- 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 Granada dining scene is in constant rotation, with old favorites disappearing, new contenders, and creative experimentation. We’ve pointed out some of our favorite picks here, but you won’t go hungry if you simply stroll lakeward down Calle La Calzada, where the city’s dining scene is at its most intense.
Garden Cafe (Calle la Libertad, one block east of central plaza, tel. 505/2552-8582, open 7 a.m.–3 p.m. Mon.–Sat., under $5) is great for breakfasts, or try the orange-infused French toast at Hotel Casa San Francisco (kitty-corner to the Convento San Francisco, from 7 a.m. daily); ask for a table on the sidewalk.
Kathy’s Waffle House (across from Convento San Francisco, open 7 a.m.–2 p.m. daily, $4) is a favorite for breakfast with its American-style pancakes, biscuits and gravy, eggs and bacon, omelets, and a lot more—Kathy, a young Granada native, passed away in 2010; we hope this town favorite remains open.
Another greasy spoon–style breakfast joint is Nica Buffet, just south of the park, where you’ll find both gringo breakfasts and heaping plates of platano maduro and gallo pinto (turn off your cell phone and behave if you don’t want to end up on the owner’s black list).
Finally, in a pinch, you can always fall back on the infamous monster breakfast burritos at the Bearded Monkey hostel (across from the fire station).
Euro Cafe (northwest corner of central plaza, open 7:30 a.m.–9 p.m. daily) serves homemade gelato, pastries, panini, fresh hummus, fruit juices, and strong coffee drinks; there’s free Wi-Fi. And a block south of the park, Jardin d’Orion (open afternoons and evenings) serves quality salads, seafood specialities, and fruit juice blends.
Garden Cafe (Calle la Libertad, one block east of central plaza, tel. 505/2552-8582, thegardencafe.granada [at] gmail [dot] com, open 7 a.m.–3 p.m. Mon.–Sat., under $4) is a wonderful respite from the heat, with a cool space to enjoy gourmet sandwiches, salads, smoothies, and coffee drinks; the artsy patio is a great place to crank the Wi-Fi.
Café Don Simon on the west side of the park serves up burgers, sandwiches, roast chicken, and more; but you can sample expertly prepared Nicaraguan classics at Comida Típica, just behind the cathedral.
Pizza and Italian
Locals and backpackers rave about the prices at Telepizza (Calle El Arsenal, 1.5 blocks east of Bancentro, tel. 505/2552-4219, open 10 a.m.–10 p.m. daily), with large pies from $6 and delivery available; the gigantic $3 stuffed calzones may be one of the best deals in town.
You’ll find more authentic pizza at Monna Lisa (Calle La Calzada, tel. 505/2552-8187). Get real, thin-crust Italian pizza baked in a wood-fired oven at Don Luca’s (Calle La Calzada, tel. 505/2552-7822).
Find lamb chops with fresh mint, flaming breast of duck, and top-notch filet mignon, among other inspired dinners at Imagine Café (tel. 505/2552-4672 or 505/8842-2587, www.imaginerestaurantandbar.com) which also has a decent bit of live music some evenings. All meals are carefully handcrafted from local, and usually organic, ingredients.
El Tercer Ojo (Calle El Arsenal across from Convento San Francisco, tel. 505/2552-6451, open 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Tues.–Sun.) offers everything from Spanish tapas and sushi to gorgonzola pasta, kebabs, and fine wine in a gauzy lounge of candles and soothing music.
Nectars (a block east of the park, open 10:30 a.m.-11 p.m. daily) has found the right spot between casual and classy, with a stylish appetizer menu featuring goat cheese and babaganoush, salads, and crepes, plus a long fruit juice menu.
Doña Conchi (Calle Caimito, two blocks east of the cathedral, tel. 505/2552-7376, closed Tues.) has one of the more intimate atmospheres in Granada, and serves fresh dinner salads, seafood, and pitchers of sangria in a lush garden setting.
One door west, El Mediterraneo (tel. 505/2552-6764, closed Mon.) is another elegant Spanish restaurant set in an airy garden patio adorned with colorful artwork; readers love this place.
El Arcángel Restaurant at La Gran Francia (tel. 505/2552-6000, open at 7 a.m. for breakfast, then noon–10 p.m. daily) features an exquisite fusion of Latin American ingredients with international cuisine; fancy entrées like whiskey-glazed steak, pastas, and banana and brown-sugar coated snapper fillet run $12–20.
For lip-smacking, upscale Nicaraguan dishes and steaks, don’t miss El Zaquan (open noon–3 p.m. and 6 p.m.–closing daily), located behind the main cathedral—your nose should lead you to the meat-draped open-flame grill and dishes like churrasco jalapeño (around $9).
© Randall Wood & Joshua Berman from Moon Nicaragua, 4th Edition