San Salvador and the main beach resorts have local and international eating at a good price, though dining can be a bit bland outside the staples. Tortillas are the cheap and tasty go to and can be found at any street stall. Trendy bars are the norm in the Zona Rosa area of the capital and there are also clubs and theaters. La Libertad and the rest of El Salvador’s beaches are more laidback.
Bars and Pubbing in El Salvador
The main areas of El Salvador to have fun after dark are within the Zona Rosa area of the capital—west of downtown San Salvador proper—and farther north along Boulevard de los Heroes, which is more relaxed. Boost Bar (Colonia San Benito, San Salvador) and The House (Calle Las Palmas, San Salvador) are both popular, though drinks are pricey and there is a cover charge for nightclubs, which can often be found in malls like La Gran Via. While these areas are fun, downtown San Salvador is best avoided at night as it is still a little rough around the edges.
The best area to go out in Libertad is El Tunco, to the west of the town, which is where most visitors head, as well as to the pavilion on weekends. Beer is much cheaper here than in the swanky bars of San Salvador. Noth Intipuca Beach and El Cuco along the coast have options. You can drink by the water or Avenue Roosevelt in San Miguel has several bars.
Restaurants are prone to offering entertainment such as live Mariachi music, though these venues typically close by 11:00 p.m. Nightclubs open later, as do some bars, while outside San Salvador bars shutter earlier.
Dining and Cuisine in El Salvador
The local fare of El Salvador is a bit uninspiring, with many dishes based around rice and beans. The seafood along the coast is good and make sure to try the tasty national dish, pupusa, which you can pick up from sit down restaurants or at roadside stands. A pupusa (maize toritlla filled with cheese, refried beans and cooked pork) with with a refresco fruit drink makes a nice afternoon snack. The locals are also big into fried plantains (a typical Salvadoran breakfast) and shrimp cocktails in La Libertad, while fast-food chains are ubiquitous in all the cities. There are lots of Italian, French, American, Argentinean, and Asian restaurants here, too, and you will typically find yourself dining on these cuisines as opposed to local food.
San Salvador has the pick of the fine dining, which is mainly clustered around Zona Rosa including the highly rated Citron (Condominio Residencial Loma Linda, San Salvador), with its gourmet seafood, and the nearby Alo Nuestro (Calle La Reforma, San Salvador) for its ethnic dishes. The busy thoroughfare, Paseo General Escalon, farther north, is also a good bet. The shopping malls have decent eating too, such as Gran Vía.
Along the Ruta de los Flores, the town of Ataco has plenty of restaurants, including El Boton (Ataco, Ruta de los Flores) for crêpes and Entre Nubes (Ataco, Ruta de los Flores) for Salvadoran fare in a nice setting. The best seafood in El Salvador can be found at Playa Esteron, Las Flores and El Cuco, though food is typically limited to tortillas and simple meat dishes in out-of-the-way places, which may close as early as 6:00 p.m. An obligatory 10 percent tip is the norm.