There’s a place that a lot of tourists go. That’s because Café Mamasonga is conveniently located near the ferry in Isabel Segunda and just down the road from the lighthouse. Many people are looking for either their first or last refreshing beverage when coming and going from the island. I’ve tried to discern whether or not the locals frequent the restaurant. That’s still up in the air, although a few I spoke with did mention it as a good choice for lunch.
I find that it’s easier to walk around Isabel than drive a car. The side roads are narrow and often filled with parked cars, making it a bit difficult to negotiate. Plus, I like walking. It’s good exercise and helps walk off all of the food and drink I’ve been excessively consuming as of late.
You won’t miss Café Mamasonga’s. It’s the bright yellow colored building, with blue and purple doors. Plus there are rainbow colored umbrella’s open up on the top deck. There’s a set of wooden stairs that you ascend, and you’ll find yourself in the open aired dining and bar area.
It is currently off season, so there were only a few people there. Others did continue to trickle in as I sat at the bar. I contemplated a table next to the railing with a view of the street and water, but chose on this day to be closer to the drink station. There’s plenty of table seating scattered around the open deck.
In terms of ambiance, people that sit at the bar will usually attempt to converse with you. I chatted briefly with a couple from Massachusetts who were having their last drink on Vieques before waiting to depart on the ferry. The bartender/waitress was very friendly and talked with us about her life on the island and our lives at “home”. The restaurant is clean and casual.
***THE RESTAURANT ACCEPTS CASH ONLY, NO CREDIT CARDS. MAKE SURE YOU PLAN ACCORDINGLY.***
The restaurant has a descent lunch menu. There’s enough variety where anyone should be able to pick something to eat. You’ll find seafood options such as seafood stew, crab cakes, fried shrimp, and blackened fish. There are a few sandwich options, salads, and burgers. Prices currently range from about $9 – $16. I decided to go with the coconut shrimp basket with fries and a side of orange marmalade and cocktail sauce for dipping.
I had no complaints about the food. The portion size was good, with plenty of shrimp and french fries. The coconut shrimp was crispy and well coated with coconut flakes. I really enjoyed the sweetness of the orange marmalade and it complemented the shrimp perfectly.
I also had a few drinks to round out the experience. I started with a delicious rum punch, and then had a really cold Medalla to finish.
There was no room for dessert, but I would have loved to try the key lime pie. People have said some really good things about it, but there just wasn’t another inch of room in my stomach.
Leftovers are fed to the resident iguanas that embark from the trees when food is left for them on the edge of the deck. They are fairly orderly, though I heard sometimes there’s some fighting amongst them. They are big guys, and quite prehistoric looking. This was really my first up close and personal experience with them. If you look to the left in the big tree, you’ll see a whole bunch of the iguanas lounging in the tree.
I wouldn’t be opposed to going back to Café Mamasonga. I’d probably give some other restaurants a try before making a return visit. That’s not to say that I didn’t have a good experience there, it’s merely that I wasn’t completely blown away and overwhelmed by the need to go back. It was fried food. It was good, but there are other “good” restaurants I’m looking forward to checking out, too.