There were a few other places to eat in town but they were all pretty empty which to me is not a good sign so on the few occasions we didn't eat at Villa Real we ate vendor food in the main square. This mostly consisted of deep fried items like empanadas and arepas which were quite good. They were very busy and walking into one was a bit daunting at first since as gringos you just stand out so much in a town like El Cocuy. Surely, they must wonder why you don't go to a proper restaurant since we can obviously afford it but once they see you enjoying their “cheapie” food they seem to warm up to you.
Favorite Dish: Most of these “shops” are now permanent though only open in the evenings but there is one guy who sells kebabs from a makeshift stand also only in the evenings. These were very good and we got to be good customers since we would generally eat at least two each. It probably was extravagant for them but they weren't very big and by western standards were very inexpensive. It was only 5200 COP (less than $3) for four kebabs and two arepas. He was very welcoming and always found a little spot for us to sit and eat our goodies.
It just so happens that the best budget accommodation option is also the best place to eat in town as can be seen by the hordes of locals who eat here. Ok, there isn't much competition unless you want to eat empanadas and kebabs every night. The food is not exactly gourmet fare but it is filling and economical. It's also a great place to see the local flavor of El Cocuy since it's where the locals eat when they go out too! I guess you can't get a better recommendation than that. It's tough to beat the price. For 5000 COP (about $2.50) you get a nice homemade soup, the plate of the day and a beverage. I think you even got something small and sweet at the end.
Favorite Dish: The actual meals were not super big but the combination of it all was quite filling. We had a rice, veggie, chicken concoction one night and a tasty one with ground beef another. Chicken was popular in general. Often, there were patacones (smashed friend plantains) and a small salad. We also had all of breakfasts here. We had eggs most of the time and this came with a steaming bowl of caldo. This beef based soup sure warms you up! On Sundays you can get tamals, chicken, veggies and cornmeal wrapped up in a corn husk. We thought the ones in Bogota were big until we saw these babies-HUGE. If you get the set meal, no matter what meal it is, it's 5000 COP. Tough to beat and just watching the waitresses “handle” the crowd is all the entertainment you'll ever need.
I didn't have many beers here but the Aguila was a fairly bland lager which if it was served ice cold would not have been bad on a hot day. It was NOT served ice cold and was nothing to really seek out.