Where to Eat & Drink in El Salvador

Don’t expect spice in El Salvador; like its Central American neighbors, this country’s food isn’t spicy hot. It does, however, tend to the heavier side, with dishes like pupusas—thick corn tortillas stuffed with a variety of fillings—common on menus. Restaurants range from casual to formal to downright atmospheric, such as inside a volcano! As for drinks, look for homegrown coffee, locally brewed beer, and a traditional corn-based drink called atol.

Avenida Manuel Enrique Arujo, San Salvador, El Salvador
Shopping at local markets is always a highlight of travel in Latin America, where you can often learn about the crafts and items for sale from the vendors—many of whom are the same artisans or craftspeople who made those objects. At the National Handcrafts Market in San Salvador, textiles, pottery, paintings, and musical instruments are just some of the items for sale, reflecting the typical arts and crafts of El Salvador and neighboring countries.
KM 40.5 Carretera al Aeropuerto de El Salvador, San Luis Talpa, El Salvador
One of San Salvador’s most popular restaurants, Los Balcones is located inside the Quality Hotel Real near the airport. It’s an unlikely location, perhaps, but guests rave about the food and the service here. With respect to the former, the variety—especially at the breakfast buffet—is notable, especially for visitors who have tired of pupusas and heavier foods that are typical to the Salvadoran diet.
Al costado del Lobby de Clarion Suites Las Palmas, Bulevar Sergio Viera De Mello, San Salvador, El Salvador
This white tablecloth, fine dining restaurant in the country’s capital. Headed by Chef Alejandra Girón, who trained at Institut Paul Bocuse in France, the menu is informed by her stint in that country, as well as stages and jobs at renowned restaurants in Spain and Australia. Dishes include rabbit, veal, and tongue entrées, and a wine list that’s fairly extensive for this region.
Avenida Las Magnolias
Forget chain restaurants from home; La Hola Beto’s is the ubiquitous El Salvadoran equivalent to America’s golden arches. But don’t expect chicken nuggets and fries; La Hola Beto’s strength is in all things seafood. From ceviches to shrimp enchiladas and “guashimis” (Salvadoran sashimi), lovers of the fruits of the sea will definitely want to stop at one of La Hola Beto’s locations for lunch on the go.
This restaurant’s name hints at one of its principal attributes: its view. “Mirador” means “scenic overlook,” and the vista here—of Lake Suchitlán-- earns the name. In fact, many of the guests stop by the restaurant on their way to or from a day trip to the lake itself. Cormorants and other large birds swoop gracefully across the sky as diners indulge in churrasco steaks and other Salvadoran specialties.
San Salvador CP 1101, El Salvador
If you’re feeling a bit short of breath, you’re not imagining things: the elevation of this restaurant, is more or less on par with Denver at around a mile high. Special not only because of its altitude, this restaurant is also unique because of its location in a volcano (don’t worry; it won’t erupt). Ceviche and grilled meats are the specialties of the house, which diners enjoy while watching hummingbirds flutter about in the air.
More from AFAR
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Food + Drink
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Europe
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East