After an exciting morning seashell shopping I decided some sustenance was in order. It was a warm day so I looked for somewhere air-conditioned. A block from Sea Shell City I found Ernie Tomato’s, cool, friendly and oh so tomato-y.
Ernie’s is easy to recognize by all the tomatoes painted on the building and the big smiling tomato pointing the way to the entrance. Once inside, the first things you will notice are the tomatoes, many of them flying. There are tomatoes on the ceiling, on the walls, on the bar, and on the tables; there is even a boulder-sized tomato with windows and a door (I never investigated what was inside.)
I was immediately seated by a window facing the street, given chips, salsa and a menu. The menu is extensive offering many appetizers, four kinds of soup, and five distinct salads to start. Pastas, seafood, BBQ, Mexican food, pizza, grilled steaks and combination plates are offered as entrees. My drink was served by an extremely perky waiter who pointed out the house specialties on the menu and told me how things were prepared. I chose the fried green tomato appetizer for 27 pesos (US$2.70) and the cilantro fish filet for 78 pesos (US$7.80). Entrees range from 42 pesos for the spaghetti Tomato to 145 pesos for shrimp dishes.
My fried green tomatoes were served, looking pretty on lettuce and sprinkled with parmesan. After a bite, I decided to take a picture of them. Two waiters came running over screaming at a third and tried to take my camera away. The other waiter came over with a giant tomato and slammed it on my head! It turns out it was a tomato hat and they wanted to take my picture for me. Being camera shy, I declined. They shuffled off shaking their heads; I’m sure thinking anyone who would take a picture of tomatoes would want a picture of one on their head. The tomatoes were OK but not as tasty as they looked.
My fish filet came to the table also looking pretty; I waited for the staff to be busy somewhere else before I took a picture! The fish was covered in a creamy cilantro sauce and was served with rice and vegetables. Everything was good; nothing was great. I shyly took a few pictures of the restaurant and asked for my bill.
Although the food was not special, I enjoyed my lunch. I was alone, the view of the street and the tomato décor kept me entertained. The service was attentive and friendly (tomato-hat episode aside) and the air-conditioning worked well. The place is cheerful and worth a visit.
Ernie Tomato’s is open daily from noon to midnight and accepts Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. It is on the east side of Av. Loaiza, near Hotel Los Sábalos and across the street from Anthonys Restaurant.