We ate at the Bungalow in Tela. Its a small place that is a favorite with locals and expats alike. We wandered upon it and noticed the low prices. We asked a few expats that we ran into about it and everyone had great things to say. We loved our food and ended up staying for hours talking to Norman, the owner of the restaurant, from Louisiana. I ordered the filet mignon and shrimp and highly recommend the fried shrimp and the delicious sauce that comes with it (pineapple sauce...mmmm). People all over town were raving about his lasagna, also. We enjoyed the atmosphere so much, we will probably go back tonight.
The beauty of travel is when you end up having the time of your life in some joint that sounds more like a garage than a food stand.
I had spent a while taking photos of the Tela Pier under increasingly menacing skies. By the time I was back "in town," a downpour had started, so I took shelter in this fried chicken place. Like many places that serve Coca Cola, it is surrounded by a fence painted white and red.
Twenty or so other people had the same idea as me, and we formed a varied group: older men guzzling down rum, little boys peeing between the slats in the fence, young lovers, harried mothers, dogs with upset stomachs...
We ended up staying almost two hours, until after dark. The rain was fierce and the restaurant turned into an island for a moment. I spent the whole time nursing a sickeningly sweet grape soda and eating papas fritas.
One block from the beach, this is a very inviting indoor-outdoor place with powerful fans. The service is slow, but I had good tipico breakfast (desanuyo) there. Early in the morning, the place was quiet, but it looked much busier at dinner time.
Luces del Norte must cater to foreign visitors on occasion: I saw a small English language book exchange program there.
This restaurant is part of a fancy (for Tela) beach hotel. I went there to sample the most famous North coast dish: Sopa de Caracol (conch soup). It was a good curried bisque with plentiful and pleasantly chewy bits of conch meat. Service was fine, in a laidback way, and the view was very special: the Atlantic ocean and palms under the tropical rain.
The soup is really a whole meal, as it comes with rice, fried plantain, and little "pan de coco" biscuits.
Although this is an upscale restaurant, the atmosphere is casual. Most tourists when I was there were Hondurans.
In La Ensenada, one of the small Garifuna-villages around Tela, you can have a nice local meal, for only a few dollars and at a great location: directly at the beach, with a view over the Caribbean Sea.
At the beachside of La Ensenada you will find more small restaurants where you can get a local meal. The restaurant I went to was at the most eastern point of the "boulevard": a small roofed terrace in poles. The kitchen is unique: one big stone oven, and some big cooking pots where the meals are prepared on woodfire.
The food you can get here is only local. The small menu is written down on a blackboard and the choice you can make is seafood, seafood or seafood. I took seafood: a fried fish with fried bananas, rice and black beans. After a few weeks in the region you will get sick of this because you will get this everywhere, but since I wasn't around that long yet at the time, I really enjoyed it. And the costs: about 3 dollars...
And a great thing to drink with it is a cool and very refreshing "Barena" beer.
Probably one of the best places to have a perfect seafood meal is at the Telamar Resort at the westbank of the Rio Tela, Tela Nuevo. Here you'll find a great sandy beach and the pavillions of the Resort built directly at the seaside. At the restaurant you can just have a cold drink and enjoy the great view, even when you are not a guest of the hotel, or you can have one of the great seafood dishes they can serve you here.
After a couple of "Salva Vida" beers, we got really hungry and we asked the menu of the restaurant. Lots of seafood dishes (and some other meals too) sounded very good, and in the end I decided to try the "Camarones". This is a very fresh meal with shrimps in lemon juice, with lots of onions and salad. This was a very, very tasty dish and well worth the 4 dollars I had to pay for it!
Generally Telamar is not a cheap place compared the to rest of Tela, but the view, the friendly service and the great food makes it well worth the extra few bucks.
Right across the street from Garifuna Tours, at only 20 metres west from the Parque Central, you will find the very nice place to have a good breakfast: Tuty's. In this small place you will find lots of small pastries, cakes and other bread varieties: chocolate muffins, banana cakes, raisin rolls and many more things. All of this will make a great breakfast, for example before you are going out of town on one of Garifuna Tours' daytours.
You can also get some freshly made fruitjuices and cocktails which are very good! And all you can get here will never cost you more then 1 dollar: maybe a bit more expensive then the average level in Tela, but still a good deal for the very nice meals they will serve you.
At the westside of the Parque Central you will find a very small "Comedor": a small restaurant where you can have a simple local meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The prices normally are very cheap, and with this one it was not different.
I had my breakfast here: some scrambled eggs, mashed black beans, a mais-tortilla and a cup of (instant) coffee. The eggs were very good, the cup of coffee too. The mais-tortilla never are my favorites and the mashed beans... looked more like chocolate milk. Not a very big success either. Of course the price was very cheap, so no real reasons to complain, but then there was the ambience:
I must say: the place had the atmosphere of a cell in deathrow: one small concrete room, hardly any space to move, hot and with only some plastic furniture inside. Even though the food was not disgusting and the prices were OK; there are much better places in Tela to enjoy a meal...
At one block west of the Parque Central, you will find a very nice, small restaurant at the corner of the street. The restaurant says "Chinese Restaurant" on the frontdoor, but do not expect too many Chinese specialities inside.
What you do see inside are some posters of China, and the TV that is always switched on, and a very friendly lady who will be more that happy to serve you. What also is quite special, is that there is an actual menu that you can choose your meals from, and I didn't even get a "No, we don't have that" for an answer when I ordered my delicious hamburger with fries.
The place is not expensive at all, and the menu is quite diverse too: there are all the local meals you see everywhere, some western dishes and to add the small "Chinese" accent, there are some dishes with rice too. My hamburger costed me about $ 2,- for a full plate that I couldn't even finish.
A good one!
Most of the restaurants have food like this, the fried fish is call "Pecado Sabroso". And it is often served with fried platanos....I must say this food is fantastic! I believe this meal cost me about 25 limpras, which wasn't even $2 USD! Those things next to the fork are eyeballs, apparently your suppose to eat them. I just couldn't!
Favorite Dish: The fish was probably the best fish i have ever had!
Tuty's is on the Calle de Comercio in Tela. It is a good place to get a cheap (but delicious!) lunch. It is probably most famous though for its refreshing drinks made from real tropical fruit. Open from 6am - 10pm and closed Sundays.
Pollo's al Carbon
This place is located near the new bridge in Tela. It has fantastic charcoal chicken served with coleslaw and fried platano.
(see picture). Although a little more up-market the Villas Telamar tourist resort has a couple of nice eating establishments. It is a bit more pricey than the local eateries but I often used to go there for a romantic dinner or to the Delfin Bar (on the beach) for a Strawberry Daiquiri as the sunset! This bar is open from 9am to 11pm.
Located on the pedestrian street in front of the beach. This place has really good food with seafood being their specialty. The restaurant is open from 7am and is a hotel also.
Located next to Cesar Mariscos, Sherwood is also a hotel/restaurant establishment. Open daily from 7am-10pm.
Luces del Norte
This is the place with the English speaking owner that I was taken to on my first day in Tela. They have great breakfasts and real fruit drinks. It is located one block north of the beach towards the central park, very close to my old school.
Located upstairs on a terrace at the Hotel Presidente overlooking central park. I once went to a wedding here (a friend of a friend!) and had a blast! They have a variety of food available although the prices are a bit higher compared to the smaller places.
Merendero Tia Carmen
I used to stop off here all the time for their delicious baleadas. You can choose your filling wrapped up in a mouth watering tortilla.
Two locations: On the Jose Cecilio del Valle Street (runs parallel to the calle de comercio) and across the street from the San Antonio Gym.
Favorite Dish: Pizzeria El Bambino
Located on the school road one block up from the beach. Has GREAT pizza and spaghetti dishes and a playground for kids. Open from 9.30am til 10pm.
Restaurante Los Angeles
This is Tela's Chinese food establishment. I recommend the Chop Suey dish. The portions are really big and eat in or take out are available. Open from 10am - 2 pm and then again at 5pm - 9.30pm. Located on the Comerical Street close to the old bridge.
Restaurante Puerto Rico
Located at the end of the Pedestrian Street in front of the beach on the first floor of the Hotel Puerto Rico. Open from 7am - midnight.
I have heard from my Teleno friends that there are many more restaurants now in Tela but these are the ones that I frequented and can personally recommend. I am sure that anywhere you decide to eat in Tela you will experience good food. Take the time to stop and chat with the owners of the establishments. They are always interested in talking to their customers!
To see more pictures and read about my time in Tela please take a look at the travelogue.