Gordito’s Fresh Mex
3 words = Mambo Fish Taco. To be fair, I can’t suggest anything else. I know that they also serve up tacos, burritos, and bowls and that they have specials of the day like a Big Mac burrito but I’ve never tried anything else and if you had a Mambo Fish Taco you’d know why. You’d be addicted. You’d come back for more every day. Every. Single. Day. Sometimes more than once a day. You’d want to shoot their special sauce straight into your veins. I say this from experience. For 90 pesos (about $2.00) the grilled fish wrapped in a fried flour tortilla and topped with cabbage, Pico de Gallo, guacamole, tomatillo sauce, and their secret sauce will leave you broke and satisfied. Added bonus: the owners are so welcoming they make me miss home a little bit less.
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Hours: 11am – 8:30pm, closed Sundays
Menu Suggestion: Mambo Fish Tacos, duh.
Tucked away in its own sort of hideaway, Claro is one of our favorite places to eat. Surrounded in tropical flowers and vegetation and nestled away from the main road, Sandy, the German expat owner, has what I’ve come to know as the typical Cabarete expat story, “I came for only a few months and I’ve been here 16 years.” She is delightful – as delightful as the food she serves up. The menu is fresh and varied, offering options like Banana Bread French Toast as well as some of the best vegetarian options in town. Me? I’m not a vegetarian, I ordered the Yolita (Little Boat) a skillet with potatoes, chicken, bacon, blue cheese, and egg. Added bonus: A kids’ play area and an admirable eco-friendly commitment including recycled sugarcane to-go containers and no water bottles.
Hours: 8am – 2pm, Tuesday-Sunday
Menu Suggestion: YOLITA!
Cabarete Coffee Company
Right on the main road, you might drive by this place and not think it was anything special. You’d be way off. Waaaaay off. Their mission statement alone proves that: “To privide coffee and food that is good to taste, good for the earth, and good for the people who grow it…” Cab Coffee Co. not only purchases organic food from locals with eco-friendly practices but also works with “youth and women to establish farming projects, thus training a new generation of the importance of organic farming…” And it shows, rather, it tastes. Their menu is healthy, fresh and simply delicious. Their coffee alone is worth the trip and if I lived at Cab, it’d be my Starbucks fo’ sho.
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Hours: 7am – 3pm, Daily
Menu Suggestions: Mocha Tati with an honorable mention to the Hot Zoe and The New Yorker… or Kite Loop… or Surfer Supreme. Hell, try everything.