Restaurante Guancascos (tel. 504/656-1219, 7 a.m.–10 p.m. daily) has cornered the market on travelers, and it’s easy to see why. The restaurant, with a fine view over Gracias and the surrounding countryside, is run by a friendly and knowledgeable Dutch woman who offers Honduran standards at reasonable prices. Something vegetarian is always available. The food might take a while to arrive, so relax with a couple of beers and talk with other travelers about the many places to see around Gracias. Books and handicrafts are for sale, camping gear for Celaque hikes is rented here, and you can arrange rides to the park and guided trips with Walter Murcia, who can be contacted through the restaurant. You can also look at topographical maps for the area, although they aren’t for sale.
Rinconcito Graciano (tel. 504/656-1171) serves both creative and traditional Lenca dishes with all-natural ingredients in an atmospheric environment with wood tables and Lencan decor. The chicken in a loroco-spinach-mushroom sauce is delicious, as are the fruit juices and atoles that come served in cups made of gourds. The artesanías adorning the walls are all locally made. The owner, Lizeth Perdomo, is a fervent preservationist of local culture, one of the community guides, and a great source of information on the region. She can be contacted for guiding information at 504/9869-1335 (Spanish only). The restaurant is sometimes closed when Lizeth is running errands, but just give her a call and she’ll come cook you a meal.
Around the corner from Guancascos, El Gran Caudillo, “the great chief,” so named in honor of Chief Lempira, serves tasty tacos (US$3.50 for a plate of four) and dishes not found on most Honduran menus, such as beef “Gordon Blue” (US$10) and chicken lollipops (US$3.50).
El Jarrón, in new digs a few minutes walk from the center along the highway, has low-priced desayunos and cenas (US$2–3) as well as a special “Jarrón-style soup”—cream of corn with chunks of beef, chicken, or pork, served with rice and tortillas (US$2). There is a small shop with artesanías and coffee as well. Owner Marco Aurelio Rodriguez (tel. 504/656-0627 or 504/9870-8821, guiamarcolencas [at] yahoo [dot] com) is the coordinator of the local guide association, and he has a van available if you need transportation. They are also building guest rooms on the property.
Pizza (US$7–11) with a thick, crispy crust and smothered in cheese is the specialty at Colina San Cristóbal (closed Sunday evenings), a tableclothed restaurant near San Sebastián church. The small makes for two generous portions. Burgers, fish, and the standard comida típica are available as well. The cheaper and much more basic Pizzeria y Repostería La Esquisita is always hopping with locals, and offers cake to go with your pizza.
Mesón de Don Juan at the hotel has all the usual suspects, plus items like French toast and omelets for breakfast (US$3–4), as well as churrasco (Argentine-style grilled beef, US$8) and pasta for dinner (US$7–11).
For bargain eats, head to the street corner by the Posada de Don Juan, where ladies set up charcoal barbecues in the evenings. You can stock up on supplies at the mini grocery store Super El Milagro.
© Chris Humphrey and Amy E. Robertson from Moon Honduras, 5th Edition