La Palapa Hondureña: Hole-in-the-Wall Serves Tasty Honduran
On the outside, La Palapa Hondureña (formerly known as Adelita's Café) is anything but memorable. Surrounded by louder venues such as a vapor shop and a Papa John's, the restaurant has floor-to-ceiling windows that are plastered with karaoke posters and the emblematic palapa, an open-sided dwelling with a thatched roof. The walls are in need of a paint job, and the aluminum patio furniture could singe the thickest of skins. Decor is not their strong suit, but thou shalt not judge a restaurant by its façade.
Photo by Dana De Greff Pupusa with quesillo.
Step inside, and chances are you'll hear Enrique Iglesias, Romeo, or Prince Royce. TV screens line the walls, and the large room is filled with tables and overstuffed vinyl booths to the right, pool tables and a bar to the left. It seems as if the owners couldn't decide on a raison d'être -- lounge, dance hall, family gathering spot -- so they just embraced everything.
La Palapa offers a wide variety of food too. It serves typical Honduran dishes such as pupusas, sopa de caracol, nactamales, and baleadas. There also are some tasty juices with exotic fruits such as nance, maracuya, and tamarind. As an appetizer, I opted for a pupusa with quesillo ($3.25), which zoomed out of the kitchen. The tortilla-like dish originated in El Salvador, but it's a popular snack all over Central America. Nestled inside the cornmeal masa is soft, stringy quesillo cheese, the perfect marriage of sweet and salty.
The rest of the menu is made up of meat plates, seafood dishes, pastas, soups, and parilladas. Be careful not to overload on the apps, though, because the mains are more than generous. For dinner I chose a classic that's easily marred by overcooking or underseasoning: carne asada ($9.50).