Rancho Santana Resort
Tola, Rivas, Popoyo, Nicaragua
La Finca y el Mar Restaurant at Rancho SantanaA meal at Rancho Santana’s La Finca y el Mar dispels any notion that Nicaraguan cuisine is a repetitive cycle of bland beans, fish and rice. The resort’s new seaside restaurant is the most sophisticated culinary proposal among the five beaches on this stretch of Nicaragua’s coastline. Their cuisine is a thoughtful mix of casual and fine dining drummed up in their kitchen using vegetables, meats and fruits from the resort’s campus like farm. Translated, La Finca y el Mar means the farm and the sea. The restaurant’s various menus display listings of fresh seafoods coming from the two fishing villages that bookend the resort. Seafood chowders, grilled spiny lobster tails or red snapper, and smoked fish cakes are some of what you see on the nightly menu. The farm aspect seems more abundant though; huevos rancheros made with organic eggs from the property; local cheeses and cured meats are brought in by nearby farmers; and livestock, also raised on the property, supply the kitchen with the best organic meats. Their more casual bites are things like a classic cheeseburger, sticky bbq ribs or crispy chicken tenders on their kids menu. The bar is stocked with domestic and local beers like Campo Pale Ale. Ask the bartenders to whip up a El Hortaleño made with jalapeño infused tequila, fresh lime juice,muddled cucumber, cilantro, and salt. The restaurant also has a strong wine list, and a great range of tequilas and mezcals. The bartenders and waitstaff here beam with smiles. I think I would too if my office were an ocean front Adalucian style villa. From any seat at La Finca y el Mar, it’s possible to see a dreamy story unfolding: surfers paddling out to catch waves, couples canoodling beneath a sunset, kids splashing in the pool. On weekends, be sure to reserve a table.