Lago Azul 

Restaurants you should know about

Lago Azul

David Seelig

Lago Azul

The word "affordable" doesn't necessarily jump to mind when thinking about the restaurant scene in the Sun Valley area, yet one of the area's hidden treasures is just that.

Sandra Castillo, owner of Lago Azul in Hailey, is a transplant from Nampa, and the Treasure Valley's loss is the Wood River Valley's gain. Lago Azul has been dishing up a combination of El Salvadorian and Mexican food for nearly a decade and in the process earned a loyal following of locals.

Castillo peppers her menu with favorites from her home country of El Salvador, including the ever-popular pupusas (ground pork and cheese inside a handmade cornmeal tortilla), fried plantains, yucca and even homemade caldo de res—a soup that comes complete with bone-in beef.

The cuisine shifts a bit north with Mexican favorites like tacos tinga (shredded chicken with onions and chipotle inside a taco that's deep-fried and then topped with veggies). Lago Azul even serves breakfast all day for those who can't get enough of the first meal of the day. Of course, it's done with a distinct south-of-the border taste with creations like shredded beef machaca.

If you really want to look like you're in the know, ask for a michelada—a combo of beer, tomato juice, Clamato and hot sauce—that is, if your stomach can handle it.

Best of all, diners can easily eat for less than $10 per person—and that's not something you can say very often in the Wood River Valley.

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