In http://www.nicaliving.com/node/19106#comment-105023 Billy Bob starts talking about food and housing. In particular, he says "What if you don't like crappy food and housing" and goes on to turn it into the reason Nicaragua has economically stagnated. I would like to discuss the food issue here.
I think there are lots of excellent food options in Nicaragua. But, what there isn't is a lot of demand for this food at least as served in restaurants. It's a very different dynamic than you might see in, for example, much of the US.
Poor people don't dine out that often. In the US, some people can afford unhealthy but consistent chain fast food but even that low-quality food is out of reach of the budget of most Nicaraguans. And, unlike more socialistic economies such as the US where the government gives you money if you don't have any, that same infrastructure does not exist here.
What does exist is that because labor is so cheap, even the poor tend to have employees. Thus, for most Nicaraguans living near where there might be a restaurant, they are more likely to eat at home. After all, their employee needs to do something and food preparation is a big piece of their work.
For those who can afford to eat out and live where it is practical, I assert there are a sufficient number of decent options. By sufficient I mean that there seems to be more than enough capacity to meet the demands of the people who elect to eat out. While I don't eat out a lot (and virtually never since I moved to a rural location), I can only think of one time I waited for a table and that wait was less than five minutes.
What one considers good food will, of course, vary but here are some of the places I have found good where good means clean, tasty and with good service. In Estelí, my choices would include the Italian restaurant (whose name I can never remember), Cafe Luz, El Recanto, Vuela Vuela, Coifer and Los Chagúites. There are probably more.
In Corinto I have had excellent seafood meals in two different restaurants. While I have not eaten in a lot of restaurants in Managua because I am seldom there, I have had a few excellent meals there. I have also eaten, many times, in an excellent restaurant in the middle of nowhere on the Pan American Highway maybe 20 km south of Sebaco. Also, excellent food in Rivas, Ocotal and Somoto.
To me, the main ingredient in finding good food is using the typical communications method: word of mouth. There are options but more times than not, a big sign or a chain name is not how to find good food. It's there but you need to do your homework.
To me, it is the same eating at home. Here, I eat better than most places I have lived. That is mostly because I can grow a lot of my own food. If there is one ingredient I really miss, it is fresh mushrooms and I plan to solve that problem myself.