The 9 Best El Tunco Restaurants: Pupusas and Beyond

El Tunco is a small but bustling, up and coming surf town in El Salvador with excellent waves, the kindest locals, and tons of amazing restaurants and beach bars. 

Whenever I’m exploring a new place, I love to try as many restaurants as possible. During my most recent two week surf trip to El Tunco, I did exactly that, and I’m now excited to share with you my findings from exploring all the places to eat in El Tunco. 

Here are the best restaurants in El Tunco:

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1. Restaurante Erika

Image of Restaurante Erika sign in El Tunco, one of the best restaurants in El Tunco
Restaurante Erika

Restaurante Erika is a locally owned restaurant right on the beachfront/ riverfront in El Tunco. They have typical food, tons of seafood, and my personal favorite- AMAZING ceviche. During my surf trip to El Tunco, I actually had ceviche here three different times. It was that good. 

Plus, the restaurant is owned by a local family, the family of one of the best surf coaches in El Salvador, Bamba. 

Restaurante Erika has two levels, and I recommend sitting on the upstairs level for the best airflow and views of the ocean. 

Note: El Salvador used the USD as their official currency! While about half of the restaurants on this list accept card payments, some only accept cash, so be prepared for this. I recommend having plenty of small bills on you too because some establishments don’t want to break larger bills. 

The view from Restaurante Erika
Ceviche from Restaurante Erika
Ceviche from Restaurante Erika

2. La Bocana

La Bocana is another excellent restaurant in El Tunco. It’s located on the beachfront, on the other side of the road from Erika’s. La Bocana also has great seafood, ceviche, and a pretty solid cocktail selection.

They also have live bands come in on the weekends, which is super fun. As far as restaurants in El Tunco go, La Bocana is on the pricier side, but it is good quality.  

3. Jungle

Jungle is another one of the best El Tunco restaurants. They have delicious Mediteranean bowls, wraps, and starters, along with burgers, tacos, and excellent cocktails. 

My favorite item on their menu is the Bali Bowl, but I also tried their burger, avocado tacos, Mediterranean chicken wrap, and a few of their cocktails. It was all great! 

They also have a fun atmosphere, with great music, a bunch of card and board games available for people to play, and cool jungle paintings on the walls. 

Most of their food is around the $9 range, but you can get three tacos for $6.50 which I found was a pretty good deal for the amount of food. 

4. Mr. Coffee

Mr. Coffee is a locally owned El Tunco restaurant that has great coffee, breakfast, and lunch. I had a lot of pupusas from here, and I also really enjoyed their caesar salad with grilled chicken. 

They also do a few different options for breakfast, including breakfast sandwiches, breakfast bagel sandwiches, pancakes, breakfast plates, and more. 

They also have tasty fruit smoothies. 

Price wise, things are decent here. The breakfast sandwiches are in the $5-$6 range, and lunch items are a dollar or two more. 

5. Dale Dale Cafe

Breakfast from Dale Dale Cafe one of the best El Tunco Restaurants
Breakfast from Dale Dale Cafe right next to the river

Dale Dale Cafe is another great breakfast restaurant in El Tunco. They’re located right on the river with a super pretty ocean view, and open air back patio. They have good coffee and espresso drinks, smoothies, and even boba. I tried their Boba Taro Tea, and their passionfruit mint smoothie- both were amazing! 

Dale Dale Cafe also has breakfast sandwiches and breakfast plates in the $6-$8 range. 

If you’re looking for a place to work on your laptop in El Tunco, this might be a good option. I saw plenty of people working on their computers here, and even taking work calls. 

6. Esquina La Comadre

Looking for more of a local restaurant in El Tunco? Esquina La Comadre is a really good option. They serve typical food here, usually in the $6-$8/plate range. Rowan and I both tried their pollo alla plancha with rice, beans, and veggies, it was super tasty and filling. They also serve burritos here which I didn’t personally try but some of my friends did and they said they were delicious. 

7. Makoi Pizza

During an incredible stay with Barebones Surf Camp, I was hosted at Casa Makoi, a lovely little guesthouse just steps away from the ocean. Casa Makoi also has its own restaurant called Makoi Pizza, and one of the nights during my stay I got to try the pizza, and it was AMAZING.

If you’re looking for a great locally owned pizzeria to check out in El Tunco, I recommend heading over to Makoi Pizza. 

8. Hotel y Restaurante Mamaguaya

Another one of the top restaurants in El Tunco I explored was Hotel y Restaurante Mamaguaya. They run with a bit of a Mexican theme here, and it’s pretty dang good! They have $5 Mexican style burritos, and they come with a DELICIOUS sauce and pico de gallo. It was pretty big too, so I only ate half of mine, which gave me two meals for $5. Not too bad. 

Hotel y Restaurante Mamaguaya also has good cocktails! I really enjoyed their mojito. Plus, they have a three story restaurant with really pretty river views. The restaurant looks unassuming from the street, but it’s definitely worth going inside and checking it all out. 

9. Set

I’m super excited to share this brand new, awesome El Tunco restaurant with you guys. It’s called Set, and it’s located right above the TenGo Todo Market. 

Rowan and I stumbled in here one night while it was pouring rain, and had no idea it was their very first night of being open! 

The main item on the menu at Set is their chicken wings, and let me tell ya- Rowan and I both agreed they were the best chicken wings we’ve ever had. We tried the buffalo and garlic parmesan sauces, but they also have a bbq sauce. 

The wings were so good we came back two nights in a row, and it was on the second night we went that the owner told us that last night we were their very first customers ever! 

In addition to wings, Set also has a burger, hot dog, nachos set, and frijoles borrachos on the menu. I didn’t try any of these items, but if they’re anything like the chicken wings, I bet they’re delicious. 

If you want to try out and support a brand new restaurant in El Tunco, go ahead and check out Set! 

Picture of the food menu from Set, a new restaurant in El Tunco. The menu mostly offers chicken wings
Picture of the food menu from Set
The cocktail menu from Set
The cocktail menu from Set

Prices of restaurants in El Tunco

I want to make a point to talk about prices of restaurants in El Tunco. Most of the restaurants on this list offer meals in the $5-$12 range, local beers in the $1.50-$2.00 range, and cocktails in the $5-$8 range. Pupusas are $1 everywhere I saw. 

Coming from California, I personally found these prices really affordable. However, for locals, and even compared to other towns in El Salvador, these prices are pretty high. 

Tipping at El Tunco restaurants

There is definitely a tipping culture in El Tunco. Many of the restaurants in El Tunco include a 10% service fee, but not all do, so be sure to ready the menu/ receipt to see if it’s included. 

Tips didn’t seem to be expected per se, but they were definitely very appreciated. I tipped pretty much everywhere I went. 

Best Restaurants in El Tunco- Final Thoughts

That’s a wrap on my guide to the best restaurants in El Tunco. I personally ate at each of these restaurants during my surf trip to El Tunco, and loved them all, which is why I’m recommending them to you guys. 

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