Yolkobsens have a compass for variety when it comes to food and are always on the lookout for restaurants that provide an alternative to the wonderful, but often very similar platos, on offer in Antigua Guatemala eateries. Cafe Flor’s Thai cuisine was a happy diversion.
Our noshing clocks must have been on Asian time because we stumbled into Cafe Flor well after Antigua Guatemala lunchtime. First impression of the place is of Toulouse-Laurtrec oranges, saffron and umbra colours that immediately give the restaurant a warm ambience. Mucho art on the walls and the formidable presence of a baby grand piano give this cafe a slightly lopsided and chaotic charm.
The owner’s personal charm and natural devotion to hospitality matched the warm colours and piano bar atmosphere to a tee. We chose a garden table with a view of the restaurant’s bright interior.
Mr. Y and I started off with a shared plate of dumplings from the appetizer section of the menu. They were delicious and redolent with coriander, spiced pork, sweet scallions and just the just right fish sauce lilt. We had to talk ourselves out of ordering another plate as the four little pouches of Thai goodness went down in a flash.
My lizard brain had been frog-marching me around for days, telling me to find a good plate of Pad Thai pronto. So I ordered the rice noodle dish, which has been a staple of the country’s cuisine since back in the day when it was still called Siam. It was a vegetable and chicken Pad Thai, sunny with tamarind juice, just kissed with chili pepper, dolloped with fish sauce and accented with the must-haves of peanut, coriander and lime.
Pad Thais are like fingerprints; there are no two alike. Often many of them fall into the ill-fated and disappointing ketchup noodle variety and others don’t make the grade because the chef is so heavy-handed with the ingredients that the noodles don’t have a chance to sing for their supper.
Happily, Cafe Flor’s version falls into the winning category. It has just the right blend of flavors, brought to a higher calling with the final touch, that is, the baptism of fresh lime juice presided over by the lucky diner.
We weren’t going to have dessert, but the description of the macadamia nut pie was too hard to resist. This Cafe Flor confection is a riff on the much-loved pecan pie. Since pecans are not native to Guatemala or prohibitively expensive if they can be located at all, Cafe Flor set about creating this pie-lover’s dream. Try it, but order one slice and two spoons. A little of this goes a long way. By the way, this has nothing to do with Thailand, in case you were wondering.
On the whole we recommend Cafe Flor for its well-prepared and reasonably priced Thai fare and friendly atmosphere. It’s conveniently located a minute from the Parque Central at 4a Avendida Sur #1.