I was staying at Albergue Ecológico El Porvenir and also had several meals there. During the day I was usually away, but in the morning it was very convenient to have breakfast before starting daily activities. The food was served on two separate terraces under thatched roofs, surrounded by lush tropical garden and with splendid views of the Vulcán Concepción. On each terrace are a few rustic tables and chairs (both made of tree brances, very beautiful), and hammocks. After the meal I normally moved into hammock to relax and have a coffee or beer, soaking up the magnificent scenery.
I had two breakfasts here. The first one consisted of banana pancakes with honey, lemonade and coffee, while the other day I opted for fruit pancakes with honey, pineaple juice and coffee. After arrival at El Porvenir the first day I was rather tired from the long journey so I decided to take it easy, have lunch and then slowly get use to the new environment. The lunch was really good, two fresh trouts from the lake with carrot, red pepper and cooked potatoes. I rinsed it with a cold Victoria beer and had a good cup of organic coffee after the meal. At the evening I was not particularly hungry so I only had a portion of tostones with white cheese ontop, and slices of fresh tomatoes, cucumber and lettuce. The light dinner was accompanied with another Victoria beer.
All in all, tasty meals at reasonable price and quick and friendly service in a very pleasant surroundings.
more pics in the travelogue
El Canto is an experimental finca (farm) with social, agricultural and tourism projects, located in the community of Santa Cruz, a short walk from the main road. The exceptional location allows you to enjoy some of the most beautiful views on the island. Several petroglyphs are found on the property. The main building is surrounded by lush tropical gardens with flowers that attract thousands of butterflies, hummingbirds and various other species of birds. They offer simple but colourful rooms with private bathrooms. There is a wide and breezy veranda with hammocks and rocking chairs, and the view of Vulcán Concepción.
But the main reason of my visit of El Canto was to have lunch in their restaurant which was supposed to be very good. A peaceful open air restaurant is surrounded by tropical fruit trees (mango, papaya, guava, guanábana) and has a gorgeous view to the lake, volcano and a vegetable garden which supplies cucumber, climbing spinach, zucchini, as well as fresh herbs like basil, lemon grass and chili. You also find a pineapple plantation.
There is a great variety of breakfasts to choose from, all of them including a fruit plate and a choice of brewed coffee, tea or a fruit drink. They bake whole wheat bread and cakes, and make their own yogurt. The lunch and dinner menu includes chicken, meat, fish and surprisingly lots of interesting vegetarian dishes. They make traditional island dishes with a touch of cooking style from the countries such as Thailand, India and Italy, with local ingredients. Lots of vegetables come from their garden. Some of their specialities are eggplant baked with cheese and tomato sauce, fish steamed in banana leaves and fish cooked in coconut cream with curry and spice sauce.
Favorite Dish: I had a glass of mango juice first and then started the lunch with a mixed salad (cucumber, tomato, pepper, carrot, beetroot and basil leaves). For the main dish I had lake fish steak cooked in coconut cream with curry and spice sauce. It was served with rice (also produced in their land). Fresh ingredients were reflected in the food, giving it a natural flavour and aroma. It was a very delicious meal, prepared with care and attention to detail. True culinary experience!
I heard about Natural from my guidebook and decided to give it a try one day when I was cycling back from Ojo de Agua to El Porvenir. Conveniently located right at the entrance to Santo Domingo, it was actually a perfect place for a late lunch. A charming little vegetarian restaurant literary on the lake (when I visited the water level was very high due to a lot of rain in the past months, so there was no beach at all) and with Vulcán Maderas looming in the beckground, it's an airy shack made of wood, with a thatched roof and two side walls. I fell in love with the ambience at first sight. There is a simple kitchen on one side (they use clay pots for cooking) and a few wooden chairs and tables with a lake view on the other side. The walls are tastefully decorated with small paintings and photos, one big naive painting showing a typical fruit and vegetable market, and one part with little crosses and holy pictures. I loved the little details and the way how fruits and vegetables were placed as a part of the decoration.
Natural specializes on vegetarian curries, healthy breakfasts (with daily fresh wholemeal bread) and delicious organic fruit juices. Looking at the menu, it was not easy to choose among so many yummy dishes.
Very appealing decor, great service, friendly owners couple and food prepared with great attention to detail, just perfect! On my last day I wanted to try their breakfast. But to my great disappointment, the place was closed. The owners were off to the mainland to celebrate Christmas with their family.
Favorite Dish: After a little consideration I opted for vegetarian curry which was a speciality of the house. It was made up of different veggies (including the whole banana with its peel on while cooking) and fresh spices crushed by hand in a stone mortar. Oh, pure delight!! It was most delicious curries I've ever tasted!! I had a big glass of yummy organic juice (mix fruits) with the food, and thought I was in heaven :)
On my last day on the island I met a friendly American mother and son couple, Kate and David. The next morning they were also leaving for Granada and I was offered to join them. We left El Porvenir early and made a stop for breakfast in Playa Santo Domingo. I told them about the restaurant Natural. Unfortunately it was closed so we ended up in the restaurant of hotel Villa Paraíso, one of the fanciest hotels on the island. It offers pleasantly rustic rooms and private cabañas in natural setting overlooking the beach. The breezy waterfront restaurant is set in a beautiful peaceful surroundings. Auraca birds are everywhere. They can easily steal food from your plate so watch out.
The assorted menu includes a variety of traditional Nicaraguan dishes and exquisite international cuisine. In addition, they make different cocktails, including Macuá, a national drink of Nicaragua which is a blend of rum and fruit juices (usually lemon and guava juice).
Favorite Dish: Kate and David had traditional Nica breakfast which consisted of eggs, cheese and gallo pinto (rice and beans), served with bread, while I opted for pancakes with fruit (pineapple, papaya, watermelon) and honey. The breakfast wouldn’t be completed without a glass of freshly made orange juice and a good cup of Nicaraguan coffee. Great breakfast! We were then ready for the journey.
Hacienda Mérida is a backpackers place with several rooms and also camping possibilities. They have bikes and kayaks for rent and organise different tours. It is situated by the lake, in Mérida, on the Maderas side of the island.
I came her on bike, and as it was time for lunch I decided to eat. I had chicken, homemade crisps, rice and salad. To drink I had a papaya drink. It all tasted very good! The price was 110 cordobas, the same as 5.5 dollars (July 2009).
All my other meals on Isla de Ometepe I ate at either Finca Playa Venecia or Albergue Ecológico El Porvenir.
Can't really describe where this is other then centrally in town. Any taxi will know. Its a clean and well run restaurant. Food is good and inexpensive.
Favorite Dish: Fish from the lake, grilled. Yeah. Toña goes really well with it.
In the garden surrounding the Ojo de Agua in Santo Domingo, you can have good meals for little money, and enjoy the great environment at the same time. The "restaurant" is nothing more then some seats around the pool and a very, very small hut where the food is prepared.
If you look at the menu you will be surprised that they offer so many things at such a small place, but no matter what you order, they will make it for you. We had a big plate of chips and a big tortilla with fresh ingredients, and both dishes were very nice. Prices for the dishes are between 1,50 and 4 dollar: so really cheap.
And of course: the best thing here remains the great surroundings...
In Altagracia you can have a very good meal at the Hotel Central, just two blocks southeast from the Parque Central. In the evening the small restaurant that belongs to this hotel opens, and offers good and simple local meals for a very good price: only 2 to 4 dollars per person.
The meals normally include fried bananas, rice with beans and fried chicken or fish. Especially when you are in the region for a longer time, this typical meal starts to annoy you at a certain moment, but when you haven't reached that point yet it is a very good option!
After your dinner you can also still have a drink here, until the moment that the waiter wants to go to bed and kindly asks you to finish your drink and go home.
Once you are at the resort there aren’t really any other restaurants close by. Luckily the food is good, they do great breakfasts and the dinner portions are large.