Located two doors down from Posada Tonala (the place where I stayed) on the main street in La Manzanilla is Jolanda’s. Specializing in European and Southeast Asian Cuisine, Jolanda’s is probably the most eclectic restaurant in town. Jolanda, the co-proprietor and her husband Leon have a most interesting story about how they ended up in La Manzanilla, but that is another story in its own right. Jolanda spent 9 months in Ao Nang, Thailand in 2001, and was trained in all styles of Thai cookery by a renowned gourmet chef who owns the Laughing Gecko Bungalows. Since the chef was shorthanded, he allowed Jolanda to work for him for 9 weeks.
Jolanda’s has legions of fans and is one of the most popular restaurants in town. As someone who loves spicy Thai cuisine, I decided to sample Jolanda’s her curried tofu dish on my first night in town. While the curry was fairly tasteful, I was a little disappointed that it did not have any vegetables, that usually accompany this type of dish. Upon Jolanda’s suggestion, I ordered a side dish of red cabbage. My 2nd time there, I had a tasty homemade tofu burger which was loaded with tomatoes, onions and lettuce. In addition, I had mustard soup, a traditional Dutch peasant dish. The soup was a little too rich in my opinion, but maybe that’s just the way it is supposed to be prepared. The menu is varied and there are lots of yummy non-vegetarian dishes to choose from. As far as the service goes, Leon is the headwaiter and he is very attentive to the needs of his customers.
Jolanda’s has a very quirky and artsy ambiance, exhibiting a variety of paintings, ceramics and indigenous arts and crafts from all Mexico. On Wednesday nights, they have a special Rice Table (Reservations only). During the season, the upstairs dining room is often jamming on Rice Table night.