Antigua Guatemala Restaurant Guide

Antigua Guatemala Restaurant Guide

 

Most Antigua Guatemala Restaurant Guides are paid for by the Restaurant to be placed in a book or a web site. Not the case in the Antigua Guatemala Restaurant Guide we blind tested every Restaurant in Antigua Guatemala without anyone knowing we were writing about them.

We love Antigua Guatemala restaurants, which provide an array of menus featuring “tipica” Guatemalan fare as well as everything from fast food to Sushi and French fusion. But don’t even think about trying the big, fancy, always empty places, of which there are a number in Antigua Guatemala. For this reason we have put this Antigua Guatemala Restaurant Guide together.

Yolkobsens are convinced that some Restaurants are money laundering joints and the patron-free restaurants just a front.  You’ll know them when you see them and likely your instincts will tell you to move along.  It’s a universal that people don’t want to eat in empty restaurants.  The role and fate of these restaurants is intriguing, but likely something you will want to discuss with friends over dinner elsewhere, like at a real restaurant.

Antigua Guatemala offer a cornucopia of Restaurant and dining establishments that you need not worry about going hungry there.  In fact, while some places are better than others, Yolkobsens do not recall ever having a bad meal while dining in this lovely Spanish colonial town.

We’ve sampled food at most of the good places in Antigua Guatemala and what follows here is a small roster of recommended eateries which will begin to make up the ongoing Antigua Guatemala Restaurant Guide.

The Best Fried Chicken in Antigua Guatemala Is? Pollo Pinulito
We had some work done on our home and I needed to feed a few extra mouths that day and lacking time to cook for the crew, yes I headed for some Pollo or Chicken. I figured okay I would give this place a try. Luckily I landed at Pollo Pinulito at what appeared to be a quiet time, that did not last.

Leyendas — 7a Avenida Norte #42 Located at one of the more southern points of the avenue, Antigua (Guatemala) Leyendas is a cozy family-run establishment decked out in classic Guatemalan colours.  The walls hold framed concepts of the “leyendas” legends from the Maya origin stories.  While dining you can enjoy the wall depictions of Maya stories of creation, destruction and rebirth.  No extra charge.

The food is well prepared and typical of the Guatemala lunch. But Leyendas’ platos have a real home cooking appeal.  I had a kindly-prepared roast chicken, with scented rice and crisp seasonal vegetables.  Mr. Y. had a pork cutlet with spaghetti and broccoli, cooked just right.  The service was excellent, with the cook coming out to ask how we were enjoying her offerings.  She made us feel like we were sitting in her home having lunch with an old friend.  The fare at Antigua is very reasonably priced.  The tab for two, including non-alcoholic beverages, was less than you’d pay for one McFeed for one person back in your hometown.

Restaurante La Estrella  – 7a Avenida Norte #42 North Americans like variety in their food.  So if you are one of those and have a hankering for Chinese cuisine, this is a good place to drop into.  The only indication that this is a Chinese food restaurant is the lovely black and gold Mandarin screen that sits in the front entrance way and which can be seen clearly from the street.   If you look up, immediately from the screen, you’ll see a Guatemalan flag depicted under the restaurant sign.  All of this makes for a real multicultural start.

Once in the eatery, there’s not a hint of anything from the orient.  It could be any Guatemalan eatery in a converted colonial house, but for the presence of Estrella herself.  There’s something supremely graceful about this woman as she moves from table to table.  Her small daughters caper about her as she manages tables and the kitchen and she doesn’t lose a beat with them or her customers.   When she comes to your table you feel you are in the presence of a kind and clear soul.  The food is really good too.

Jardin Bavaria – 7a Avenida Norte #49 This odd mix of Bavaria and Guatemala is worth looking into if you find yourself in the 7th avenue north barrio/nachbarshaft, especially if your palette is yammering at you for a classic plate of German sausage, sauerkraut and fried potatoes that really “schmecks.”

Mr. Y was looking forward to sampling some fine German beer and was encouraged when the waitress, a sweet young Guatemalan woman rocking a classic Bavarian dirndl, poofy-sleeved white blouse and striped apron, put down coasters promoting Konig Pilsner.  He was somewhat disappointed that the beer menu consisted of Gallo, Gallo and Gallo.  However, his mood lifted when he found the Jardin Bavaria offers the Guatemalan beer on tap, a rare score.  So we still managed to get a “prosit” out of him.

Metiz French Delicatessen – Antigua Guatemala
We can never resists another house specialty, the “saucisson sec.” This is a classic French narrow, mainly pork, sometimes with a mix of beef, cured, dry sausage. Metiz can’t keep up with the demand for his Parisian sausages. He assured us that more were on the way, and suggested that we console ourselves with a beef and pork model from Tecpan Guatemala. It was excellent, we had to confess, but we still prefer the Metiz house brand.

Antigua Guatemala The Best Thai Cuisine At Cafe Flor
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.

Rincon Tipico – Antigua Guatemala Restaurant
Yolkobsens tried three times to get into the extremely popular lunch spot, Rincon Tipico, in Antigua Guatemala. Never could get a seat. But the third time was the charm. Our tenacity paid off and we finally got to find out why this eatery is so popular and crowded between noon and 3:30 p.m. during the weekday “almuerzo” frenzy.

Our secret? We went at gringo lunch time, shortly after noon. All of the other civilized folk, that is, the true Antiguans, wouldn’t put their fine selves in a dining chair until after 1 p.m., which worked to our advantage.

Antigua Guatemala, CATours, Moto Cafe, Best Burgers
When the burgers arrived we were thrilled. The acid test of a good burger? The buns were toasted, an old fashioned and often neglected part of the art form. It also appears that the burger fairies who prepared this used a fat-to-lean ratio more in keeping with North American hamburger meat cuisine than usual Guatemalan formula.

San Juan del Obispo Guatemala Chocolate
Along with the impressive Palace and museum, San Juan de Obispo Guatemala is also known for some tasty specialities.

Next, we tried another San Juan del Obispo Guatemala specialty, the sweet-tooth addictive personality’s crack cocaine.  Yes.  I’m talking about chocolate.  Our favourite locally made chocolate outlet was Antigua (Guatemala) Chocolate, located in the 3rd Calle Oriente #6.  Here Nora, the shop’s chocolate chief-of-staff and expert, offered us samples of their fine handmade wares.  We chose the cardamom-infused circles that come four-to-a-pack.  By the way, Guatemala is the world’s leading producer of cardamom, mostly from the Copan area.

After a good lunch at the Cocina del Obispo, a restaurant near the main entrance on the road into San Juan del Obispo Guatemala, we set off for the Bishop’s Palace museum. (Mr. Y lucked out with his plate of chile rellenos; though you could tell they had been frozen and revived in hot oil, they were more than good).

Las Antorchas Antigua Guatemala restaurants
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.

Fresh Blue Marlin Steaks for Dinner – Recipes Antigua Guatemala
It is friday in Antigua Guatemala and it is time for our next installment of Antigua Guatemala Recipes. This recipes has nothing to do with having fish on Friday, Friday is the day I have found at the El Mercado Antigua Market that the fish is plentiful for with many choices. Today we went to the El Mercado Market in Antigua and our choice was fresh Blue Marlin Steaks. For a pound of fresh Blue Marlin Steaks from Monterrico Guatemala was 25Q or about $3.21 cents for a pound. We have three Blue Marlin Steaks as tonight we have company.

If you are in the mood for a splurge, try Bistro Cinq, 4a calle oriente #7. A French bistro featuring great food, very authentic cuisine found no where else in Antigua Guatemala.  It features an open kitchen where you can watch the chefs work and a great bar. This bistro offers many specials and unique local foods hard to find elsewhere.
Bourbon Caffe has delicious food and a cool casual atmosphere. Here only jazz music is heard and there’s a live band on weekends.

Estudio35, 5a avenida norte, is a nice place with fine atmosphere, excellent pizza, tasty crepes and a large variety of drinks and cocktails.  An added bonus is free WI-FI.
La Fonda de la Calle Real has three locations: 3a Calle Pte 7, 5a Ave Nte 5, 5a Ave Nte 5 (the last two just north of the northwest corner of the Parque Central), tel +502 7832-0507. They provide generous helpings of Guatemalan specialties, with reasonable prices and a touch of corporate efficiency in their operations. The “De Todo Un Poco” (“a bit of everything”) platter combines steak, chicken, and sausage for Q91. The vegetarian “Pepian Vegetariano” offers green beans and other vegetables in a unusual smoky-flavored sauce. The green salad is fresh and overflows the large plate. The 5a Ave Nte 5 location features a rustic three-story wood-frame building just off the Parque Central with pleasant second-story open balconies.

Nokiate, 1a avenida sur #7 is Antigua Guatemala’s only real sushi bar where you can watch the sushi chef prepare the fresh rolls, sashimi and sushi and also has a great selection of Latin-Japanese cooking. The ambiance is very warm and inviting. Great bar scene also.

La Peña de Sol Latino is a bar and restaurant featuring live music by Guatemalan and Central American bands (featuring Paco). The music, the “feel”, and the food make this a really special place among Antigua Guatemala restaurants.  Make sure to try their brownies; they are absolutely amazing. Their grouper macadamia dish is also highly recommended, and their desserts are fantastic. Open for lunch and dinner, its located at 5 Calle Poniente (just along from El Sitio and opposite La Bodegona supermarket).
Restaurante Doña Luisa Xicotencatl, 4a Calle Ote 12, has the feel of a well-run corporate restaurant set in a gorgeous leafy courtyard of a historic building. Menu includes well-executed breakfast, hamburgers, and Guatemalan interpretations of Tex-Mex food. It’s a gem among

Sabor Cubano, 4a Calle Oriente 3A, is a half-block east of the north side of the Parque Central. This restaurant has a slightly up-market feel. It has live Cuban music on Thursday through Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons.

Travel Menu6a ,Calle Pte #14, is one block south and a partial block west of the southwest corner of Parque Central, on the north side of the street. Promises “small place, big portions”, and delivers. It seats perhaps 20 people at about eight tables, in small, dim room painted to look like a underground European keller, lit only by candles on stands overflowing with waterfalls of wax drippings. They offer dinner entrees at low prices, with vegetarian options for everything. The portions are indeed generous. Beer and wine are also available, but not desserts. Topping it all off is the friendly proprietor, Jesper Nilsen of Denmark. Attracts a traveler crowd.

Kloster, 3a Calle Oriente No. 28, is right next to Casa Santo Domingo and features good fondue.  As well, the beef is tasty, the shrimp, shrimpy. Bread is local, savory, and fresh. Ok Wine selection, though I was there later in the day and just had some Gallo beer. The desert fondue is a good touch, the chocolate a great quality. Service was excellent including descriptions of the meals (in Spanish). The seating in the back is visible only if the garage door is open so get a table back there for a pleasant night.

We will continue the Antigua Guatemala Restaurant Guide next month with another installment of our tasting opinions.

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