The following is a guest post by James McLeod.
I am a big eater. Or put more politely, I like to eat.
There are very few things that I don’t like, and I never say no to something without having tried it at least once. It’s thanks to this fearless approach that I keep on discovering new delights.
Unlike many travelers who frantically search for the word “hamburguesa,” a menu full of strange words doesn’t scare me in the slightest; the unknown excites me when it comes to food.
I prefer to ask for recommendations so that I don’t miss anything that could well become my new favorite dish.
Thanks to this inquisitiveness, I’ve discovered the delicacies that are chicharrón (crispy pork belly), morcilla (blood sausage), empanadas (crispy meat-stuffed parcels), maracuyá, mora and guanábana (all fruits), to name but a few.
In this same spirit, I don’t keep going back to the same places for fear that I won’t like other restaurants because you simply have to take advantage of the huge range of eateries to be found in Sabaneta.
My lunch hour(s) gives me the perfect opportunity to stroll around looking for restaurants whose delights I’ve yet to sample.
However, given the huge variety that Sabaneta boasts, I have still many to visit and I fear that I won’t have time to tick them all off before my time here is up.
That said, I would still say that I have a good idea of the gastronomical offerings of Sabaneta, and I have therefore given myself the onerous responsibility of creating a list of the best value-for-money restaurants so that you too can eat supremely well without breaking the bank.
The research was gruelling, but someone had to do it!
Carrera 45 #69 sur 37, Sabaneta
Let’s kick things off with a restaurant that was a real surprise.
Omelette, as the place’s name suggests, aims to offer a healthy menu that stands apart from the heavy meats and carbs that dominate most other menus.
That is not to say however that carnivores will go hungry because there’s still plenty of meat on the menu, but the emphasis is on balanced plates of food, something that is reflected in the books that line the shelves of the restaurant.
It’s located a mere two minutes from Parque Simon Bolivar, well placed to escape the noise of the town center, and once seated, you feel like you’re in Agustin, the owner’s front room.
Only a handful of tables squeeze in, but this gives the restaurant a personal atmosphere, especially as Agustin runs the show single-handedly, waiter and chef simultaneously.
Despite the fact that he does everything, there’s no lack of attention in the service nor the food.
We order the menu of the day each time, and without fail, he brings us plates that look delicious, presented beautifully and on tasting them it’s clear that he’s pretty handy in the kitchen.
Everything tastes superb and what’s more, the menu (soup, main and fresh fruit juice) will cost you less than 10,000 pesos ($2.95), an absolute steal in my opinion.
Simply put, if you fancy something healthy, cheap and cooked with great care, then you have to make a trip to Omelette.
2. María Mordiscos
Carrera 45 #73 sur 47, Sabaneta
Although this next restaurant is the most expensive on the list, it earns its place.
Recently renovated, María Mordiscos is, in my opinion, the most trendy eatery in Sabaneta as its décor reminds me of the hipster coffee shops that are found all over European cities.
One day, I went with my colleague and dear lunch companion Leidy, following Ana’s recommendation after she told me it was her favorite restaurant in Sabaneta.
We were some of the front-runners from the lunch rush, so when we turned up all was very calm, good music playing quietly that we would enjoy throughout the meal.
As is custom, Leidy went for the daily menu, but I strayed from convention and ordered one of the many tempting sandwiches, but there are also salads, meats and the usuals you’d expect, all given that gourmet tweak.
Unfortunately, Leidy had almost finished her main by the time my sandwich materialized, but it looked great, and she assured me it tasted the same.
Thankfully, my sandwich was worth the wait. It’s making me hungry just thinking about it. It didn’t look huge, but I left well satisfied, a surprise given that a sandwich rarely does the job for me.
I would thoroughly recommend Maria Mordiscos if you do not fuss about spending a few more pesos and want some delicious food.
Carrera 45 #67-92, Sabaneta
Much like Maria Mordiscos, Picnic offers a range of great sandwiches and salads but also there are some interesting soups and excellent pasta.
At first sight, the prices seem above average but, in fact, the daily menu includes many of the soups, sandwiches and pasta, actually working out cheaper than the individual dishes.
In all honesty, I didn’t know that Picnic existed until I went along with my colleagues, despite the fact that it’s merely a stone’s throw from our office.
Not only are the portions delicious and very generous but the red fruit ice tea was an absolute winner.
The only inconvenience is that the restaurant sits on a well-used street, and therefore, conversation stops intermittently to let trucks pass. However, the food is worth putting up with the occasional noise because I always leave happy.
4. Dulce Pan
Carrera 44 #68 sur 34, Sabaneta
In contrast with Picnic, Dulce Pan is one of the most tranquil places to have lunch in Sabaneta. For those who prefer to leave behind the racket of the streets and eat in peace, the place to go is this restaurant that doubles up as a bakery of sorts.
My boss had recommended it to me and just like all the other recommendations that people had offered me; it didn’t disappoint.
From the moment you enter you absorb the serene and tranquil atmosphere; the white walls and natural light take you to a restaurant on the Mediterranean, miles away from the streets that you’ve just left.
The menu is more traditional, the reason it’s a good restaurant if you fancy a simple lunch but done very well.
Regarding my personal experience, the soup was delicious, and everything that comprised the main course was equally well cooked.
A bit like Maria Mordiscos, I have to admit that it’s not the cheapest restaurant on the list but nor is it expensive and it’s worth a visit, even if just for the peace and quiet.
So thus, conclude my gastronomic recommendations in Sabaneta, the result of many arduous weeks of investigation, many lunchtime strolls through the streets and above all else, lots of clean plates.
With the aim of conveying the gastronomic wealth that lies here, the restaurants in this article are some of the lesser known ones, but the area is truly teeming with excellent places to eat.
When I first arrived here in Sabaneta, I thought it normal that there were so many good restaurants, but after exploring other parts of the city, it’s clear that this municipality has a thriving food culture, something that makes it a vibrant destination for banishing any hunger.
About the Author: This story was written by James McLeod.