Sunday, 17 June 2012

Utila Bar and Restaurant Guide



Tranquilla Bar (Parrots Dive centre)

This bar was located less than 10m from our bedroom. The bar was part of Parrot’s dive centre and was definitely one of the islands most popular bars, which hosts “Tequila Tuesdays”; a very drunken night in Utila with a shot costing only $0.50. As a result, Wednesday was hangover day. You could earn yourself a “Drinks Master” tshirt by taking a series of different shots over as many days as you wanted and each night a different drink was on offer. The music was your standard chart music and led to dancing later into the night. Tranquilla had a two storey dock where you had the option to escape the noise, watch the stars and enjoy the evening breeze. Because we lived right next to the bar, we could easily say that it became very loud later in the night. Food is also served but we never tried it out.

Skid Row
Harry's brave attempt at getting his tshirt...worth it?
Another very popular bar with a slightly run-down vibe. It was most famous for the Grifity Challenge which involves taking 4 shots of their homemade strong liquor with herbs and parts of mangroves, so basically spicy swamp water (though it smelt far worse!). You shell out L200 ($10) to drink the worst alcohol ever produced with the reward of a t-shirt to show you did it. A ridiculous number of people were walking around with the t-shirts, so it is a pretty popular challenge! The food was surprisingly good. Our recommendations are the calzones which were both meat and veggie with a great marinara dipping sauce or ranch dressing. The quesadillas were also good. The bar also had a free pool table and played major sporting events all day long.


Rehab
This bar is creatively decorated with signs everywhere indicating a rehab centre for alcohol, clever theme for a bar. Outside is equally impressive with the tranquil dock on the water edge. Unlike tranquilla, the music was quieter and more chilled a great place for a relaxing drink on a nice evening.  Generally the bar was fairly quiet but service was very friendly and tentative. The ‘must-have’ food here was the (extremely) fried chicken wings which came in BBQ or buffalo style. They were extremely good and well worth the L30 (pretty cheap).

  
Treetanic
Absolutely gorgeous and colourful garden
When it comes to presentation, this bar is by far the most spectacular we have ever seen…ever! The bar was situated in a tree house completely covered with brightly coloured mosaics of gems, wine bottles, tiles and shells. The bar extended back into decorated walkways, arches and seating areas until it reached some small cabanas that made up the small hotel called The Jade Seahorse. It must have taken the owner years to complete the whole place! Even though Treetanic is by far the most magnificent bar in Utila, it was sadly not appreciated as much as it should have been. It was pretty quiet but that added to the nice, peaceful atmosphere.


Dona Rosa’s Place
The veggie avocado baleada
Two words: delicious and cheap! I went here most evenings for the local Honduran baleada, a huge flour tortilla with refried beans, cabbage and either meat, egg or (my favourite) avocado. Extremely filling and all for around L30!  Seating is outside with (mostly broken) plastic chairs and tables with the latest football game showing. Both tourists and locals are here every night and it is open until late at night. Best meal I had in Utila!


Munchies

A great place for breakfast and the portions are huge! This place has an extensive menu and a great choice of both food and fruit drinks. A bit more pricey but worth it every so often as there is a wider selection than most places and the quality is higher. The staff were definitely a hit or miss. We often had a lovely woman serving us but one morning we go an extremely grumpy woman who thought it was a major issue giving us a coffee. I ate here often for a healthy balanced option (the veggies and omelettes were great before a dive) and the burger was rated Harry’s best on the island. Also free wifi and nice powerful fans out back which was great to finally escape the heat!


Babalu
Open dock where you feed leftovers to the fish
 This place definitely gets credit for coolest restaurant for the pure reason that you can feed your left overs to the fish! It is situated on a dock and there is a large square gap in the decking where you can see directly into the water and there are hundreds of fish. The service was a bit slow and food is pretty average (lack of veggie options) but the large portions of so-so food were a benefit because we had more leftovers to feed the fish…and they eat everything!


Big Mammas Café
A great spot for lunch but is also open for dinner with reasonable prices (average prices around L40-100). This place has great wraps especially the chicken wrap which was the talk of the island. The veggie wrap was also very good. The portions are small and the service was pretty slow so you may want to order two…you’ll most definitely want another one once you’re done!
RJ’s
This place was highly recommended to us as the best BBQ’d food in Utila and the pretty much the only place on the island where you can actually get fresh grilled fish. Bring a big appetite as the portions are huge! There is an option to get a box so you can have your left overs the next day. There is nothing to speak of for veggies obviously unless you count side orders. The food was not as good as expected and it is fairly pricy. This place was only open three days a week and only in the evenings for this reason it is always busy.
La Piccola
The so-called Italian food was over-priced; portions were small and food average though other people in our party seemed to enjoy it. We went as a large group so we could get a “discount” which was only L10 off the price. All main dishes were said to be served with salad but it actually came first and the main followed rather slowly behind.

Comedor
The cheapest place in town. A small family-run place painted white next to Dona Rosa which is simply a woman in a kitchen cooking local Honduran food with only two plastic tables and many children sitting on the floor playing with toys. We got really good baleadas for only Q20 but there are also Pastelitos (deep-fried flour pastries filled with meat, rice and/or potatoes) whish were also good. You may find that politeness is not a top priority, especially if you do not speak Spanish. Because there is only one woman working the food take a while to come but it’s worth the wait and definitely worth the price!

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