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“If you don't care how long it takes...” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of El Gato Negro

El Gato Negro
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Cafe
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Kids, Business meetings
Dining options: Brunch, Breakfast, Lunch, Free Wifi, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Takeout, Waitstaff
Description: El Gato Negro is a Bookstore/Coffeehouse providing locals and travelers a comfortable place to enjoy whole foods, interesting conversation, amazing coffee, the best selection of books in Central America, and an ambiance which will make you forget that you have spent four hours with us.We source organic and whole foods locally and import what we cannot find here. Our friends are our bakers, yogurt makers, lettuce growers, bee keepers, coconut oil pressers...... We offer an experience unique in Central America.
Lebanon, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“If you don't care how long it takes...”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 8, 2014

If you don't care how long it takes or how unfriendly the owners and staff are, go ahead. Just don't browse the books unless you intend to buy them and don't expect service with a smile. Ain't gonna happen.

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
4 Thank Leslie C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ElGatoNegroSJDS, Owner at El Gato Negro, responded to this review, June 13, 2014
There is not a no-browsing books policy. There is a no reading a book until after it is paid for policy, as per every bookstore in the world. It is fine to look over a page or two to determine if it is the right choice should the quotes and recommendations and awards listed on the back of the covers isn't enough to entice you to purchase the book. The books are for sale; they are not free resources. More than half of our collection is non-fiction and for some reason many people seem to think that purchasing a cup of coffee means they can read a books at will. They cannot. They can read the book after they pay for it. Millions of people purchase books online without reading fifty pages of a book. You cannot walk into a restaurant and taste the food before deciding to purchase dinner. You cannot sit in a movie theater without paying first. Books are no different.

The owners are not rude; they're just selective about the energy of the clients. We do not tolerate guests who are rude our staff and who insult the owners and their guests. Not everyone clicks; we obviously don't. I shall share this review with my staff and let them know that you will not be visiting our establishment again. I am sure they will be greatly disappointed. May you find happiness elsewhere.
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573 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Jinotega, Nicaragua
Level Contributor
41 reviews
24 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Really want to like!”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 6, 2014

Let me start by saying I wasn't wild about this place the first time I came about 2 years ago- but I want to be! So this time we came with all of my family to eat lunch. First of all they have bagels- and we love bagels. The sandwich was very good! Turkey/bacon. The salad was good- Greek! However, the prices are not reasonable and as I live in Nicaragua I understand that many of the things they serve have to be imported and thus the prices have to be high... however it was more TOO expensive. The service was not good. And we really did try to like it! I think this place could be awesome if they taught their staff, or found staff that is trainable to smile and greet the customer, and serve with the attitude of service :). And also looked to make the prices a little more affordable!

  • Visited February 2014
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank motogrlmissy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“badly disappointed!”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 3, 2014

the place itself looks really nice and inviting. But the staff and the prices of this place ruins everything. Iced coffee was brackish and the soup was more or less like purée. Expect to wait very long, pay for a very good diner and get disappointed on any occasion.

There are many, many better options in this little town.

  • Visited February 2014
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
4 Thank LuigiKoffeone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ElGatoNegroSJDS, Owner at El Gato Negro, responded to this review, May 16, 2014
One reason that I do not like TripAdvisor and why I do not use it myself when traveling is the quality of the reviewers, especially those who complain and offer no constructive comments.

I loathe it when people say something is expensive and do not qualify what expensive is in their mind. To a backpacker desperate to live on five dollars a day, just about anything in San Juan del Sur is expensive. The prices we charge are affordable (we have many Nicaraguan customers), reasonable and lower than most other restaurants. The prices include 15 percent sales tax, which is explained in the menu. Because of the quality of food that we offer and the need to keep prices reasonable to deal with people who think a smoked turkey cub sandwich with thick cut, locally smoked bacon and avocado on an imported bagel (because the bagels in Nicaragua do not have a particular yeast associated with New York Style bagels), we have very high food costs. yes, our food costs more than gallo pinto in the mercado, but we do not serve gallo pinto so comparing it to a frittanga on the street is comparing apples to oranges, or champagne to Thunderbird wine.

The soup mentioned is carrot ginger puree, which is traditionally how carrot soups are served around the world.

The coffee is organic and fresh roasted from our own farm. Sorry you didn't like it; most people love it as evidenced by our sales of packaged coffee and repeat business.

If you come into a cafe that is jammed packed with people, you need to expect to wait. We are nota take out restaurant and do not promote take away food. People stand in line at Starbucks for 20 minutes to walk away with substandard coffee in a paper cup, but walk into a cafe and expect that they will be served instantly.

We put all of our profits back into the local economy and our employees. We pay a living wage, not the substandard minimum wage. We have put five employees through university (paying 100 percent of the cost); three graduated with degrees in law, psychology and business finance and have worked for us for over eight years.

If we charged less, then we would go out of business and we would not have been able to support our employees in their quest for higher education.

Fortunately, most people see the value in our operation, which is why we are usually full and do not have to advertise or depend on TripAdvisor for our business.
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New York City, New York
Level Contributor
19 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Cafe away from home”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 2, 2014 via mobile

If you miss your hometown coffee shop or Starbucks, this place is a great tourist spot. The food and coffee are good and service is excellent. The drawback of this place is the FAQ section of the menu which touts being environmental because they don't offer take-away coffee. But I have to wonder what the carbon footprint is from shipping in books, bagels, cheeses, and meats from the US. Go there is you want an American experience, skip it otherwise.

Helpful?
Thank pirksts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Whitehorse, Canada
Level Contributor
26 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Way Overpriced!!!”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 30, 2014

Our family went here for smoothies. We ordered 4 different smoothies and all 4 were terrible. 2 of them we couldn't even drink, that's how bad they were! We paid almost US$20.- total, not incl. tip. -And we did not add a tip, because the service was ...as bad as the smoothies!
Out of curiousity we checked out the prices of the books...way overpriced, just like the smoothies.

  • Visited January 2014
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Mom1974
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ElGatoNegroSJDS, Owner at El Gato Negro, responded to this review, May 16, 2014
The smoothies you mentioned are superfood smoothies with chia, bee pollen, maca, spirulina, cacao, mesquite, hemp seed, flax seed, lucuma, macuna, and a few other special ingredients, depending on he type of smoothie you want. You cannot get most of these superfood items in the US,, and certainly not at Jamba Juice. We do not add sugar to our smoothies and we use natural ingredients. If you did not like the smoothies, it was probably because you are used to commercial drinks, most of which have little nutritional value. As a parent ordering for a child, I would have opted for a traditional smoothie for which you can easily pick and choose the fruits and liquid, which is about half the price of the superfood smoothies.

The books are not overpriced. They are the best value (and best collection) of English books you will find outside of a non-English speaking country,. I planned an around-the-world trip based upon the availability of English bookstores around different regions. The Globe Bookstore in Prague sold new books (mostly UK titles) for $25 each - and that was pricing 7 years ago. Our price for new books is about $3 over the US price (usually the Canadian price) to cover the cost of shipping. Once read read tradebacks (soft covers) with Pulitzer and Man Booker awards attached to the titles or authors are generally $9 to $10, depending on the condition of the book. Given that it is an English bookstore in Nicaragua, this is an exceptional price. Out of print Nicaraguan history books can go from $10 to $150 dollars, depending on the rarity of the book. Murder mysteries and thrillers are between $3 and $5 on average.

You cannot sit down and read a book without paying for it, just as you cannot eat food or watch a movie without paying for it. This is the policy of bookstores everywhere in the world. If you order it from Amazon, you can only read a random page or two. Many people think they can use our books as a free reference library and get upset when told this is not the case. Many people have a huge sense of entitlement. As the person who procures, ships, organizes, restocks and pays for the books with her own personal funds, I take offense when someone thinks they can read the relevant sections for free and/or destroy the book (people bend spines all of the time). No one is forcing you to buy books you don't want, but that means you don't get to read them.
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