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Cheap Eats: Nicaragua Restaurant


First stop on the cheap eats train.

I know that the above photo may not look like much, but it’s the very beginning of what promises to be a long (and possibly physically debilitating) quest. We’ve begun work on our August issue, which is one of our two annual issues devoted to eating and drinking in San Francisco. This time around, we’re turning our attention to inexpensive, delicious food—that is, the “cheap eats” of the city. Last night, in the spirit of discovery, I ate dinner at Nicaragua Restaurant, a non-descript little spot that I’ve walked by a zillion times without noticing. It’s on that distant stretch of Mission near Cesar Chavez (3015 Mission at 26th) where it’s easy to overlook good restaurants, but this place came with an endorsement from a coworker, who heartily endorsed their sopa de queso.

They were out of cheese soup last night, but I more than made up for it with a host of other delicious, lard-laden dishes. I had fried cheese (salty and squeaky, it miraculously remains in solid form in spite of a trip through the deep fryer) paired with fried plantains (both the mushy sweet kind and the crunchy savory kind), which got me thinking about the rule-breaking I’m willing to do in the spirit of tasting some “authentic” combinations. I mean, would I ever eat an appetizer of potato chips paired with mozzarella sticks? Probably not. But fried Nicaraguan cheese and plantains? All in the spirit of research. You’ll have to wait until August to read all about the other delectable morsels I sampled, but in the meantime, here’s the call for hot tips—got a favorite spot for cheap grub? Leave your recommendation in our “comments” field, and stay tuned for more.