One great meal in town can be had at Mesón Casa Blanca (tel. 504/643-2839, 7:30 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Sat.), an unusual setup. Food is served in the house of a Santa Bárbara family, two blocks southeast of the square. The house is decorated with paintings, old photographs, and sculptures, and it feels a bit like eating in your grandmother’s house. Lunch is a buffet and runs US$6, including a drink, while breakfast and dinner are à la carte.
Also very good, and less expensive, is Betty’s Cafetería y Repostería (tel. 504/643-3006, 8 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 8 a.m.–noon Sun.), on the park, with great juice drinks and massive baleadas for under US$1.
With heaping platters of mouthwatering pollo asado and fried plantains, Charles (tel. 504/643-2433, 8 a.m.–9 p.m. daily), a clean, tiled restaurant on the northwest corner of the park, beckons customers with the tantalizing aroma of roasted chicken for a reasonable US$2.50, as well as Honduran tacos, típico meals, and a number of natural juices and pastries.
Arco Iris (tel. 504/643-2348, 9 a.m.–10 p.m. daily), on the southeast corner of the square, adjacent to the cathedral, has inexpensive fresh juices, licuados, and ice cream.
Across the street from Gran Hotel Colonial and down the street a bit is Cafetería Colonial (tel. 504/643-2812, 6 a.m.–9 p.m. daily), with reasonable, inexpensive comida típica, pupusas, and burgers with fries.
A noteworthy addition to Santa Bárbara’s dining scene, the spotless La Canasta de Pan (tel. 504/608-6179, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Sun.–Thurs., 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Fri.) is the town’s first vegetarian restaurant. Breakfasts are US$2.50, lunch US$3, and licuados top out at a dollar. Fresh whole-grain breads, soy products, and a number of health-food items are sold, and interestingly, Swedish massages are also available for absolutely rock-bottom prices (US$4 for 30 minutes, US$6 for 60).
© Chris Humphrey and Amy E. Robertson from Moon Honduras, 5th Edition