Local dishes include tapado, a seafood stew made from prawns, fish, and shellfish, seasoned with plantains, yucca, and coriander, and cooked in coconut milk. Tortillas de harina are flour tortillas stuffed with cheese, or anything else for that matter.
As for restaurants, Safari (northern end of 5a Avenida, tel. 7948-0563, 10 a.m.–9 p.m.) is popular with locals for its large portions of excellent seafood dishes ($7–10) served in style on an open air, thatched-roofed platform over the sea. It also does excellent chicken and meat dishes ($4–6).
Another good seafood option is the restaurant at Hotel La Caribeña (4a Avenida between 10 and 11 Calles, tel. 7948-0384), known for its caldo de mariscos and tapado. For lighter fare, try the rice and beans.
For burgers, tortillas de harina and delicious fajitas, head to Pepín Burger (17 Calle between 8a and 9a Avenida, closed Tues.) in a second-floor terrace where you can catch the tropical breezes.
The only real coffee shop in town is El Cafecito (13 Calle between 6a and 7a Avenidas, 7:30 a.m.–11 p.m. Mon.–Sat.), where you can enjoy espresso beverages and pair them with tasty pastries and bagels.
Another stylish option for seafood and international dishes is La Fonda de Quique (corner 12 Calle and 5a Avenida) in a pleasant air-conditioned dining room with formal tablecloths.
The best steak house in town is the Rincón Uruguayo (7a Avenida and 16 Calle, closed Mon.), serving excellent parrilladas (grilled meats South American–style), papas asadas, and cebollines (grilled spring onions).
If you’re staying at the Hotel Marbrissa (25 Calle y 20 Avenida, Colonia Virginia, tel. 7948-0940, www.marbrissa.com ) or nearby, try its excellent restaurant/bar set on the second floor of a large palapa-style building above the hotel lobby and overlooking the swimming pool. Parrots roam the premises while you dine on excellent seafood, grilled steaks, pasta, and other international dishes. There are a pool table and a large flat-screen TV.