A recent Tuesday evening found us in the capable hands of the staff at Las Antorchas in Antigua Guatemala.  Since we had a profound and insatiable yen for steak, Yolkobsens targeted this place for the evening’s repast.

Typical of central-town establishments, this large restaurant is a converted large Spanish colonial home.  This one has a lovely courtyard entrance with fresh flowers set in layers in a flowing fountain.  A good start to any dinner.

Better still, staff immediately moved our table closer to the warm wood-blessed stove/hearth, the restaurant’s handsome centerpiece.  This was a very welcome move since evenings in Antigua Guatemala can be on the cool side. Throughout our meal wait staff were efficient, polite and responsive.  Our waiter spoke excellent English.

We started off with a shared appetizer of garlic calamari. I was a disappointed with this serving as the breaded squid seemed to have had a longer acquaintance with the freezer than it had ever had with the sea. The sauce was somewhat in the old-time sweet tartar sauce tradition.  Not the best start.

However, as soon as our steaks arrived, the first course was quickly forgiven.  We both ordered fillet mignon and were surprised when we found not just one but two premium steaks on our plates.  Each was the size of am average woman’s palm.  Done in the classic fillet mignon style with a wrapping of bacon, the steaks were complemented with a mushroom gravy sauce.  The accompanying medley of seasonal vegetables and sliced fingerling potatoes were well prepared and paired competently with the meat.

These steaks are from Argentina staff told us when we asked. It has richer but less sweet top and bottom notes on the palette than does a typical Guatemalan steak.  Tender as the night these steaks were and infused with the magic flavors that only a real grill can conjure.  And frankly, I think my fillet was better than anything I had eaten at a premium North American steak house, such as Ruth’s Chris, for example.

The Chilean cabernet sauvignon we ordered was velvety and paired excellently with the top quality steaks.  We finished the last of our wine over a shared chocolate mousse, which was quickly dispatched with the two spoons they brought us without being asked.  As far as chocolate mousse goes, I’d give this one only a B-minus since it lacked the orangey zing of Cointreau or Triple Sec to honor the chocolate.

Overall, we were pleased with our meal, the excellent service and the impeccably clean and well run restaurant.  Best of all, we paid about a third of what a meal like that would cost us in Toronto or any other North American city, even with the imposed 30 percent gratuity added on by the restaurant.

We will go back for sure, next time for the Poncho Grande, a large skewer of grilled meat, presented in a dramatic vertical pose, with salad and fries accompaniment.

Las Antorchas is located at 3rd avendia sur (south) #1, just a couple of blocks southeast of the Parque Central in Antigua Guatemala.

Las Antorchas Antigua Guatemala restaurants web site is: http://www.lasantorchas.com/

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