Here's the thing: when we are in El Salvador, we are typically working with the Salvadoran Lutheran Church or spending time out in communities or generally hanging out where it is better to be inside at 10 PM and not outside wandering in the cool evening air with a delegation of 25 people. Yet, upon occasion, we have the opportunity to venture out and try something new.
My friend Deb and I met a couple of friends in Santa Tecla. It was super easy and quick to get there via the new highway. The cab driver dropped us off near Paseo el Carmen - a mostly-pedestrian street that is home to restaurants, cafes, small shops, bars and live music. We went on a week night, so it was pretty quiet and easy to meander up and down the paseo and peek into doors and study a few menus. The restaurant area begins near the El Carmen Cathedral, an impressive structure that was built over several years beginning before the turn of the century. The 2001 earthquakes caused serious structural damage to the church, but the steps near the wall around it provide good seating for tired children.
We took a little time to browse and make a few purchases at an artisan shop, Galeria de Tecla. This fun place has many unique art pieces and a pretty extensive jewelry collection. Our friends caught up with us at the shop, and together we headed to our intended destination for the evening, the "tropical bistro" Lima Limón. Our friends know the owners so of course we had a warm and wonderful welcome. It was clear, though, that the graciousness with which we were received is the norm for all who come. We sat outside, enjoying the lovely evening and really excellent margaritas. Dinner was delicious!! Best steak we have EVER eaten in El Salvador. The owner recommended the bananas foster, and we would recommend it too!
Part of the charm of Paseo el Carmen is that the cafes are small, and the vibe is less about mass-production and tourism and more about artisan food and drink and unique musical groups. Our friends have seen a small change in the scene as tourists have discovered their quiet paseo, and it will be interesting to see if the slower paced "artsy" culture can be preserved as more people discover and want to experience it. What is good for business might be almost too good for business.
So, without suggesting that everyone descend upon Paseo el Carmen, I think it would be a great night-spot for a delegation. It is safe enough that the group could split up (following the usual good rules of gringo safety), find the cafes of their choice, enjoy the food, the music and the cool evening, and then reunite for the drive back to San Salvador. I would definitely recommend Lima Limón as a great place to relax and enjoy a delicious meal. I can't wait to return on a weekend night!
You can find Lima Limón on Facebook!
|Photo take by Deb|
|Photo taken by Deb|