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Great food in Guatemala?

  • c
  • China Jun 13, 2006 11:46 AM
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Hello,

I'm off to Guatemala for ten days at the start of July and I'm wondering if anyone has any advice about great places to eat or good dishes to try. There's a good chance that we'll be in Tikal, Flores, Rio Dulce, Copan, Chichicastenango, Antigua, and Guatemala City. It seems like there are a lot of places geared towards tourists, I'm mostly looking for recommendations of great Guatemalan or other central american food.

Thanks,
China

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  1. Donde Mikel in Guatemala City is good, not touristy at all. They pretty much only have steak and shrimp but the food is terrific.

    13 calle entre 3a y 4a Avenida, Zona 10,
    Ciudad de Guatemala, 1010

    1. The fried chicken at the Cuatro Caminos highway junction!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Everyone will know this chicken which may be the inspiration of the Pollo CAmpero chain.....essential!!

      1. Coming a bit late to this post, but I'm just back from a couple of weeks in Guate. This may sound odd, but "great Guatemalan" food is found mostly in private homes, not in restaurants. I've seen paches, for example, a classic Guatemalan potato and flour mixture with pieces of pork steamed in banana leaves, in some village mercados and at street stalls, but not in a restaurant. My friends buy them from a local woman who sells them out of her home. I've never seen them on a menu. It may be an unfair generalization, but Guatemalans who can afford to eat in restaurants have their native foods at home cooked by their maids and want steak, or French, or Italian when they go out for an evening.

        Two really good steak houses in Guatemala City are La Estancia and El Portal del Angel. The latter is a lovely, candlelit, romantic restaurant on hill overlooking the city and has spectacular views (when it's not socked in by clouds). Jakes, in Zone 10, has a very good continental menu with a charming garden.

        In Antigua, La Casserole on Calle de la Conception is a terrific French restaurant with excellent fresh fish, Fonda de la Calle Real is your best bet for local dishes, and Frieda's has very good Mexican food.

        In Livingston, check out Ubouhu. Last time I was there it was the only Garifuna-run place in town and very popular with the locals.

        JoanN

        1. Thanks Joan, not too late at all, we leave on Saturday. Those are excellent tips and you are certainly right about people eating in their own homes. We'll plan on trying some of your tips, and perhaps we'll find a pache through someone's back door. Looking forward to it all whatever we may find.

          1 Reply
          1. re: China

            Love that country. Have a great time, and please do report back. I'll be most eager to hear of your finds.

            Joan

          2. Thanks Joan, not too late at all, we leave on Saturday. Those are excellent tips and you are certainly right about people eating in their own homes. We'll plan on trying some of your tips, and perhaps we'll find a pache through someone's back door. Looking forward to it all whatever we may find.

            1. Thanks Joan, not too late at all, we leave on Saturday. Those are excellent tips and you are certainly right about people eating in their own homes. We'll plan on trying some of your tips, and perhaps we'll find a pache through someone's back door. Looking forward to it all whatever we may find.

              1. In Guatemala City: You might try Kakao (in Zone 10 about a block from the El Camino Real Hotel.) It advertises itself as "high Guatemalan Cuisine" they have a decent mixture of regional dishes. None quite as good as home cooking, but all passable and a good place to try some of the different options available. Try the Tapado (seafood stew with coconut.)

                In Antigua: The standard place to go is La Fonda de la Calle Real (they have 3 locations), it's slipped a bit, but it is one of the few places where you can get Antigua's traditional dishes. Try the Caldo Real (chicken soup) or Suban Iq' (a traditional Mayan dish.)
                La Cueva de los Urzuqui is probably the best place to try real Antigua food. I don't recall what street it's on, but it's well known by the locals. It's cafeteria style and I think it's only open for lunch.
                Another good bet if you are adventurous and have a good stomach is to head for the market, and either sit down at one of the cafeterias inside or sample what the street vendors have to offer. Gringos with delicate stomachs should think twice about this option though.
                For Italian try Mona Lisa and get the Mayan Lasagna done with cacao sauce. For French try Panza Verde.
                The best deal in town is the pan con chille relleno from the little stand on the central park nearest to the corner that leads to the Calle del Arco. For about a dollar you can get the sandwich and a can of soda and sit in teh park to eat.
                For a sweet treat, head over to Doña Maria Gordillos or El Sombreron and load up on traditional candies.

                In Flores: If you're adventurous, look around for the one restaurant that still serves excotic meats. It's somewhere near the shore on the bridge side of the island. They have deer, armadillo, tepesquintle, and iguana on the menu. A bit pricey but worth the adventure.

                At Tikal: Go straight to one of the "ranchitos" accross the way from the toruist center. They'll hook you up with a big plate of rice, salad, and roasted chicken and all the fresh hand-made corn tortillas you can handle for a ridiculously low price.

                In Coban: El Convite (1a Avenida) has the best Kaq' Iq' (turkey stew) in town. Again, check out the street vendors. Superb churrascos can be had out of the garage of Don Cuco (get a cab to take you since it's pretty far from the center of town) or in central park in the evenings. Also for a completely different treat check out Bokatas, which is more mediterranean/Spanish, but probably the bet restaurant in the city. TropiKuba is also good for churrascos.

                Of course, no one should leave Guatemala without eating some Pollo Campero, which is hands down the best fried chicken you'll ever eat. Be sure you buy a dozen tortillas from the woman sitting outside to make the meal complete.

                Make it a point to try the tamales wrappen in banana leaves.

                1. You are all just fantastic. I'll make a copy of all of these tips and take them with me. Looking foward to trying it all and reporting back when we get home.

                  Thanks!