Guatemala- easy on the chicken
- Veggo May 5, 2007 08:41 PM
In two weeks I'll be in Antigua and at Lake Atitlan, for a while. I want to enjoy the best possible evening meals. Ayudame, y provecho!
You should not have a problem at Lago de Atitlan. It is a hippie-infested area that is very familiar with the dietary needs of vegetarians. And though this is not a meal, they sell some locally made health food chocolate in the shops there--they are essentially really tasty energy bars.
Antigua also serves many tourists and, like Lago de Atitlan, is populated with a large number of expats. Favorites of mine include Cafe Flor, very near Parque Central, and the Rainbow Cafe. Cafe Condesa has a popular Sunday brunch with a number of nice options such as yogurt and granola.
Most of the above options will not provide you with the *most* authentic dining experience, but they are good, high quality places to eat, and are careful to use only distilled water for washing produce. Also, Guatemalans eat tons of beans, eggs, tortillas, and fried plaintains, so staples should be OK for you. (Maybe watch out for lard in the beans?)
Oh, and one final recommendation: pupusas near the market. You may want to stay away from the coleslaw they put on top, but the pupusas themselves are cheesy little pockets of deliciousness.
Mil gracias, so far, taliadellacucina. I think I misled you- I am not vegan! Veggo is my real name! I eat cattle and all sorts of split-hoofed animals! I eat everything!
I know that chicken is the hearty meal of choice in Guatemala, so I'm looking for other options. I appreciate your 3 rec's in Antigua, and the safe hygiene you imply.
With this new degree of freedom, any more recs?
One word: chicharrones. They love pork in Guatemala! While I was there, I actually waitressed in one of the aforementioned restaurants and ate at people's houses rather often, so I am sadly bereft of too many suggestions. If you have an arrangement where you can cook yourself, I HIGHLY recommend just checking out the market for fresh meat and produce. The quality is fantastic. Truly.
Someone recommended to me a small comedor near the big yellow church (the name of which escapes me at the moment), where you could get a huge meal including caldo de res (beef stew) very cheaply. Sorry that I don't have more info on its precise location--I'd just poke around the area until you find it. (Caldo de pollo is also excellent if you can find it, actually, despite your desire to avoid too much chicken)
One thing that I dislike about Guatemalan cuisine is that they put mint, which they call "yierba buena" into basically everything, including the guacamole. You might want to watch out for that.
As far as evening meals, I have heard great things about meson panza verde as well as the monastery, though I tried neither. This is sort of silly considering that you'll be in Guatemala, but I had a great meal at the shisha bar (spelling?) near the arch.
my favorite place to eat in Antigua is an Italian restaurant run by an Italian/Guatemalan couple. I haven't been to Guate in a few years, but I assume it's still there. Unfortunately, I can never remember the name, but if you are in the Parque Central, looking at the cathedral, it is one block east (at least I think it's east - to the right), on the block that runs perpendicular to the cathedral. It's on the west side of the street, and has a very small menu posted outside that changes often. I think it may be called Mediteraneo ??
In Lago Atitlan, I always try to get out of Panajachel as quickly as possible. I usually stay at Arca de Noe, which is one town over from Pana on a little boat. They serve family style meals that are quite good, but I think you have to stay there to eat there.