Some friends took me there during a recent visit to Margarita and I was expecting the usual fried fish and arepas type of experience so I was surprised by this unusual exposure to culinary excellence in the middle of nowhere. The place is located in an old house in a small town called Pedro Gonzales in Margarita Island in the convoluted country of Venezuela. Décor is as cool as cool can be and it is an eclectic mixture of everything old; keys, phonographs, cameras, furniture, advertising signs, tools, paintings, sculptures....you name it. There is no air conditioned but there will be a breeze blowing most of the time so your comfort is never in jeopardy. Esther greets you and never stops talking from then on....but in a good way. She is friendly, witty, gregarious and funny. She also knows her business. When we asked if she had a menu she said that yes, of course but she could only cook what she could find in Margarita which is limited due to shortages in just about everything food. She then recites the menu with the poise and charm of a seasoned bistro owner...standing ovation, please. For starter we had stuffed aji dulce which was superb and then I had the fish filet with a white sauce filled with different kinds of roe, including sea urchin....absolutely fantastic. Esther does not have a liquor license so you can take your wine, beer or hard liquor with you and she will provide glasses, ice and everything else you might need, charging a very small amount for the service. Hugs and kisses were in order when we left about three hours after we got there. The place is not that big so reservations are always a good idea. Why you would want to go to Margarita is beyond my comprehension but if you do, eating at Casa de Esther is a must.
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