- Where to Go
- The Best of Nicaragua
- Nicaragua’s Best Surfing
- Hiking Nicaragua’s Ring of Fire
- Nicaraguan Arts & Crafts
- Nicaragua’s Great Green North
- Sportfishing in Nicaragua
- Down the Río San Juan
- Nicaragua’s Celebrations & Fiestas
- Volunteering in Nicaragua
- Diving & Snorkeling in Nicaragua
- Managua’s Revolutionary Driving Tour
The Estelíano diet is hardy and satisfying, but simple. Local venues tend to mostly serve steaks, fried chicken, and bowls of soup big enough to drown in. The nicest restaurants are found in the town’s upscale hotels and on the blocks around the park. Many of the places where locals eat are in the Entertainment and Events section.
Bakeries and Cafés
There is an excellent Spanish bakery, Repostería España, 3.5 blocks north of the central park, and a German one, Repostería Alemán, behind the cathedral.
Mocha Nana with a new location (half a block from the Parque Infantíl on the Avenida Central, tel. 505/2713-3164, mochanana [at] hotmail [dot] com, 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Sat.) is a perfect afternoon respite from the sun; in addition to fine cappuccinos, mochas, coffee, and espresso they have bagels, waffles, and a small English language bookstore and trade library.
Licuados Ananda has health foods, yogurt, natural juices, and fruit smoothies in a patio surrounding a pool. Try the vegetarian nacatamales, veggie burgers, and sandwiches. They also have educational opportunities on many facets of eastern and natural medicine. Also now open for dinner until 7 p.m.
The menu is simple, healthy, and homegrown at La Casita (across from La Barranca, south entrance, tel. 505/713-4917, casita [at] sdnnic [dot] org [dot] ni). Yogurt, home-baked breads, fresh cheeses, vegetables, granola, juices, and coffee drinks are all served in a pleasant garden atmosphere along the shore of a babbling brook. It’s on the Pan-American Highway a few kilometers south of the city, and is open 1–7 p.m. Monday, 7 a.m.–7 p.m. Tuesday–Saturday, and 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Sunday—closed first Monday of every month. Take an urbano bus to the new hospital, then walk south around the bend in the road; or hail a taxi for about $1.50—it’s well worth the trip. In addition to featuring wonderful food and mellow music, La Casita sells local crafts and plants, including herbs, ornamentals, and much much more.
Juventus Centro Cultural (two blocks west of the central park’s southwest corner, tel. 505/2713-3756, open 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Sat.) is situated on top of the hill that drops down to the river, making for great panoramas of the river and mountains to the west as you enjoy licuados, granola, open-face swiss and brie sandwiches, and hot drinks.
Fritanga and Comida Típica
For low cost and finger-lickin’ goodness, the many fritangas and pizza trucks in the park and scattered around are hard to beat. For excellent empanadas step across the street from La Galería de Héroes y Mártires at night. Also easy on the wallet is Don Pollo’s fried chicken, one block north and half a block east of the cathedral.
Cafe Luz, one block east and one block north of the church, serves a variety of international and comida típica fare that is particularly appealing to the gallo pinto–weary traveler.
Leche Agria (2.5 blocks south of la esquina de los bancos) serves excellent quesillos (cheese and tortilla snack), juices, and cheeses. Pupusas are traditionally from El Salvador but have been adopted to the Nicaraguan culture as well.
If you are in the mood for some great local food at an amazingly cheap price, try the little grill located behind the Hotel Estelí named Pupusas Nicaragua, by far the best in the country. There is no official sign, just look for the garage door painted with a Pepsi sign. At $0.50 per pupusa it makes a great way to fill up on local flavor at hardly any expense.
Comedor Popular La Soya (Ave. Principal, 2.5 blocks south of the park), true to its name, serves soy-based meals and soy milk drinks. For an excellent local breakfast or quick lunch for under $4, try Cafetín El Recanto two blocks south of the park. For quick and tasty lunch at the park, try Delicias Loco which offers a plate at lunchtime for about $2.50 including a drink or hamburgers and tacos at night.
For some of the best pizza in the country visit Dough Pizza, located on the highway just north of Tip Top. If you prefer quick good quality pizza by the slice, try Fresh Pizza La Segovia (2.5 blocks south, tel. 505/8853-8023).
For a bit of a splurge, try El Pullazo Olé (open 5–10 p.m. daily, $4–9) and join the fierce Nicaraguan competition for the best beef in the nation; they also serve fantastic sausages and desserts.
La Gran Vía (just south of la esquina de los bancos, closed Sun.) serves Chinese meals from $4.
For excellent Cuban cuisine try El Rincón Pinareño (tel. 505/2713-4309, 505/2713-0248) located two blocks south of the cathedral. It is a family-run establishment, serving authentic food served in an impeccable atmosphere.
For Italian, try Casa Vechia, one block south then one block west of la esquina de los bancos.
© Randall Wood & Joshua Berman from Moon Nicaragua, 4th Edition