We have spent many a wonderful lunch or early dinner at D’Hugo’s in the Cevichelandia food court. It’s at the far end of the beach near Chipipe – two blocks off the Malecon.
Of the many times we have eaten there, only one meal (crab salad) that was not perfect – finding too many bits of shell in my salad. If you visit M-F during lunch hour you can order the almuerzo (set lunch). They usually have two choices of soup and two choices for the entree. The soup we choose is the Shrimp Soup (Sopa de Camarone), a large bowl of rich broth with potatoes, macaroni and fresh large shrimp. The entree I order is the fried fish (pescado frito). It’s a nice serving of fresh sea bass (corvina) lightly breaded and fried, white rice, patacones or maduros – bananas, and a salad of lettuce, onions and tomato. It comes with the fruit juice drink of the day which has always been fresh and very delicious.
Normally they serve everything at one time, so don’t get upset when you are only two spoonfuls into your soup and the entrée is delivered. Also, the salad will not be dressed. The onions seem to be marinated in a vinegary dressing that both softens them and removes that raw onion taste. They do have mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard on the table and will give you aji (pronounced ah hee – a chili sauce). Be sure to check the aji before pouring it on as every restaurant makes it different so the hotness will vary from day-to-day and restaurant to restaurant. You get this entire meal for $2.50 out the door as Joe would say. It is more than enough food for a hearty lunch. On the weekends almuerzo is not available. We normally order the lobster salad or the lobster with garlic priced at $10 – excellent choices with great flavor. I have a very hard time choosing. Joe loves the fried shrimp for $4.50 which is a very large portion with a dozen or more large lightly breaded fried shrimp, rice, sliced avocado and salad, yes and Patacones or sliced maduros. And how could he pass up the “big beer” for $1.25 for a 22 oz. Pilsener. A fried fish dinner is all of $3. If you ask nicely sometimes they will substitute papas fritas (french fries) for the arroz (rice) on an à la carte meal (something you order from the menu), not the set lunch “almuerzo”.
The place is clean, well staffed and managed, with a friendly atmosphere. It can get pretty crowded during lunch hour and on the weekends. Also, it is very common for the staff in most of these restaurants to approach you with a menu as you are walking down the street. They will even cross the street to show you. The first time I saw this I was taken aback as it felt a bit like I was being accosted. It is customary for them to do this to attract business. Be understanding – all they are trying to do is make a living. Next meal there if I remember my camera I’ll post the menu. Hey, I’m on permanent vacation here!