It was Friday, May 20th, the day before the world was supposed to end, according to religious guru Harold Camping. I had to pick one restaurant to eat at the day before the impending apocalypse. It was a tough choice. Do I pick an old favorite? Do I pick a place that I had always wanted to go to, but had never gotten a chance to try? As I looked down my list of restaurants needing follow-up visits, one name popped out at me like a beacon of light…Restaurante El Salvador del Mundo (literal translation “The Savior of the World Restaurant”). How, on the eve of such a dark day, could I go anywhere else?
For those who have not tried Salvadoran food, many of the seasonings are similar to Mexican food. However, a lot of the dishes are a little different. You will find no tacos, enchiladas, or burritos at El Salvador del Mundo, although there are tamales and items resembling empanadas. El Salvador del Mundo’s menu features a lot of seafood, steak, chicken, plantains, rice, sweet corn, yucca, and pacaya (which is an extremely bitter flower-like vegetable with long tentacles). Entrées range in price from $2.75 to $15.00 and include a variety of fried and grilled fish, steak, shrimp, and chicken dishes, as well as tamales, pupusas, soups, and sandwiches. I recommend the Pan con Gallina (grilled chicken strips, with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and more on a long French bread bun for $5), the Pastelitos (similar to empanadas, 3 for $2.75), the Pupusa with Everything (an extremely thick tortilla, stuffed with meat, cheese, beans, and more for $1.85), and the Del Mundo Ranchero (peel & eat shrimp and grilled steak, sautéed in Ranchero sauce, with onions, tomato, and green peppers, served with rice and salad for $13.50). The Ranchero Fish (fried tilapia in Ranchero sauce, with rice and salad for $9) was also good.
Restaurante El Salvador del Mundo has, as best as I can tell, only one server. While she usually takes your order fairly quickly, once you get your food, she may not return to your table the rest of your visit. I had to walk up to the counter twice on the eve of the apocalypse—three times, if you count paying the check. Tables at the restaurant don’t get bussed quickly either.
Overall, I would say that Restaurante El Salvador del Mundo is worth a visit—just to try good Salvadoran food—but I am guessing that many diners won’t have the patience to return, especially if they get the same service that I got in my two visits.
Note: While I can’t be completely sure that it was, indeed, my eating at “The Savior of the World Restaurant” that staved off the apocalypse (it could have been the guy complaining at the table next to me or the family with the screaming children seated behind us that night), I like to think that it was. (The menus DO quote scripture; it had to be one of us, right?) I guess I could be mistaken. We are all wrong every once in awhile, right Mr. Camping?