesn’t want a drink served in a coconut? It’s an appropriate introduction to Howler Bar, a hip new entrant on San Juan del Sur’s bar scene.

The place is fast building a reputation for the most creative cocktail and food menu around town. On our visit everyone was ripping into their fantastic garlic fries and knocking back Mojitos. But we went straight for the beautifully marinated beef kebabs and Howler ensalada. And those drinks we ordered? Perfectly balanced and outrageously spicy (we went for the jalapeño number).

[Read more…]