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Hana Japanese Restaurant

What you see from the street.

What you see from the street.

I have eaten there before — both when it was located in Jucanyá and after their move to Calle 14 de Febrero, maybe 30 meters off Calle Santander. (For those of you familiar with the area, it is is Casa Cakchiquel.) I was impressed with the food but today was the real test.

My wife has refused to go near Japanese food for years. While threats of raw fish have been part of the problem, I think it is really just a matter of Japanese food not being something a Nicaraguan would eat. This month’s special is a sushi with fried fish rather than raw fish in the middle so I twisted her arm and we went there for lunch. It was a success.

Eight rolls per plate, special of the month is two plates for Q65.

Eight rolls per plate, special of the month is two plates for Q65.

The special amounted to two plates of eight sushi rolls and a bowl of miso soup for Q65. She was initially uninterested in the soup so we settled for that plus an order of something whose name I have forgotten but it is a fried prawn in a ball of sushi rice with a nori wrap. Also a special at 2 for Q30,. She tried the soup and liked it and was very happy with the shrimp ball and the sushi. She even tried a bit of the wasabi and lived to tell about it. The ginger, however, was quickly given to me.

I have eaten a lot of Japanese food in my life and I find what Hana has to offer to be excellent. Less selection than what you find in a Japanese restaurant in a big city but more than what I would expect to find in a little town in Guatemala and at a far more reasonable price. While we settled for lemonade with soda to drink, they do even have Japanese beer.

Outside but quiet and protected.

Outside but quiet and protected.

The setting is also really nice. While you are only half a block from Calle Santander and on a busy street, the restaurant is behind the building along side a grass courtyard. Even without good food it would be a nice place to escape from the crazyness of Santander.

3 comments to Hana Japanese Restaurant

  • Annie

    This is great! Is it run by Japanese or Nicaraguans? I’m always fascinated by ethnic restaurants in foreign countries — we always seem to seek them out when we travel. On a trip to Belgium several years ago (tired of mussels, frites, cheese and waffles, LOL), we navigated our way to the Congolese neighborhood in Brussels for an awesome dinner! And on our trip to Japan in 2012, believe it or not, after three weeks we were ready to eat something other than Japanese food, so we sought out Indian, which would seem to me to be the most pervasive ethnic cuisine available in the world. 😉 Have you happened to have run into any Indian places down there? What about specifically European (French, German, Italian)? Just curious!

  • admin

    Nicaraguans? Clearly, you mean Guatemalans. 🙂 How about one Gringo and on Japanese. The first time I went there I was greeted by the Gringo. I asked if I could converse in Japanese, Spanish or Kachikel and he pointed to the people in the kitchen and said that all were options.

    Pana is an interesting town for food options. On the low end there is street food: for example, vegetarian tostadas for about $.50. About the most expensive food I see on Calle Santander is in the Q100 to Q120 (about $12-$15 range). More typical are breakfasts for Q20 or less and decent meals in the Q30-Q60 range.

    As for ethnicity, add Korean, Chinese, Mexican (really good), Mayan (of course), Italian and the typical burgers, fried chicken, steaks, pizzas and such. Possible the most exotic street food is fresh goat milk. A guy walks through town with his goats — just bring your own bottle. Guaranteed fresh.

    To the best of my knowledge there is no German restaurant per se. One bakery is very German in nature and there is another bakery (about 120 meters from my house) that is German-owned and has some pretty amazing pastries.

    What do I miss? Thai food.

  • Annie

    Of course, Guatemalan… sorry, temporary brain fart. 😉

    So maybe an actual Japanese sushi chef at Hana? Our favorite sushi place in San Antonio is owned and run by Mexicans, go figure. 😉 The street food options sound interesting for sure!

    I don’t know what it is about Indians and Indian food, but I have definitely found it to be the most consistently pervasive non-local ethnic food available when we travel abroad. I only asked about the European stuff in your area because I know there are plenty of them in South America and just curious if that has migrated north. Lucky for you to have a good bakery in your neighborhood though — more pics please!

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