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Local food, local prices

Comedor on Calle Real.

Comedor on Calle Real.

Comedor y Cafeteria El Buen Gusto is what appears to be a typical local restaurant. That is, it is locally owned, locally run and appears to locals rather than tourists and other folks with non-local income sources.

I have walked by it many times and while always been impressed that the post their menu on the front of the building, had never eaten there until a few days ago. The Q25 Pescado Frito inspired me to give it a try. Bottom line: I was pleased.

It could accurately be described as a place with no Gringo appeal if you are going by looks. First, it is on Calle Real (pretty much across from SAT) which is not where you find a lot of Gringos. It has a lot of other typical negatives such as the hand-lettered sign. But, they did get my attention with the cheap fish sign.

The description is a whole fried fish, rice, vegetables, guacamol and a beverage for Q25. I had low expectations as something like this would go for Q30-Q40 plus the beverage on Calle Santander. Not just being OK, I was downright impressed.

The fish turned out to be a bit bigger than the economy meals in Gringo-appealing places. This is mostly important because the really little ones tend to be all bones and hard to eat. While a Q50 meal down by the lake will have a bigger fish, this was fine and cooked correctly.

The guacamol turned out to be half a decent-sized avocado which was fine. The rice portion was typical and they veggies were an OK assortment of squash (chayote, I think), carrots and probably something else. Toss in five tortillas and an horchata for the fresco. As a bonus, a bowl of tasty and spicy green sauce was there along with a lime to jazz up the food.

Service was responsive, there was a TV with a fútbol game to keep you entertained (if you need that kind of entertainment) and everything seemed to be clean enough to at least meet my standards.

Looking at the other menu items, I think it was the concentration of meat that scared me away. Reading it in detail now I do see some vegetarian breakfast options so I will next try a breakfast there. For those who think breakfast must include ham, sausage or other meat, it looks like they have a lot of choices that will meet your needs as well. They also have a surprise breakfast item: the campesino. Eggs, beans, rice and tortillas. While rice is very common in Nicaraguan breakfasts, I seldom see that as a choice around here.


3 comments to Local food, local prices

  • admin

    Went there again today with a friend. Same meal except the fresco was jamaica. No futbol on TV, just local music on the radio. Good once again.

  • Carl

    I am curious, being Gluten Free nowdays: are all tortillas in Guatemala CORN, or do they have the dreaded wheat there? When I was there all I saw was corn, but in the states I always hear “Do you want corn or flour tortillas?”

    • admin

      If you are buying locally-made tortillas, they are corn. There are probably 50 places to get them in Panajachel. You can find packaged wheat tortillas in a couple of stores to cater to the Gringo market. In restaurants, with the exception of burritos, everything is made with corn tortillas.

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