My girlfriend and I ate lunch at El Ancla seafood restaurant during a visit to Guardalavaca in November 2011.
We walked along Playa Guardalavaca beach to reach this restaurant as it is located on a rocky headland at the far western end of the beach. It is quite remarkable that El Ancla remained intact after Hurricane Ike hit the town in 2008; even on the relatively calm day that we visited, a strong sea breeze was whistling through the open windows of the dining room!
The restaurant is bright with large windows on three sides, affording excellent sea views. The walls of the restaurant feature sealife paintings in bright colours. There is also an outdoor terrace with a couple of plastic tables on it - but it was a little too breezy to sit out, so we opted for an indoor table.
The menu is fairly small and is dominated by seafood; in fact just three options, fish, shrimps and lobster, account for most of the menu.
Starters include fish cocktail (2.00 CUC / 1.20 GBP), shrimp cocktail (2.75 CUC / 1.65 GBP), lobster cocktail (3.95 CUC / 2.40 GBP) and vegetable salad (1.00 CUC / 0.60 GBP).
Mains include grilled shrimps (6.95 CUC / 4.20 GBP) and grilled lobster (full for 25.90 CUC / 15.50 GBP or half for 12.95 CUC / 7.75 GBP).
There are also a couple of special set menu meals:
"Grillada El Ancla" - 1/2 grilled lobster, grilled shrimps and 1/2 fillet of fish served with french fries;
"Blue Sea Combination" - 1/2 grilled lobster, 1/2 grilled shrimps served with french fries, rice, coffee, dessert and a national drink.
I was keen to sample the grilled lobster for which the restaurant is locally renowned, and I really wish that I had, but I was put off by the fact that I have no idea how I'm supposed to eat it! Which bits are actually edible and which bits are supposed to be peeled away. I instead stuck to familiar territory and my long time favourite dish of grilled shrimps.
Grilled Shrimps - Price: 6.95 CUC / 4.20 GBP
Dozens of small shrimps cooked in garlic butter and served with crispy french fries, boiled rice, cucumber and pickled onions. The shrimps certainly didn't disappoint - they were fresh and tasty!
Bucanero beer - Price: 1.15 CUC / 0.70 GBP
A 355ml can of Cuban Bucanero beer; a 5.4% lager.
As Emma doesn't like seafood, she opted for some bread and butter (0.95 CUC / 0.60 GBP), which was actually a bowl of thin cheese crackers, and a plate of french fries (1.45 CUC / 0.90 GBP).
We both ended our meal with a bowl of Helados (Cuban ice cream) (1.00 CUC / 0.60 GBP) which was lovely and creamy and tasted similar to vanilla.
The staff were friendly and efficient and spoke English reasonably well.
The restaurant was empty when we arrived, but by the time we left the outdoor tables were occupied with people enjoying drinks overlooking the sea. As Guardalavaca's hotels tend to cater to tourists on an all-inclusive basis, I suspect this restaurant doesn't get as much custom as it deserves, which is a real shame.
Lovely fresh seafood at the end of Playa Guardalavaca. Recommended!
All inclusive deal included food of course which was rather bland, tasteless, fat and uninteresting. Also - sinful if one remembers that most Cubans are not allowed entry to the resorts and that their daily meals consist of variations of rice with beans with rice with beans on top of rice with beans...
Not particularly cheap, but excellent seafood, El Ancla is a nice change from your hotel, and if you are lucky, you may catch their local fig leaf playing musician!