Nicaraguan comfort food (known as comida típica) is the order of the day in the many casual restaurants that dot the town. For people-watching, go to a restaurant close to the central plaza or, better still, within the Mercado Viejo. La Cazuela de Don Nacho (northeast of the stage, artisan market; tel. 505/2522-7731) has a great atmosphere, as it is located inside the main market and is a perfect place to sit and enjoy the crowd, especially when there is a live performance on Thursday evening. The food is typical Nicaraguan, with beef, chicken, and shrimp. La Jarochita, 60m (197 ft.) north of the cathedral (tel. 505/2522-4831), is famous for its sopa de tortilla and chimichangas. El Bucanero (Km 26.5; no phone) has got great views of the lake and a lively clientele at night. If it's a drink you're after, go to Masaya's most popular bar, La Rhonda, on the south side of Parque Central (tel. 505/2522-3310), which has lots of room in a large, open-plan building. A more modern, moody place for a late drink or snack is Pachecos, 1/2 block north of Curacao (tel. 505/2522-7628).

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