A restaurant to skip in Juayua, El Salvador

A friend of mine who spent a week in Juayua El Salvador, just told me about a very disappointing $10 meal she had at R & R restaurant. It was recommended by Lonely Planet, but Lonely Planet once again missed the mark. Pehaps they are no longer updating their books or didn’t have a direct experience, or perhaps the restaurant has changed a lot.

My friend relates this:
She was the only person in the restaurant. The $10 for the mushroom chicken was a pretty steep price, a western price. Admittedly, she doesn’t speak Spanish, so that she struggled to order is understandable. She was very disappointed in the meal, but that was because she didn’t expect the very strong taste of an unexpected local herb. But the next day, buying shrimp at the town’s market, it turned out she was buying from R & R’s owner. The woman asked my friend how the meal was. My friend told her she was honestly disappointed, especially considering the price. The woman then told her that her son was there and speaks English. My friend could only know that apparently it was more important to him to sit alone outside doing nothing than to help the restaurant’s only customer with her order. But the reason I write this now is that the owner proceeded to ask my friend to return to the restaurant — not for a meal on the house to make it up to her, and not for a discounted meal, but to go and tell the son how she felt. It seems this woman needed my friend’s help but put zero value on my friend’s time or expenditures.

Only then it gets, well… better? My friend bought breaded shrimp from this woman. She went off with her friends to eat it and they found that under the breading some shrimps we’re peeled but others were only partially peeled. They also found them quite greasy, but that can be chalked up to local styles and not counted as a flaw. So later the woman asked her how she liked the shrimp. My friend told her they were ill prepared and not enjoyable to eat. The woman only replied, “That is the way we cook them here.”

My friend was in Juayua for many a meal and has no other complaints. So clearly, that is not the way all food is prepared in Juayua. R & R seems to be a restaurant to skip. Save your money. (And I can tell you the chocolate cake at the bakery on the corner at the square is well worth spending your money on instead and that cashews are well-priced in Juayua.)

It is worth mentioning that the rest of the week, my friend looked into the restaurant and found it completely empty. Perhaps R & R survives on the tourists who come to town for a single day to visit the famous market and come in expecting a great meal. Not on repeat business.

Personally, my friend and I ate at one of the stands and loved our inexpensive meal!

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