Pelican Eyes' two-tiered poolside La Cascada Restaurant and its gracefully curved tile bar are as welcoming as the friendly Nica staff.
The hotel boasts good quality food and Pelican Eyes' US-trained chef knows what to do with it. The menu (written in Spanish and English) caters to a North American palate and features steak, rack of lamb, chicken, salads, and fish.
Tuna was cooked to absolute medium rare perfection. Steaks are juicy and large. Appetizers include a dreamy hot artichoke/shrimp dip and a mediocre ceviche. Thick tortilla chips that look loaded with grease are a heavy local variety not compatible with the rest of the menu. They are not greasy to the touch, but they are unappetizing.
Nicaragua does not have a dessert tradition, but La Cascada will satisfy your sweet tooth. A full dessert menu includes chocolate cake, cheesecake, apple crisp, and even cranberry sorbet.
The wine list leans to Chilean wines, though French and Spanish are available. Water and ice throughout Pelican Eyes is purified and safe. The outdoor restaurant is bug-free but not exactly animal free. Expect one or two of the house dogs or cats to drop in. They are rescued animals brought to the non-profit veterinary facility on the property.
Prices are reasonable and include a 10% tip, but not the startling 15% tax.