Food, glorious food - updated information on the Granada eating scene

A lady cooking up some typical Nicaraguan street fair

Since my last blog entry about food is getting read a lot, and now we’ve been to quite a few more restaurants and started settling into the whole food vibe, I’ve decided it’s time for a new, improved, and updated blog entry about the food in Granada.

On that note, I would just like to take the opportunity to respond to the anonymous dipstick (henceforth known, for simplicity, as “dipstick”) who put a comment on my last food entry, that I deleted because it not only used offensive language, BUT DIRECTED IT AT ME. Duh. Don’t you know I have admin privileges? Anyway, here is my response to YOU, dipstick:

  • Firstly, don’t type in all capslock, it looks like you’re yelling. Very unattractive.
  • Secondly, when you charmingly start your comment with the phrase “your a retard”, please remember your grammar. In this case, “you’re” is a contraction of YOU ARE and therefore has an apostrophe and an “e”.
  • Thirdly, the devastatingly intellectual meat of your comment, which was essentially that I’m in a foreign country and all I’m eating is “food you can get in applebees”. For your information, we have sampled the local cuisine quite voraciously, which I mentioned in that blog entry. Is it my fault there are so many faux-foreign food restaurants in Granada, or that there is only so many times I can say “Mmm, the rice and beans and slaw were DELISH” before it gets old?

Okay, now I’ve had my vent, I feel much better, and I’m ready to delve into the culinary delights of Granada, Nicaragua:

Local eats

Local fare consists of:

  • Gallo Pinto: fancy name—meaning speckled rooster—for rice and beans. It’s yummy and greasy, but it gets old quick if you’re eating it, say, for three meals a day. If this is the case, whack on the chili picante and grin and bear it. Tomato sauce also works a treat.
  • Quesillos: like an enchilada maize pancake sandwich, containing sour cream, cheese, and pickled onion. Not for those with heart conditions or cholesterol problems, and it’s somewhat bland. Load it up with chili picante, I say.
  • Slaw: the slaw isn’t bad at all. It’s fairly standard what with the cabbage and carrot grated with some other stuff. Watch out for: the lethal tiny green chilies; best case scenario is mouth-on-fire for a couple of hours. Also, don’t eat it from the street! I know that sounds alarmist, but Dave got sick from incorrectly refrigerated/washed slaw, and it wasn’t pretty.
  • Yummy traditional drinks: can’t remember the name, but it’s made out of maize, is a brown colour, and is loaded up with cinnamon. It’s like drinking cold and very sweet chai, and I LOVE chai.
  • Local cheese: unbeknownst to us, it IS actually possible to get good local cheese. (It’s a bit like unsalted fetta.) You just have to find a distributor who sells it really fresh and refrigerates it properly, because I tell you, the cheese turns damn quick if you’re, say, leaving it in the hot sun while you sell it. Our landlady makes superb cheese. So be patient with the cheese hunting. It’s worth it.
  • Plantain chips and Maduro: Very similar in looks to bananas, you can get the plantain fried up like crisps (mmmm). There is also maduro, and I can’t tell if there is a difference between the vegetables plantano or maduro, but maduro is fried up wet and served like caramelised banana. Also v. good.
  • Sweets: Tres Leches is a very moist cake covered in white icing. It’s three milks, so if you don’t like milk, or the taste, or are vegan, stay away! Anything coloured hot pink and containing coconut is a goer in my book. There are also nut brittles, caramels, and little maize puddings which can all be obtained on the street for next to nothing.
  • Guapote: the local fish from Lago Cocibolca, Guapote is absolutely delicious. It’s not that soft mushy fish, but more like tuna in consistency without the distinctive taste. And it’s usually served whole, having been deep fried in the skin, with a side of rice, plantain, and tomato salsa. SO GOOD.
  • Alc-y-hol: the local beers, Toña and Victoria, are both pretty decent; although Dave and I prefer Toña. It’s light and pilsner-ish, and beats the hell out of most Aussie beers. the local rum, Flor de Caña, is often touted as the best in the world (unless your in Cuba, where they say it’s second to their rum). And it’s pretty good, although we can’t taste the difference between a seven year old bottle and a twenty five year old bottle. Which is good for us, because the seven year old bottles are cheap, cheap, cheap!


It’s cheap, cheap, cheap. The pizzas are junkfood-tastic, full of cheese with big thick crusts. The service is great, particularly if you go there often and leave behind a reputation for generous tipping. Don’t eat the pasta or the salad, it’s just not worth it. You go for the pizza, and maybe the deserts, which range from delicious to average. The chocolate cake is always dry, and don’t eat the last slice of anything... it’s been there a while. And they have a generator, so if the power’s out and you can’t use the toaster oven, Telepizza is a good alternative!

Jimmy Three Fingers

Great cocktails. Great service. Ambient atmosphere, but this includes the downer of no generator on those nights when the power is out—which involves eating in the dark, and having the loud American voices at the bar amplified by lack of power noise. The food is just downright delicious. I recommend the snapper picata which is a well cooked piece of fish smothered in garlic, butter, capers, and herbs. He also cooks pasta really well, and I assume the meats are great, although obviously, we can’t guarantee that.

The Safari Lounge

The new kid in town, open in the awesome location next to the cinema. They have the best hummous, always have vegetarian on offer, and make a fabulous cocktail. The decor is snazzy as well, and the staff are great, and the music is good. They also do breakfast, and offer stuff the other places don’t, like eggs florentine.

The absolute best bit about the Safari Lounge, though, is this. It’s run by an Aussie girl and and English guy, and she learned how to make coffee from one of Melbourne’s finest Italian places. AND they have an espresso machine. AND they make AMAZING coffee. Properly. Not burned! Not drip filtered! Not instant! Not with burned milk! Typical Nicaraguan coffee is very watery and usually pre-sweetened. So, if you are suffering for a proper espresso look no further. It was the best coffee I’ve had in eight months and I just keep having to go back for more.

Oh, and it has wi-fi. And a generator. It’s our new favourite place.

Asia Latina

We’ve only been here once, but it was pretty decent. It’s Asian fusion, and while the Pad Thai was a plate of noodles with the odd peanut hiding in there trying desperately to evade capture, the fish curry was great. We’re going to have to try it again.

Isletas Restaurant

If you catch one of those darling little tourist boats around the Isletas, you have the option to stop in at one of the restaurants for eats. And they do extremely fresh Guapote, in all its deep fried goodness. You can also get deep fried cheese. Just say yes.

El Zaugin

These guys also do Guapote. Good guapote. Fried. Mmmmm. It’s a bit pricey, and the Mariachis can get downright annoying, but if you’re after some deep fried goodness it’s a good option.

Mona Lisa

Gourmet pizza, and some really nice pasta specials. It’s all wood fired and whatnot, and not bad, but I’m not a huge fan of tinned asparagus on a vegetarian. Anyway, it’s alright if you are feeling like Telepizza is getting a bit old and downmarket.

Okay, that’s my exhaustive and comprehensive list on where to eat in Granada. And between you and me, Dave and I are just desperate to get back and get into some Indian, Chinese and Japanese food. At the same time, if necessary. We’re beyond fussy at this point!!


You're not a retard. You're fantastic and so is this blog entry. It made me jealous and hungry similtaneous, which is a rare thing. Thankfully.
Hope you're chiilin' out at the Safari Lounge right now with some rum and some Tres Leches. I'm sure it beats Mount Gay and Cheesecake.
Love youse guyses.
- Luke.

Food from Granada

Thank you for your blog entry on Granada and its places to eat. I was there about 2 years ago and reading your blog took me back there for a few minutes. While I usually do not eat meat I did fall prey to temptation at Jimmy Three Fingers and had Ribs once and two of his burgers the second time I visited. Kathys waffles I recall was a fun place to hang out at. The owner and staff were very friendly as I have almost come to expect of Nicas (I am Guatemalean and have always been very positively impressed by Nicas' friendliness :) ) Hmm to think of it a Toña would be good some time soon... to bad I am now living in Canada and not looking to have sun or warmth any time soon. I am going to now search your BLOG and see if you have anything on Guatemala (Xela would be great haha) many times visitors know more about the good places than locals and on my next visit who knows perhaps I will be pleasantly suprized.

Safari Lounge

Dave here,

I second the Safari Lounge as a great place to go. It's a great location, reminds me of my favourite spot in Fremantle, Gino's. You can sit out the front and just people watch while sipping your espresso and nibbling your piece of homemade biscotti (it's some of the best I've had thank you Karen).

I love the big vegetarian breakfast - it's huge. And, if there's one thing I love it's a big breakfast. Great lentil burgers too.

If you're in Granada it's the place to go.