Guatemala: Restaurants, street food and more
Looking through the posts to date here are the restaurants I gleaned. Some have recommended dishes, some just a positive mention. Most have been mentioned in the last few years, some further out so no guarantee those might be open. I hope people will note any closings
I put each city in its own reply so that anyone wanting to add can zone in on the city of choice.
If more than one person commented about a place I added the number of comments next to the restaurant name … (3), for example
My one comment is that for all the people asking info and promising to report back, few did. It really does help other Chowhounds to do a follow up and keep info as fresh as possible.
I also have a reply with all the Chowhound Guatemala links
This thread also contains some recommendations from the website AntiguaDailyPhoto.
I also added some Lonely Planet links. Maybe it will help people recall the names of restaurants they tried.
In the future, if Central America and the Caribbean gets its own board instead of being lumped with a whole different continent, this one thread will be easier to move over there.
I did this mainly for me for when I get out and about. I have a feeling that as usual, I’ll be heading to a place on the list, get the siren call somewhere else and never get to my original destination.
Oddly enough one place that is calling out to me in Antigua is a joint called Mona Lisa that serves Mayan Lasagna done with cacao sauce. That just sounds interesting.
I had a nice list put together but you are just getting the short version because that son of a bitch "share" tab popped up and took me to another page and I lost the whole post. No reason for capitals I just did a cut and paste from a word document for some
Tamal lady in front of El Repositorio bakery at the Central Market (Saturday 5:30 pm)
La Tienda de Dona Gavi
Sobremesa ice cream
Palacio de Doña Leonor
DOÑA MARÍA GORDILLO
Las Velas at the Camino Real for Sunday Brunch
CUEVITA DE LAS URQUIZAS
Nice if you have time
Pasteleria La Cenicienta
La Antigua Vineria (Friday night - 7:30)
El Tenedor de Cerro and Hotel Santa Domingo
San Felipe de Jesus on the weekend
Mostly skipable but some redeeming features
Vivero y Café de La Escalonia
La Pena de Sol Latino
La Posada de Don Rodrigo
Vivero y Café de La Escalonia
Skip, skip, skip
Sitz at the El Convento Hotel
La Fonda de la Calle Real
How are you getting around? Where else besides Antigua are you going? What days will you be at each location? The latter because, like San Felipe or the tamale lady, there are day-specific things.
If you are getting around by car, there are a few places I'd suggest stopping on your way elsewhere such as a fabulous atol place in Palin (not pronounced they way Sarah says it - pah lin - stress on the first syllable)
I'm going out for the day now, but will give details and more info tonight based on your requiremeents
Thanks. We're not venturing too far off the tourist path, and may rent a car around Atitlan. (Honestly, we've been so lazy about this trip that we just figured we'd sit down with a travel agent in Antigua & figure it out, or just play the entire trip by ear.)
So, what we have looks like this, but is subject to change based on whims:
Wed & Thur: Antigua
Fri & Sat (& maybe Sun) El Remate/Peten area
Thur-? GC or Antigua
Fri-end of trip
Look forward to hearing more!
There are probably more travel agents in Antigua than Starbucks in the US ... or at least it seems that way. Like Starbucks, none of them are very good. The Christian Spanish Academy has a travel office that seems fairly reliable and the go out of their way to accomodate special needs.
Saturday is the big night in Antigua. The rest of the week is pretty dead So you might consider scheduling Antigua Sat-Sun as there is more fun stuff to do.
You might rent a car out of Guatmala City at the airport and head towards Lake Atitlan first Find a place to stay and then use the boats to get around the Lake ... the roads are a horror.
The easiest and closest town, IMO, is San Lucas Toliman and I really like the market there.
The Hotel Toliman is right on the lake with a view at really absurdly inexpensive rates for what it is, a top notich, ecologically friendly hotel. It is something like 40 a night and that includes breakfast They grow their own produce on their organic farm and maintain ther own fish tanks. I haven't written up my reports yet but I really enjoyed breakfast there.
They can probably arrange a ride around the lake or you can walk to the boats and arrange something. For about 400 quetzales you can get a boat to go around the lake and stop at the 12 different villages. Have to do this in the morning as the lake becomes unsafe after 3 pm.
The Hotel Don Pedro is a few feet closer to the lake and cheap. It is clean, but bare bones and a bit worn (there was a hole in the shower curtain). It is 90 quetzales a night or about $11 - $12 Don't eat at the restaurant.
Luciano Parvoti, the opera star, has a culinary school next to these hotels and I think there is an attached cafe, but I was there during spring break and they were closed.
There are a few places I know in Santiago, but the road is a real bitch. Driving in Guatemala is .. an experience.
Anyway, if you consider the Sat-Sun Antigua stay, let me know and I'll make recs based on that. What time to you get into the airport and what time is your flight hout
Thanks. I need to leave Pana for the end of the trip, since I'm planning on doing some major shopping there. (This is the work-related part of the trip & don't want to haul my goodies all over the country.) Otherwise, I would have gone to lake first. I guess the only thing we really need a travel agent for is to book bus tix to Flores & I'm sure the rest we can do on our own. But... I don't know if we need to stop in Antigua on our way back from Peten area (hence travel agent) which would probably be a Sunday (taking Sat overnight bus). So, all ears re Sunday day in Antigua. Or, could stop in Chichi Sunday en route to lake & have lunch there--if there's anything chow worthy. (It's one of those places that I'm conflicted about visiting in general...)
Almost definitely going to Santiago. I was interested in staying at the Posada mentioned above, but we may just suck it up & stay in Pana. (Which will all could very well hate. We're thinking Mario's Rooms...) Anyway, may visit posada for lunch at least. BTW, we might try for Solora Market on Friday, so please let me know, if you know, anything we should try there.
San Lucas Toliman wasn't even on the radar, but is now. Thanks.
Flight is out late morning on Friday. Don't know if we're going to stay in GC or Antigua the night before.
Followed up on your recs & those places look great. I need now to make sure I save room for ice cream!
San Lucas Toliman isn't on anyone's radar. It is probably the least touristy place in the Lake, mainly visited by locals. The Mayans are the least agressive than anywhere else and the market has the only crap ... um ... artisan stuff ... that I would consider buying. Seriously, there are some nice and unique textiles here.
PS: Lots of places in Antigua offer safe storage boxes or areas, so your trip doesn't need to be dictated by what you are purchasing.
BTW, I learned the secret to dealing with the Mayans. Pretend they don't exist. Do NOT acknowledge them or they are on you like white on rice. Shake your head no and then stare off into space, in another direction or direcitly at them like there is no one standing there. You will not understand what I mean until you get to Guatemala.
Sunday in Antigua:
Las Velas (other end of the spectrum from La Canche)
Sabe Rico (gorgeous, goreous, gorgeous)
La Cueva de los Urques
San Felipe de Jesus - just walk around the town. I liked Godspell alot, especially the black tortillas. Lots of Guatemalan candy stands, Get the atol at any number of street vendors. My favorite is arroz con leche. Call Armando (4572 3662) for a taxi ride there ... probably about 80 quetales. Have him stop at the suchile joints on the way there and try that drink.
Another option would be to shuttle to Fina Filadelpia and do the 11 am or 2 pm coffee tour. If you check the site they tell you where the shuttle is from Antigua. Do NOT eat there. Afther the tour, get a cab and go to San Felipe a few blocks down the road.
Rest of the afternoon:
Check out the Central Market
The Andean music at Sol Latino isnot bad (7:30 ish). The food though is fair and the cocktails weak.
Go to the ice cream and candy joints (which close about 6 - 7 pm. Hmm ... actual dinner ... gotta think about that more. Maybe La Esquina. Totally off the wall is Toko Baru. The guy is from Holland and does stuff like shwarma.Ill either be writing them up tonight or tommorow.
The ultimalte hole in the wall, but it attracts people world-wide and lots of Peace Corp people. Great place to hang and talk to people and the food is really good, if casual. Three small tables with benches. Get the ice cold beer ... the Cabro.
Are you aware that the bus from Guatemala City to Flores is about 8 hours? There are overnight buses, and I've heard fairly good things about them, but that's not the way I'd choose to spend 16 hours+ of a fairly short trip. I've forgotten now what flights cost, but I know it didn't seem like too much last time I did it about two years ago.
Also, did you mean the "Solola" market? If so, the town is very interesting for the unique costumes of the men and the market is a good sized one. But it's vary much a "local" market: lots of produce and household items, but very little in the way of handicrafts.
@ JoanN, Thanks. Yes, we know the bus is around 8 hours, but it's overnight, and RT flights are almost as much as my flight from DCA to GC and back. (Ahhh, if Central/South American only had LCCs, life would be easier!) We're going to get the first class seats on a first class bus and just try to sleep. It'll be hot when we get to Peten, so we'll probably just want to nap in the heat of the day anyway & go to Tikal in evening. (I've done very long distance buses before; some 1st class & others that I'd sort of like to forget...)
Yes, Solola market would be for sightseeing and not for work shopping. Everything I've read about it makes it sound so much nicer than Chichi. Any recs for what else to do in Solola?
@rworange: Thanks again. I've not yet been to Guatemala, but do know what you mean. I always figured avoiding eye contact is key--(but even that doesn't always work....)
Assuming you ran across this link?
I still think Hugo's has the best ceviche in town, but it's very Guatemalan--meaning heavy (really heavy!) on the Worcestershire Sauce (which they call Salso Inglesa here because, I've been told, Worcestershire is too hard to pronounce).
Well, this will get lost in this long post but still worth calling attention to, IMO.
I haven't looked at a lot of it but it seems good, with REAL reviews and lovely photos. It also is in both English and Spanish
There is a choice of formats, this is the easiest one for me.
In issue number two there are reviews of
- El Tenedor Del Cerro
- El Cazador Italiano
- Bistro Cinq
- Middle Eastern restaurants
- Cuevita de Los Urquizu
- Bistro Cinq
There's a nice interview with Sergio Diaz of Amba ... good lord, there's actually an interview acknowledging there ARE chefs at some of these restaurants and accomplished ones.
There are some chef contributed recipes and other food-related articles.
There is also a list of restaurants with addresses, phone numbers and hours. I think I have most of them covered in the Chow database but probably a good double check in the magazine to seeif hours changed.
Seriously, the big find here seems to be a Middle Eastern take out restaurant with no name on the second floor of a building in the textile district. No set menu, call and see what they have that day. They will also make a Middle Eastern breakfast ful medames on request. I am SO there if I can fit it in in the next few weeks. From the article on the restaurant in Zona 1 on the corner of 19th Street and 3rd ave .
"You won't find a name outside the doorway of 19-18, but a narrow black iron staircase will lead you up to a room with simple store shelves filled with interesting and unusual items not found in your local grocery. If you go at lunchtime you'll find the owner, Abdul Abdelfatah, busily coaching his well-trained kitchen staff. He takes orders by phone in English, Arabic and Spanish"
Some dishes have included makloubeh, imsakhan, kowsa, shwarma, tabouli, hummus, falafel, babaganoush and shish kabob. They make their own yogurt and lebneh, a cheese from the yogurt.
Hours: 8:30 - 4 pm Mon-Sat
This blogger covers the breakfast scene in Guatemala. There are only so many typical breakfasts one can eat. English doesn't seem to be the first language, but it is very good. There is a bit of fondness for chains, but other suggestions with lots of photos and menus.
LAKE AMATITLAN ... NOT ATITLÁN
The Ugly Americans going where no tourist has gone before
This is not the pretty tourist lake. This is a lake near Gautemala City that has turned green because untreated sewage and industrial waste from the city are dumped there. There are other problems. It can no longer be used for drinking water and irrigation.
It sill remains a getaway place for locals. Seafood restaurants line the shore ... I was getting to the food.
Pretty much they all serve fried fish, fried chicken, chicken soup, seafood cocktails, some pupusas.
All I could think is ... lord, don't let the fish be from that lake. This site writes "The tasty "mojarra" (a delicious local fish) is back, not from the lake but now from growing farms nearby."
The ladies making this food are very in your face about choosing their joint. We went with Comedor Letty, but I'm sure they are all the same.
Letty brought out a plate of whole uncooked fish in various sizes and flipped the gills and belly open to demonstrate they were fresh. Price depended on size. A medium fish is about $3.
The grill was wood-fueled. The fish was stuffed with herbs and placed in the shallow pan of bubbling oil. The potatoes were peeled to order and placed next to the fish. They looked a lot llike this when done
Large green onions were also grilled. The rest of the food was put together with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, limes and a pink cabbage and beet slaw. The fish was added to the plate and topped with the fried potatoes and grilled onions
The owner's little daughter was sent to the lady next door who was making tortillas. There was a bottle of some sort of hot green sauce on the table and a big jar of encurtido, or pickled carrots, onions and jalepenos. It pretty much looked like this
The bill for 7 fish dinners, 12 sodas and two beers was $30. It was all very tasty.
There are lots of vendors that make the rounds of the tables at the restuarants. Usually it is with baskets of candy on their head. One older lady had some sort of banana pancake type thing. This was one cool woman because not only did she give out samples ... she used plastic bags over her hands to give the samples out and handle food. This is in an area that is almost only visited by Guatemalans. I've have yet to see anyone in the area, street or brick and morter vendor be that careful.
She said to heat them and served them with creama and black beans. They were pretty good and 5 quezales (fifty-ish cents) bought one as big as a dinner plate.
The streets of the town are lined with colorful candy stands selling pastel espumillas (meringues), dulce de pepitoria, abas, candied fruit such as figs, lolipops, etc etc. Here are some web photos of the stands
Here's what espumillas look like
I like Guatemalan sugared fruit better than the Mexican version. It is softer and close to the fresh fruit taste. The plump sugared fruit I had was excellent. The dulce de pepitoria was a pumpkin and sesame seed mix that had the texture of rice crispies, only they were toasted and not really sweet. It is described as a brittle. This Asian site with photos of Guatemalen sweets has a photo of the pepitoria
There is a teleferico to the top of the mountain where there are lovely pine-scented picnic grounds. This blog says the pupusas at the restuarant at the top are excellent
The pollution is really a shame. This picture in 2003 shows people on the beach. Only seven years later, no one can swim there. A dog took a swim and emerged with totally green algae-covered legs
There are still boats that go out on the lake. These shots are the actual color o the water
One of the three ugly Americans was me. My husband is going back to work next week and I said ... let's go to the lake. Since the highway near our home is plastered with signs to Lake Atitlan, one would ASSUME that is where he would go. And Amatitlan sounds a heck of a lot like Atitlan. Vamos a Amatitlan. Sure. Anyway a long discussion on my part took place on what was he thinking taking us to the feo lake when the top lake in the country wasn't any farther away.
As to the other ugly Americans ...
While we were eating and I was still under the impression we were at the other lake ... only the part tourists never visited, other Americans showed up. Without asking they snapped photos of the cooking fish and flowers on the table and ignored Letty when she asked if they wanted fish.
Listen ... ask. And buy a damn bottle of coke or something. These people make little money and slipping her 10 quizales as a thank you for the photos would not have killed anyone.
I forgot tto mention in the above link that because I was being such an ass I missed the opportunity to vist a coffee plantation. This misunderstanding has also inspired me to step up my efforts to learn Spanish to keep from missing out on the great stuff.
When I said I wanted to drive around the lake ... still being unter the impression I was at Atitilan, not Amatitlan ... my husband kept asking if I wanted to see Los Humitas or agua calientes.
Hmmm. I was thinking. I don't remember reading about anything like that when reading about the lake online
A little blurb from a coffee bean seller about one of the farms there (scroll down)
"Coffee farms are becoming subdivided for housing. Still, the coffee tradition runs deep here, and some farms grow, harvest and mill their coffee as their grandparents (and oftentimes as the grandparent's grandparents) did long ago. La Florencia is a 6th generation coffee farm in the same family, and they had considered selling the land until they were inspired by their good results from the 2008 Cup of Excellence competition, as well as making the auction in the 2009 CoE. "
I'm looking for lakeside villages and my husband heads up a mountain ... a major mountain ... with roads so winding and steep some of the children covered their eyes it was so scary.
Even though I didn't know we were heading toward a coffee farm, as we got higher and higher up, suddenly the men were dressing like Juan Valdez. While I know that is Columbian and not Guatemalan beans, I guess it is like American cowboys ... they look the same in Texas or Wyoming. Coffee bean wranglers, so to speak, may dress the same.
The effects of suburbanizing this area and selling off the coffee farms for homes is starkly evident. Real estate brings cash. Though there were dirt roads and the homes weren't superfancy, they were no metal shacks here and the homes were a step above the usual.
On the bad side there was deforestation and the even a brief shower brought rivers of mud flowing down roads and into the lake ... which was contributing to the algae problem.
My husband got lost. Unlike American men, Guatemalan men must stop and ask directions ... a lot. We can be one block from a church, I can see the steeple and the guys will STILL stop and ask for directions. Since I didn't look enthusiastic about Los Humitos, he gave up and drove back down .
So should you find yourself in that area, keep an eye out for coffee farms ... and hot springs ... as in I said ... I really wasn't interested in agua caliente ... sigh
Ocean Palace has one of the best egg rolls that I have ever had, if not the best.
On ths menu they are listed as Taco Chino con cameron.
Given they were at the top of the menu where appetizers are usually located and the fact there were six pieces, I took a guess that this meant egg rolls
They were really glorious, filled with plump medium fresh local shrimp and almost no vegetable filler. The wrapper was crisp and greaseless. Even the sweet sauce with it was good. It was not at all gloppy and had a slice or two of fresh onion in it.
This was a first time egg roll experience for everyone at the table and they were crazy about them. I was crazy about them. Six large egg rolls were about $5, US. At dinner tonight, people were still talking about them.
I don't know why I'm writing this at all. It is by no means a destination restaurant. The chance of anyone being in the immediate area is probably zero. Still, greatness needs to be acknowledged.
We were touring Guatemala City and I offered to buy lunch. When someone said Pollo Comparo, I said no. I was damned if I was going to waste a Gautemala City meal there. One of the groupo is from the general area and asked if Chinese was ok.
Sure. Why not
I read that chow mein was immensely popular in Guatemala and I was curious to see if the locals really did put catsup on it.
This is actually a nice restaurant. It is hidden downstairs in a strip mall complex.
On each table there was a bottle of soy sauce, excellent house made chili sauce ... and a bottle of catsup.
The table got baskets of Guatemalan rolls to start ... sort of like parker house rolls. I was thinking ... this can't be good.
The recs from the local were the mixta chao mein (sic) or the mixta chao mein soup, so we divided up on ordering those. We also got the mixta fried rice. Mixta in this case meant shrimp, chicken, beef, pork and the usual veggies ... carrots, celery, sugar peas, onions, peppers and probably something I'm forgetting.
Portions were HUGE and five dollars. Everything was ok, but shrimp star in this restaurant.
I had the soup. The broth was fine. The chicken, beef and pork wasn't memorably bad or good. The noodles were not very good. They were rather tasteless and wirey. However, there was so much other stuff in the soup, that they could be easily ignored
The chili sauce was fabulous with a deep smokey heat.
No one put catsup on their food in our group. Doing a quick scan of tables I did not notice any catsup bottles in action.
The fried rice was pretty good also. It wasn't greasy like some.
I had the te Chinois. They give me a cup with two sugar packages on it and a dish of limes. This was just after the white rolls and before the egg rolls appeared. I had lowered my expectations considerably.
Actually the little pot of hot water with a tea bag with Chinese characters was very good.
No fortune cookies or anything with the check.
It was very family friendly. Two women were nursing babies at different tables.
In addition to Chao Mein and Sopa Mein, there were other sopas, chap suey, wantans, camarones, pollo, pato, pescado, lomito, and cerdo (cha sui cerdo asado).
Alll the meat and fish sections were almost identical with vegetables, mushrooms, curry sauce, onions, salsa agridulce (sweet and sour?), empanizados as the choices. I assume the chicken with frijoles Chino were black bean sauce.
There was also fried chicken with salad and potatoes on the menu. It wasn't called the usual pollo frito, but pollo dorado. One of the options for fried rice was longaniza Chiha. One of the soups had tau fu in it.
Here's the place record for it with hours ... I'm compulsive ... but the address is all screwed up since the restaurant and bars database had troubles with foreign addresses and palces this in Mexico. If there is ever a fix, I''ll correct the address .. for a place no one will go to
Calzada Roosevelt, KM 15,Super Centro Molino
San Cristobal, Guatemala
"I don't know why I'm writing this at all." Please don't despair, there are those of us out here
who are following you with great vigor. My wife and I have a home at Lake Atitlan and will
follow up on some of your recommendations.
From your description it seems that this place might be near Macdonald's on Roosevelt.
I will keep an eye out for it since we come into the city on Roosevelt but you know how
difficult it can be to find any place in Guate Some times you just have to "look for the
horse statue" or " go through the oriental gate" since street addresses can be impossible
Keep up the good work and I am looking forward to suggesting some nice spots to you
when you return to the U.S.
Pablito el gordito
re: paul balbin
I hope you post about some of the places near the Lake. I am thinking of taking some Spanish classes up that way.
If you are in San Cristobal, keep in mind that the only above average item we tried on the menu were those shrimp egg roll. They also had them with lomito. which is pork loin, I believe. However, since the pork was kind of meh, I do not know how it would be in egg rolls.
The won tons actually looked good. They was a mountain of them on the plate and many people were ordering them.
Again, not worth going nuts finding, but if you notice that shopping mall, not a bad place to stop for a taco chino break.
Sorry to be so tardy with my reply.
The three main towns on the lake have numerous language schools.
Panajachel; destination tourist town, lots of schools, lots of english speakers.
which makes it hard to do immersion studies.
San Pedro; similar to Panajachel with lots of drugs, a young peoples town.
Santiago Atitlan. A very Indian town, few English speakers, a very busy market
there is a Spanish school near the Hospitalito.
If you have further questions email me, see my profile, as I am afraid we might
get kicked off here for being off topic.
re: paul balbin
Sorry, I misunderstood.
Santiago Atitlan, The best restaurant is in the Posada de Santiago. It is
excellent. The owner is David Glanville, give him my regards if you get by.
Panajachel. Many tourist oriented restaurants. None that I frequent. I have
had some good breakfasts at the Deli 2 down near the lake on Santander.
If I have lunch there I usually go to Guajimbos. Argentina style churrasco
Let me know when you are heading back and your route and I will give you
some suggestions for restaurants on the way north.
I am curious about Gautemalan chains
Of course, the most famous is Pollo Comparo. I thought it was ok at best.
A chowhound recommended La Estacia which it turns out is a chain of steak houses
I tried Marco Polo helados which I am assuming is a chain. It was ok ice cream. Points for using sugar. The pina colada was decent. They use a lot of dye though in some of the flavors.
Anyone tried Pop's helados which I saw in Guatemala City and San Cristobol ... they promise gourmet ice cream
Sarita seems to be everywhere. This blog says
It is important to mention that Sarita, a guatemalan company, grew from that single shop to a chain of 9 restaurants and thousand of ice cream vendors in Central America.
Sarita, a guatemalan company, grew from that single shop to a chain of 9 restaurants and thousand of ice cream vendors in Central America.
Another shop that seems to be in every town and in some places, every corner is Pastelería Holandesa
I figure with al the time I am doing ... um ... spending here, there is a chance I might wind up at some of these places and would like to know what to expect, what to order and what to avoid.
When I was in Mexico, I liked Sanbourn'a lot. It wasn''t earth shattering, but it was reliable and pretty good.
Any other chains I might encounter would be appreciated.
Not looking for American chains in Gautemala ... though I swear I saw an A^&W and all I could think was ... ooohhh ... a root beer float with real sugar in both the soda and ice cream.
Answering some of my own questions as I've been hanging at the mall in Escuitla ... air conditioning, ya know.
Pastelería Holandesa didn't have anything that I wanted to buy.
When I was in Sarita, all I could think was Woolworth or Kresge (now K-Mart) lunch counter circa 1960. I spent many a day there after school having an ice cream soda, sundae or banana split.It was nothing special, but classic ice cream
A banana split or a milkshake was about $2. Single scoop ice cream cones $1 and basic sundaes $1.20. They also sell ice creme sodas (Nevadas) using Pepsi products ... the picture of the grape soda with a scoop of grape ice cream in it looked interesting. The Bomba is a fresh fruit cup with bananas, strawberries and peaches drizzeled with chocolate sauce.
I got a pina colada milkshake with pineapple juice. Milk was the other option.
I was going to write the place off. I thought Marco Polo was less sweet ice-cream wise. The flavor was good with lots of coconut. The whipped cream on top had a psuedo-marshmallow taste to it. They topped everything with a nice pineapple syrup. Good enough.
However, today my husband chose to park in the least interesting part of downtown Escunttla ... quite the accoplishment ... and so I asked my stepson if he wanted a Sarita while we were waiting.
I got a scoop of guava sorbet in a cup. They topped it with the whipped cream but also a lovely pink guava, I assume, syrup. This was a lovely light, flavorful, refreshing sorbet that I would buy again.
The company seems to have some relationship with UniLever as they were selling Vienetta ice cream cakes. Sarita isn't mentioned on the Unilever site, so maybe they just sell the cakes to them.
Sarita has a few full service restaurants and surprisingly they may be decent.
Whenever we drove by, the lot was always full ... but since they are a chain, I guessed it might be like IHOP in terms of being a popular chain.
We woke up late for our drive to Guatemala CIty and rushed out the door. I needed my coffee fix and so we stopped by Sarita on the way.
With the exception of a coffee roaster in Antigua, this was the best cup of coffee I've had in Guatemala so far. First it wasn't Nescafe. Second it was actually brewed. It exceeded the taste of any coffee from a chain in the US.
While waiting for my cup to go, I scanned the menu and the tables while my husband did the 'we gotta get to the Consolate dance".
The food looked very good especially the Gautemalan dishes. Once we were safely on the road again, my husband said they actually were very good. We probably won't be going soon, but it may not be a bad choice if you happen to be near one.
And certainly in Esquintla you could do worse.
I finally had lunch Sarita in beautiful downtown Esquintla. The above link was at their other location.
It is not as bad as Denny's which would be the US equivalent. I would rate it somewhere between Denny's and the Cheesecake Factory, leaning more to the dinner dishes of the latter ... without the excess ... and cheesecakes ... though they did have one for dessert.
The problem is that there is better food for less money ... almost anywhere. For someone who might be a timid traveler ... you know ... no street food, avoids the water unless it is in a hermatically sealed bottle ... it would be ok.
My friend had the whole tilapia which was the better choice and it was a nice-sized whole fish that was deep fried. They did that well. He had salad with it and it looked fine. He turned down the tortillas so they brought 'garlic bread'. Guatemala sliced white bread in general leans toward the generic supermarket varieties. It was probably sliced Bimbo with a smear of garlic-flavored margarine. Get the tortillas.
Skip the Vulva de la Vida cerviche.
First of all it was 40 quezales more than the highest priced version I ordered two other restaurants in town ... Jet Set and Blanqui .
At 110 queztales ($5 more than elsewhere ... actually that was more than this costs in the US) there were no chiplin tamales that are served elsewhere in town ... and this was aat the higher price. There were only packets of soda crackers.
The seafood was really meh ... like the quality that can be found at a cheap Chinese AYCE buffet. There was imitation Krab pieces. The tiny shrimp wasn't all that and the only other thing I could remember was one tiny mussel.
The salsa freshca was nice enough but it is hard to screw up chopped tomatoes, onions and cilantro. The two melon ball scoops of avocado were nice.
The jamaica was way too sweet.
The service was really nice though and they leave it up to you to include the tip. There's no automatic 10% added. I really did like that waitress. If I ever get my Spanish so that I can be understood, I may write a letter to Sarita saying how impressed I was.
Ah ... spelling error(s). It is Vuelve a la vida seviche (Come back to life ceviche)
Anyplace in the US and elsewhere that I've seen the term used, it means a mixed cerviche. The first plce I ever heard the term was on Chowhound when Melanie was writing about some taco truck in Salinas.
Don't know why the term is used. In this case it was the seafood that should have come back to life.
I forgot to mention that Sarita serves a mixed menu leaning mainly toward American such as burgers, club sandwiches, American breakfasts, milkshakes. They have the same sort of dishes that are common throughout Gutemala such as Guatemalan breakfasts and I forget what else.
I was slightly tempted by the desserts ... a la coffee shop ... slices of apple pie, banana cream pie, cheesecake. They did have a cool looking neopolitan pie ... the menu is laminated with photos. Also figs are really big in Guatemala and they had fig pie.
I see Sarita in my future again as I am guessing the family goes there occasionally. I'll probably get the fig pie and a cup of coffee. If anything Sarita deserves to exist as one of the few local places with a decent up of coffee. However, on this visit I decided to skip it as I figured the desserts would be like everything else ... ok but not great.
Another place I was going to write off was frutihelados, a popsicle vendor The first time I had the mania ice cream (no clue ... plain white) dipped in a thick, tasteless chocolate coating and rolled in stale peanuts.
However, on another stop at the mall when I was waiting for the kids to finish shopping, I went for their mixed fruit yogart popsicle. This was quite good. Though the plain tangy yogurt was on the edge of icy, it was filled with frozen fruit ... banana slices, strawberries, peaches and blackberries. .
Gotta try the frozen yogurt with fig (higo). They have the usual regular (chocolate, strawberry, strawberry cheesecake) flavors and some tropical onese like mango or sapote. Blackberry (mora) seems to be popular in this town as a lot of places have blackberry desserts or drinks.
If this is the blog for this company ... I'm still in the new word stage ... then it seems they use natural ingredients. Good for them.
I finally tried the other chain ice cream joint at the mall, La Neveria. After a first visit I'm leaning more towards Sarita which had a better guanabana ice cream.
La Neveria's hook seems to be that you get twice the ice cream, so there were two generous scoops. I like the whole cheery cup of ice cream thing. They are sort of mini sundaes and are drizzled with sauce and topped with whipped cream Presentation-wise La Neveria trumped Sarita as there was a cherry on top and an offer of colored sprinkles ... cheery. All of this for about $1.25.
La Neveria's whipped cream was better than Sarita, but we are still talking aerosol.
They have lots of products and I probably will give their mango/strawberry creamsicle a try. That sounds like a good idea. They also have shops in El Salvador
As to fruitihelados, I'm becoming more and more of a fan. The fig was loaded with pieces of fig but was only ok.
I an crazy about the mora (blackberry) sombrilla. It turns out that is what those umbrella-shaped popsicles are called. Here's a photo (scroll down
I also learned how to eat them without being a slob. Unliked paletas which is a top-down process, nibble around the bottom of the umbrella and work your way up.
I'm am thinking the type of blacberry is a different variety than those in the US. They are also called kutan. The flavor of that popsicle was so intense, deep and wonderful.
I have so written off La Neveria.
Whoever came up with the idea for that calamitous cappuccino should be taken to the nearest volcano and tossed in ... though the volcano might spit out this tasteless troll.
Lava would taste better than this sludge ... and at least it would be hot.
It takes someone with the tastebuds of a flea to consider coffee microwaved after sitting all day in a thermos and then topped with aerosol whipped cream ... capuccino. I do have some remnants of standards in coffee and tossed it.
The ice cream sundae that replaced it wasn't much better. The neopolitan ice cream in it tasted like the stuff that is put in cheap ice cream sandwiches ... but not as good.
I'm a little in despair. We are going to Antigua tommorrow where I was hoping for good coffee. It turns out the coffee kiosk at the mall ... Cafe San Lucas is based in Antigua.
It is ... mild ... coffee. It can not stand up to milk. All you taste is the milk. The espresso wasn't bad though ... sort of fruity ... tho a bit of a bitter finish. The cappuchino is obviosly something else here. If you click on the cup on the website which has menus and noticias, there is a picture of the cap ... which isn't a bad latte.
The Americano which they make with steamed milk, actually tasted like the cap because the coffee is overwhelmed by the milk. I'm guessing the actual latte on the menu tastes like everything else with milk.
They have chai on the menu and I'll probably see what's up with that someday.
The iced jamaica tea was lovely. I haen't eaten anything here. They don't have the sandwich menu of the Antigua cafes, just hot dogs, ham and cheese croissants and empanadas which get heated in a toaster oven and didn't look appealing.
If you click on the dessert link, you can see a photo of the pie which doesn't scream delicious ... though I'll probably try the cheesecake with corn someday because it is different. They also have banana bread and in the land of bananas, I'll have to try it.
New item on the menu ... selva negro ... I'm guessing that is black forest cake.
Adding to the chain ... La Taqueria
We stopped at this small chain after the movies in the mall food court. The menu is pretty simple involving tortillas (flour and corn), cheese, chicken, beef and asado ... with one soup. Meats are in a steam table
The menu has
Tacos (hard corn tostadas topped with meat)
Gringas (two grilled flour tortillas sandwiching melted cheese and choice of meat)
Hawaianas (same as gringas ... add pineapple)
Quesadillas (same as gringas ... no meat)
Sincrinizadas (I forget tortillas and cheese and meat )
Choriquesos (could be a flour tortilla with chorizo and cheese)
Drinks include jamaica aqua fresca, cremitas. beer and bottled soda and water
There is a little salsa section. I just tried the thin avocado sauce and the peppery-hot salsa fresca.
I was mainly interested in the gringas which are mentioned in this site
They are just what are quesadillas in the US. The meat though ... ugh. The chicken was ... well, steam table chicken. It was the asada that was really ... special.
it consisted of minced bright red ... meat? It was the color of chinese pork. The only taste was salt. Tnis was really, really gross .. really gross. Tbe cheese was fine though.
The cremita was pretty good. This is like the crema slushies they have here. i am guessing condensed milk is involved. It is something like a thin eggnog ... without the spices ... or egg.
Anyway, my husband should know better than this. We had good Mexican food in California. This was not it.
MISC COMMENTS ABOUT GUATEMALA IN GENERAL … PLUS LINKS USED FOR THIS TOPIC
haven't found much to rave about in terms of restaurants all over Guatemala, and much prefer the markets--for great morning tamales and atole and for mid-day meals of stews or mondongo--and the food stands or tacquerias in the plazas. Best of all are the small unnamed comedores in rural areas--great food and well within any budget. The turkeys are not wild and are served around Coban. Very skinny but tasty. I've not encountered armadillo. There is some good coffee served in Guatemala City, not so much elsewhere, including in the coffee growing areas such as around Coban and Huehuetenango. Shopping: the area around the market in Antigua--located at the other end of town from where you enter.
If you’re looking for unusual food experiences, you can sometimes find tepesquintle on the menu at restaurants in Flores or other towns around Lake Peten Itza, even though it is endangered and many find it unfortunate that it’s still available. It’s a large rodent that’s stewed and usually served with sauce and can be quite tasty depending on the preparation. I used to be able to find it on the menus of places that tourists tended not to frequent, but these days restaurants that do have it on the menu do so mainly for the curiosity factor.
I haven’t spent a whole lot of time there, but I think the food in Livingston is more interesting than in Puerto Barrios because of the Garifuna influence. As you would expect, there’s lots of fresh fish and shellfish available in both towns, but the preparations in Livingston tend to be spicier.
I’ve had some really good meals on Lake Izabal, but they’ve been at rather upscale resorts and were not inexpensive for the area. If you’re on a budget, where you decide to eat will depend entirely on where you decide to stay. The geography isn’t conducive to getting from town to town unless you have access to a car or a boat.
And as Sam has said, outside of the main cities you're always better off at the markets, comedores, and street-side food stands for tasty, inexpensive meals.
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.
Guatemalan road trip - Guatemala segment
Aug 19, 2009
Recs for Guatemala
Jun 23, 2009
May 19, 2008
Guatemala City and Panama City experts?
Jan 25, 2008
Guatemala- easy on the chicken
May 05, 2007
Antigua, Guatemala over Semana Santa--recs?
Apr 01, 2007
Muy Rico; Food in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala (long)
Aug 11, 2006
La Cuevita de los Urquizu - Antigua, Guatemala
Jul 12, 2006
Great food in Guatemala?
Jun 19, 2006’
Antigua and Xela Guatemala
Jun 23, 2003
Sep 11, 1999
There’s really not much there. The food at the lodges and at the souvenir kiosk are sustenance level. Your best bet would be if one of the locals is cooking rice and beans across from the tourist center.
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.
The second largest city in Guatemala, It is known locally as Xela (shay-la)
I'm not 100% sure about the name, but it's close...maybe Albamar or some other variation.) This is a restaurant across from the corner of the central park (near the large church). I think it's at the NE corner of the park, but I'm not sure. The place looks a bit like a 1970s US-style diner/coffee shop, but has some great food. Try their specialty, Kak-Ick (a traditional Mayan dish, sort of a turkey stew). I found the flavor to be amazing...and frustrating, as they would not share the recipe!
AMISH BAKE SHOP
There is an Amish Bake Shop (I swear, that's the name, they didn't translate it into Panaderia or anything!) that is only open a couple of mornings a week (Tuesday and Saturday? not sure). It's wonderful. Amazing yogurt, decent granola and delish donuts. It's a weird spot, because they basically bake things for an American palate (and they're priced closer to something an expat could afford) but they're selling it all in Xela. I haven't been there since 2000, so I don't know if they're even still open and don't remember the address. It isn't too far from the main mall in town, and if you meet gringos (which you surely will) they'll probably be able to tell you where it is.
BAZAR DEL CAFÉ
In this small café they sell coffee and drinks, but they will also sell you super fragrant coffee beans that they have roasted themselves. A pound/libre of mescla (a blend of beans) is Q37.00 (about $5). They will grind them for you if you want. It is inside the courtyard of a building that is called La Mansion Marilyn (as in Monroe). There is a sign that says “Bazar del Café Cafeteria aqui adentro” along with a picture of Marilyn Monroe. 13 Avenida 5-38 Zona 1
FYI, there is a restaurant called Cafe Babylon that seems like it's a local gringo hangout. They do "global cuisine", which means a little bit of everything. My friend loved the hamburgers. Interestingly enough, they had a huge menu of tofu dishes. Their Guatemalan food wasn't that great though.
CAFE DANE'S CAKE
The two ladies who run this small restaurant have a Q15.00 (about $2) lunch special where you get soup, tortillas, rice and your choice of side and your choice of entrees. The selection changes daily. The food is OK, but their pastel de tres leches is fabulous! It is a spongy, slightly sweet cake that is soaked in evaporated milk. It costs Q10.00, almost as much as a whole lunch! It is a yellow building on the corner of 6a Calle and 15 Avenida Zona 1.
CAFE LA LUNA (2)
It's one of the only cafes in town that has a local clientele as well as the usual gringo scene. They've got incredibly friendly waitstaff and WONDERFUL hot chocolate. It's a local institution and has been around for many decades. It's near the parque with the mcdonalds (isn't that a great recommendation? But really, it's good!), on a small side street.
Cafe La Luna is not to be missed. The hot chocolate is among the best in the world. There's one merchant in Xela who sells (or at least used to sell) the same chocolate served in the cafe, in bar form. The staff may be able to direct you
And finally, this is only available if you study at the Spanish school that I did, Casa Xelaju (shay-la-who). There was a lady who lived down the street from the school who would come to the school at our 10:30 AM break and would bring homemade goodies to sell to us for Q5.00 or less (less than $1). She brought tamales, tortas and other treats. My favorite was the crispy, golden empanadas with a chicken and veggie filling. Instead of being made with a crust like the Argentinian and Peruvian empanadas I’ve had before, hers were made with masa flattened like you would for a tortilla, filled and folded, and then fried until crispy. They were the best! If you do choose Casa Xelaju, make sure you sign up for the morning classes so you can meet the empanada lady :)
For pizza, I always liked Cardinales. Pricey, but really not bad
LA TIENDA DE HERMANAS CHAVEZ (no sign)
In this tiny olive green store that looks like a hardware store, two little old abuelitas sell chocolate for hot chocolate that their family has made for over 100 years. They come in various size bars and in four flavors: almendra/almond, vanilla, canela/cinnamon and leche/milk. The chocolate is in a cabinet behind the counter so don't be confused by the brooms and ropes on the walls when you walk in! To make the chocolate, put a few chunks into hot water and mix well, and you get a gorgeous, fragrant, spicy, creamy cup of hot chocolate! They’re open odd hours so you might have to go back a few times. One of the larger bars was Q15.00 (about $2). 5a Calle 8-38 Zona 1 It’s three blocks east of McDonald’s. It’s on the same block as a shop called Foto’s Vision (yellow building) and the store is two store fronts down from that.
An alleged "French Bistro" which actually had rather good food at a very reasonable price
There is also a chinese restaurant called Shai Long in Xela that is very good and meals run about $40 quetzales.
TIENDA LOS CHOCOYOS
a tiny little store with the usual sodas and snacks (including a pastry that looks like green slugs covered with sugar but are really figs), that also sells homemade specialties on certain mornings from 8:00 AM until they run out. They sell cambralles (a tamale with sweet masa and a savory chicken filling—my favorite) on Friday and tamales con arroz and paches de papas on Saturday morning. The tamales con arroz used a mashed rice mixture instead of masa to wrap the beefy filling. 7 Calle 13-49 Zona 1
Ut’z Hua (which means “delicious food” in Quiche): a small restaurant that serves local specialties. 12 Avenida 3-02 Zona 1 (near the Parque Central)
Paches de Papas: the Guatemalan version of a tamale, but instead of masa, they enrobe a filling (chicken, beef, pork) with spiced mashed potatoes. Many restaurants and stores sell them, usually on Saturday. Look for the little red light hanging outside the store, house or restaurant on the days they are being made. What a great little cultural tidbit to learn!
I LOVE Paches and the best ones to me are the ones made form rice. Lotsa little old ladies sell them on the streets. There is one indoor/outdoor market in xela and often there is this one old lady who makes them and they are AWESOME. They are 5 quetzales. paches pronounced, (Po-Chays). A must have to try while here!
You can find tons of stuff in the democracia market from the sidewalk & street vendors that is super cheap and delicious!
Enjoy lots of Pan & Chocolate while here, it won't ever be the same in the USA as here!
GENERAL COMMENTS (2¬)
A piece of advice about Xela- the town isn´t particularly interestingS. You can get a good taste of Xela in a day, then I would encourage you to go to one of the outlying towns such as Momostenango or San Francisco el Alto. Both have a strong indigenous flavor (mainly Quiche) and have wonderful markets. Momos market is Sunday and San Francisco on Friday.
I miss Xela! I love the fresh soft pan francesa, the not too sweet little cookies with coffee, the fresh tortillas, the best black beans on earth, and my house mom's tamales con arroz (mmmmm yum, the sugared fruits (higos higos higos!) And my cafe con leche , hmmmm. So yummy that leche en polvo with nescafe classico became stock in my pantry when I got home after being there for months(weird I know).
Here's my tip for not getting sick - NEVER eat ANYTHING with your hands if you can help it. Use the provided toothpicks. Your hands are way dirtier than you think and that Purell won't kill it all.
And the fried chicken and the tacos sold by the lancha ramp in Pana are just the BEST.
And if you order an entire bottle of rum, you get all the cokes and puro hielo you need for the table plus plenty of free antojitos - not bad for 25Q!
(I don't miss the chinese food with sweet ketchup and white bread, though!)
I had a delicious soup called topado at a relative's house. Looking up more about it, it seems it is a specialty ofLivingston. This site writes
"The tapado (covered) dish comes from the Guatemalan Caribbean region of Lívingston, in the department of Izabal. Lívingston’s population is made up by Black Guatemalans known as Garífunas, Q’eqchi’ Maya and Mestizos (mixed) and it’s precisely this mixture that is necessary to create such a delicacy."
The photo in the link above is from an Antigua restaurant. However, as this blog writes
"although you can get tapado elsewhere, the local variety is something truly special"
This blog writes
"If you ever find yourself in Lívingston, Guatemala (on the Caribbean coast), go straight to the Restaurante Bahía Azul and order the tapado ... In fact, to my mind, it´s pretty much the only reason to go to Lívingston at all"
"My guidebook describes the meal thus: "Tapado is probably the region´s signature dish, a seafood soup that´s a superb mix of fish (typically snapper), prawns, coconut milk, peppers, plantain and spices." Cristie and I shortened it to: "Wow.""
Ir ia well worth it to read that description of the dish.
I didn't have the full version, but the bowlI had at a home in Guatemala City was really delicious. The soup, rich with the many flavors of the seafood it had, was the exact golden color of this photo
We had been to a local farmers market that day and I asked about the tiny crabs that have their claws wrapped in strips of banana leaves and how they were used. They said soup, especially tapado.I was told they had tapado two nights ago and if I was interested I could try some that was leftover.
Banana and fish sounds weird, but the sweetness from both the coconut milk and plantanos combined with the deep shellfish flavor was complex and wonderful. Livingston had not been anywhere on my list of places to try, but now I must go there for the tapado.
Here's some more photos. The first link has a recipe in Spanish
That last link which has an excellent photo and a nice description of Livingston, says of the the tapado
"It’s in the Garifuna dish of tapado that the ethnic mix excels. A spicy seafood soup with an Asian curry-laksa base, this fruta del mar, pièce de résistance was quite simply the best meal we’ve experienced to date. Topped off with a shot of the local liquor, Mamajuana, a heady mix of local herbs and moonshine that stripped the enamel off our teeth, was enough to park us in multi-colored hammocks for our afternoon siesta. "
I have had Tapado made for me by a Garifuna friend when I lived in Punta Gorda, Belize. I have wanted to experience it again but haven't had a chance. I have passed through Livingston a couple times but have not eaten there. So we are going to spend a week in Antigua and I was wondering if there was a restaurant that had Tapado. I found this.
We will check it out when we are there Feb 2011 but I would love it if someone else had something to say about it. Or maybe someone can go and report back?
If someone else doesn't report back, I'm back in Antigua on the week of December 14th. I didn't have time to try El Pelican Dorado when I was in Antiguas the last three weeks, but it is high on my list when I return. Check back around the end of December. If I make it there I'll post.
Sorry, you'r on your own for El Pelicano Dorado. It is a bit out of town. They have the wrong address on that menu website. In addition at 7 pm at night they were closed. Someone came out and said they now close at six and they don't have music. I am more than a little annoyed, so I won't be revisiting that restaurant when and if they are open.
What sort of weird restaurant closes on Friday night?
LAKE ATITLÁN / PANAJACHEL
ARCA DE NOE
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
Chez Alex is probably the best restaurant in Panajachel. French menu, very nice wine list.
Circus Bar, with live music (on weekends only? I’ve forgotten) is the local hangout with very good pizza.
Deli 2 for wonderful breakfasts or light meals in a lovely garden
Eat at Hotel Atitán. This is on the lake that Aldous Huxley called the most beautiful in the world. Kitz agrees as this is only rivaled by some lakes I've been on in Switzerland.
LOMAS DE TZUNUNA
We loved Lomas de Tzununa - it's fabulous. The food was fine as well. We were there for 4 nights. Everyday we took a boat somewhere else around the lake - I can't recall the names of any the restaurants where we ate, we just found places that looked ok. But Maria from Lomas might be able to give you some ideas.
Most days we had the continental b/fast at Lomas. On the last day, though, my husband paid extra and got the granola - really good. Also liked their fish for dinner. Get the homemade mayonnaise with your frites.
DONDE MIKEL (2)
Probably the best steak/shrimp place in the city (Spanish style). It's not a gorgeous restaurant or anything, but I think it has some of the best food in the city - definitely Chowhound worthy. Order the Mar y Tierra (steak and shrimp). Closed on Sundays, I think. And closed for dinner on Saturdays (strange, I know).
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,
EL PORTAL DEL ANGEL
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.
HACIENDA REAL MEXICAN RESTAURANT
They have changed locations and are no longer across from the Holiday Inn. They are still in Z10, Zona Viva though
The ambience is excellent, as is the food. I had a very flavorful pork dish with a grilled ear of corn on the side and the others had a medley of soft tacos that were interesting and quite good and came with an assortment of various salsas that were outstanding
Like the other reviewer mentioned, Hacienda Real is a good choice for steak (I would say steak is typical "Guatemalan" food since every Guatemalan I know eats steak for dinner - with beans and tortillas, of course). Beautiful setting too
Outstanding food and service with multiple regional dishes.
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.)
Two really good steak houses in Guatemala City are La Estancia and El Portal del Angel
Kind of an ugly place, but their steak is delicious!! I like ordering the Costillas sin hueso (boneless ribs).
LOS ALPES IN Z9
Decent food, great Pear Pie for dessert. Good place for an inexpensive lunch.
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!!
La Estacia Steak House
Stick with the steak and it should be fine ... and get the tortillas
Though this is a local chain of steak houses, I thought I'd put it with the Guatemala City restaurants since we ate at the location next to the US Consolate and people might wind up in that area
- Empanadas Chilenas Q 24.95
2 empanadas filled with ground beef, onion, egg, olives, and raisins with ensalada rusa
- Parrillada "La estancia" (para 2) Q 149.95
(Churrasco importado, chuleta de cerdo, chorizo uruguayo, longaniza, pollo y chorizo extremeño)
Q = quetzale = 8 to $1
The location near the US Consolate has menus in English as well as Spanish. I am guessing this is only true in locations such as this and Antigua where Americans frequent.
Being a chain, the empanadas were probably frozen and heated in the oven. Despite all that was mentioned in the filling, it just tasted like greasy ground beef. No one liked this. The ensalada rusa seemed like potato salad to me. However, every time I said it was pretty good potato salad, everyone would say "ensalada rusa". It was good potato salad but not worth dealing with those empanadas
Even though it says it is for two and the waiter tried to upsell the three of us to another mixed grill twice the price, this was more than enough for all of us.
Whatever you order, the first thing on the table are three sauces. The first is a red tomato sauce ... a typical Gautemalan unspiced sauce. The middle sauce is chiichanga which was good. The other greens sauce is a pretty searing hot sauce and good if you want HOT.
There's a choice of tortillas, garlic bread and regular bread. I was hoping for garlic bread, but one of our group wanted the tortillas. They actually have the best tortillas I've had in Guatemala/
This is in a country with nothing but great tortilas ... including some wonderful made-from-scratch by starting with grinding maize, hand-kneeded, hand-patted and cooked on a traditional clay cozmel heated by a wood fire tortillas. These were better than those. I don't know how they make them , but they were excellent. Everyone commented on that.
The mixed grill came out on a little hibachi type of thing. The steak was the best, tender and tasty. I forgot there were thee types of sausages so we all just grabbed one sausage each. Not sure which one I had but I am guessing it was the longaniza it was fine, but unexceptional. The person who had the Urugaian chorizo liked it very much. My husband had the hot chorizo and didn't comment.
The chicken breast was fine, but nothing special. The pork skip. We had to keep reminding ourselves what it was because it was totally devoid of flavor
The spinach with melted cheese was pretty darn good. The foil-wrapped baked potato with five cheeses was good enough. The are kept hot on top of the grill, but ours were served lukewarm. .
The sangria is skippable. I ordered the coffee especial and they gave me a plain cup of coffee which really was tasteless and skippable.
It is a nice place without being too fancy. The waiters have black pants and vests There's nice tablecloths. An open grill is at the front.
At this location some of the waiters spoke English. The service is pleasant but had blips such as the wrong coffee, forgetting the empanadas, not bringing more tortillas that we requested, keeping the change without asking and too many hints we should leave.
The change only amounted to $2.. Tips are included in Guatemala, but they are only 10%. My intention was to leave a little more, but when I didn't get change ... in the long run the waiter cheated himself out of a bigger tip.
We had a 20 minute wait before our appointment after we finished. At first there were lots of glances. Then someone brought back the receipt (without change) and finallly our waiter asked if we needed anything else. Given they had quite a few empty tables, I think it was a bit uncalled for. I had been keeping an eye out and had they filled up I would have left on my own. As it was we weren't impacting business by our after dinner chat ... which was necessary anyway before our appointment.
It wasn't a destination-worthy meal, but if you find yourself in that area, it is pretty good, especially given the price for enough food to fill three people that included an appetizer, mixed grill, sangria, coffee and three jamaicas came to about $34 including the tip.
Also, if you ask, you get free water ... too many places only have bottled water that they charge for. The little American tourist at the next table needed a lot of reasurrance from the waiter that the water was safe to drink. This at a nice restaurant with a really posh hotel a block away. It was a nice nabe.
There were also three other places to eat next door, the only one I recall is a pizza joint called Benny's. Across the street, Caffe Geneva looked interesting, serving a plate of the day and desserts..
This thread is getting a bit long so I broke info about Guatemala City into a separate topic
Here's a few more ideas though. I haven't tried them
Really nice review with photos of Kacao. Second link is the website
Chez Fabrice - same reviewer, also great photos. French cuisine
Don't know a thing about it except this blurb from Marriot that says it specializes in grilled meat and has a huge open barbecue area and salad bar
Ok, maybe tourists won't get off on this but a cheeeese store .. an honest to heaven cheese store with "a massive selection of cheese and other dairy products ... Some of their best products include supreme cheese, layered cheese, dry cheese, stringy cheese, cottage cheese and smoked cheese. They also have a huge butter and cream selection.
I may be just setting myself up for disappointment, but it is the first place I plan to go next time in GC ... cheese ... cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese ... not just the half dozen usual suspects or supermarket cheese.
I was searching for something or another about Guatemala City and this restaurant kept popping up on various forums and sites. This link says
"showcase of traditional Guatemalan favorites prepared spot on by the native kitchen staff. Select an entrée that might include deer meat, turtle stew or chicken in a spicy broth."
The arroces section of the website has me intrigued
Under the specialties they have a few lesser seen dishes such as pollo en chica which is a soup using suchiles, a fermented pineapple drink. I wasn't thrilled with the refresco, but I'm interested in seeing how it works in a soup.
They also have tepezcuintle which this site describes as a "medium size rodent which meat is considered a true pleasure to eat. The muscle pattern is very different from the rest of the edible mammals we are used too. It also tastes very different, something between pork and beef but not quite all the way; it has also a wild flavor. You know how with sea food you can almost taste the ocean? Well, with tepezcuintle you can almost taste the jungle. I’m not kidding. The meat is usually very tender too."
Though you might inquire about the source of this rat as it is an endangered species. Maybe it is farm-raised. Don't know.
The only thing that gives me pause (besides the bad food photos) is under seafood they have camarones Arrin Cuan (con tociny y queso Kraft)
Rat doesn't bother me ... but Kraft cheese? Would that be Velveeta? Ah, imported cheese from the US.
Just a note that Quinta Niza is nothing special. I can't believe someone wrote about this cheese store in the middle of nowhere that sells the same Gautemalan cheeses every other store sells. There are no cheese other than the handful of Gautemalan cheeses. There was no huge selection of anything here. Not worth seeking out.
UPDATE: Arrin Cuan seems to no mhave gone out of business. The Zona 10 restaurant is no more. The Zona 1 restaurant is shuttered with the sign gone. One phone line says it is disconnected. The other phone line rings and rings with no answe
This is totaly weird to me because since I posted one month ago, the restaurant changed its website and included the second location.
Not only has Pachamama closed, the building was torn down and a new building is in the process of being constructed on that spot
Well, it turns out Arrin Cuan is open after all, here's my report
They have the wrong phone number on almost everything on the web. The restaurant is open seven days a week, so I don't know what was going on the first time we tried to find it. Either we got the wrong address or the were briefly closed for maintenance or vacation or something.
There is actually a very good Carnitas place there... but I sadly can't remember the name (I only know where it is as I'm driving to the beach). But it's on the main highway to Puerto San Jose and you'll know it by the crowd there ;)
The Best Ceviche in the World
Well, if I don't report on Esquintla restaurants, who will. And in terms of Esquintla, I don't much care if it gets burried on the web ... though this site STILL needs separate boards for Central and South Americas
Tried two sevicheria's almost next door to each other - Blanqui as mentioned in the previous link and Jet Set which is a few doors down.
The guy who drove me from SF to Guatemala stopped by to say hi, and I took the opportunity to talk him into going to Blanqui ... it was closed.
Now other than specializing in carne asada, one restaurant is little different to him than another. I should have been wary when he said let;s go to Jet Set. I think the rec was made on convienience ... it was next door.
Huge mixto meat platter
Huge bowl of seafood soup
I wouldn't recommend the meat plate. The guys mainly worked on that, but what I sampled was not too tasty. The beef was chewy, the sausage one of the few I didn't like in my life ... it was just strange ... three huge grilled shrimp, some other sausage that looked like a hot dog ... and mystery meat.
We really were not sure what it was ... could have been anything from fish to chicken. It was good for entertainment value as everyone would take a bite, start chuckling, and take a guess what it was.
The palte had lots of sliced tomatoes, cukes, onion, a scoop of beans, three condiments ... I only tried what seemed to be mayo mixed with catsup on the mystery meat.
The seafood chowder looked impressive, six jumbo ... at least 10 inch ... strimp, draped over the huge bowl which also had a whole crab, whole crayfish and hidden beneath the broth was a whole fish and about 8 mussels.
The fish was all ok. It was fresh, but not the tastiest I've had. The mussels were ridiculously small and almost not worth opening for the meat.
However, the saving grace was the golden rich seafood chowder which seemed to have to inhaled in all the flavor of the seafood on top. This was the best option here.
The slushy margarita was on the bitter side. I've had much better cheladas. The best was the lemonade ... actually limeade. These seafood restaurants have lots of limes and seem to all make top-notch lemonade withh just the right amount of sugar.
As to the cerviche ... well it was fine. However, I was so let down by the other restaurant being closed which someone wrote was the best in the world ... even if it was stellar I would have been let down.
As it was I was glad I had it so I could compare to the one I had today.
It came in a huge goblet with shrimp and some other chopped up crunchy shellfish ... maybe conch. There was some salsa fresca at the bottom. Oddly enough, cerviche is served with chiplin tamales. Chiplin is a local green that is used a lot in Guatemala. The tamal was good.
Thie best feature of this restaurant was the huge, sloped thatched palm roof. There were no windows so the air circulated beautifully. I thought at first it was airconditioned.
It was ok, but today's adventure at Blanqui was so superior, I really can't recommend it unless nothing else is open ... then get the seafood soup ... with limeade.
Open till at least 10 pm ... maybe later on the weekend
1a. Avenida Esquina Plaza Palmeras 1-00
The Best Ceviche in the World
Finding myself in the big city of Esquintla today, I dragged everyone over to Blanqui since I was so annoyed to find them closed yesterday
The ceviche looked exactly like the link above. The little bowl to the left was a thin hot sauce and just behind you can see a tiny bit of the chiplin tamales. There were also packages of crackers similar to Saltines.
The yellowish chopped fish is conch and I forgot to ask about the black fish. The shrimp, is self-explanatory. The darkish liquid in the bowl seemed to be the juice of shellfish. At the bottom of the bowl was a nice salsa fresca.
A huge bowl of limes was on the table with a lime squeezer, there was a bottle of Sauce Anglaise Worcestershire, catsup and a bowl of coarse salt.
Like the ceviche yesterday, there was a crunchiness to it. This was better with more fish, better tamales and better condiments.
I don't have enough experience with local ceviche or ceviche in general to say if it was the best in the world. However the other two people at the table liked it a lot.
BTW, it is not listed as "vuelve a la vida seviche" on the menu as stated in the link. It is the mixto. I've seen that term applied to ceviche, but the waitress at this joint never heard the term.
One person ordered a grilled flat steak. I had a taste, and will say it is the best steak I've had in Guatemala. It wasn't as chewy as most and was nicely chargrilled. The plate was huge and she enjoyed it all quite a bit. She also thought the tamales were muy rica. They were pretty good.
The lemonade was excellent. I had a beer as well ... one was listed as draft ... silly me ... I forgot some bottled beer is called draft.
On the way out, I saw one table that had a seafood soup similar to the one I had a jet set. It looked amazing.
The restuarant was booming with business. It also had live music. There was a guitar player in a corner table belting out Spanish songs ... and one American one in Spanish ... Pround Mary.
Not sure if it was a bunch of friends or they worked for the restaurant. It seemed more of a jam session. They were pretty good.
Anyway, whether or not it is the best ceviche in the world, IMO, Blanqui Sevicheria is a solid choice should you find yourself in Esquintla.
Daily 9 am - 7 pm
La Calle 3-55, Zona 2 (a few doors down from Jet Set. It is the big white restaurant
I returned to Blanqui with a friend who speaks more English than my husband. It turns out huevos de parlama (par) are raw turtle eggs. They are 20 quetzales each or about $2.50.
Serve with lime, Worcestershire sauce and ketchup.. Usually accompanied by a beer or tequila. Here's a Guatemalan blog (in Spanish) with a photo.
The blogger writes ... courtesy of bablefish and my adjusting some of babblefish weirdness .. The best is to eat the yolk and to burst it in the mouth ... Soon the burst yolk is spilled in the mouth and one feels its particular flavor and its texture, that pleases me very much. And after swallowing the yolk, take the sauce (of lime, Worcestershire sauce and ketchup)
At the end of the blog there is something about 23 tortugarios in Guatemala with 110, 000 turtles released each year to the sea. The famlies who collect the eggs have to save 20% for conservation efforts.
Anyway ... after all that ... we didn't order it. My friend said he tried one as a kid and didn't like it ... and I don't like raw eggs period.
We did order
- Shrimp soup
- Shrimp a la plancha
- Sparkling Lemonade (con gas)
I meant to order the mixed fish soup, but got my Spanish mixed up. The shrimp soup was pretty good though. There were about a dozen large shrimp with heads. About 10 hung from the side of the bowl with the other two in the shrimp bisque that matched the color of the cooked shrimp lounging on the edge of the bowl. There was a lone piece of celery that must have escaped in the bisque. It was rich and good, though on the salty side.
My friend's grilled shrimp were excellent. The same large shrimp. Also on the salty side. They were served with fries and salad. I guess everything here is served with chiplin tamales as we got a plate of about eight
I had the chelada which in this case seems to be the Michelada without tomato juice. I had a taste of his, but I preferred the crisper taste of the chelada. The waitress said it was beer with salt, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce and chelada mix. I'm not sure if they make their own or there is something similar to this bottled chelada mix (bottom row, third from the right)
I liked the uncarbonated lemonade from the last visit better This wasn't very carbonated and sweeter.
The music showed up as we were leaving (we went early for lunch). I say ... go early and avoid the music. There's a row of cevicharias on this street and it appears the musicians walk from one to another and play for anyone who is interested. This time in addition to the guitar and bass, a guy with an accordian and one with conga drums showed up. They were ... adequate.
A note about Jet Set, the cevicheria next door. It turns out there are two in town. Don't know why because this place is better.
My friend translated the brief menu for me:
Ceviche fish includes: conche, shrimp, fish, sea snals and calamari
Swell, that unidentified crunchy fish in the ceviche I had last time was raw sea snail. If you scroll down on this blog (which mentions Chowhound) there is a photo of a sea snail (caracol) tostada.
Here's a photo of them in-shell
In addition to what has been mentioned in the past two posts there is
Shrimp migados (breaded) http://www.recetasgratis.net/Receta-d...
The ever present fried chicken
Chicken wings (atitas)
I really like this restaurant and will be back someday for other items.
High prices, average food, slooooooow service ... and krab
Not to mention that on two visits, they were out of many items on the menu.
In a seafood restuarant, not having certain items can be good ... it could mean they only have fresh seafood.
Not the case here as I was served krab, not crab in my ceviche. Seriously, how trifling is that ... especially since it was the most pricy ceviche in town?
- Mixed ceviche of krab, fish, shrimp, calamari and caracol (sea snail)
- Grilled shrimp
- Carne Asada
- Orange ade
Paty is an attractive restaurant. There is a new one right across the street from the old one ... why ... I have no clue ... neither seemed to be hopping with business.
There are red tablecloths and nice lamp fixtures. It is spacious with lots of large tvs.
The Michaladas we had on a previous visit. It was my friend's birthday and this was the joint he originally chose. AFTER we ordered the micheladas, we were informed ... AFTER trying to order three different items ... that all they had were ceviches that night.
How about telling us when we sat down all they had was ceviche.
The Micheladas were only fair with what seemed like just plain tomato juice. We left and went to Jet Set, my friend''s second choice where the Micheladas were better and spicier.
We returned today because I still wanted to try the ceviche at Paty which listed more types of seafood than any restaurant so far ... though they were out of half of the items.
I did not do the ordering. My friend who grew up in this town ordered in Spanish.
When asked if they had all the different seafood on the menu, we were told no, only four ... fish, caracol, shrimp and calamari. So my friend ordered the four seafood combination. He was asked what four seafood items he wanted ... um ... the four you just mentioned.
Service was like that throughout.
That was when she remembered they had crab ... probably in the freezer so it slipped her mind.
It was a good enough ceviche and the krab was sweet ... though a lot cooler than the other items. However it made me question how many of the other items were frozen. It was possible with the tiny shrimp. The salsa was average, the packet of saltines crushed in spots, the Worchester sauce an off brand and the two small chiplin tamales only average.
My friends grilled shrimp were over salty, not as generous as the other places (though more expensive) and bordering on mushy. It came with french fries which were fine. I didn't try the tortillas or salad.
A taste of the carne asada ... well, it was a little more on the steamed rather than asada side and a bit fatty. It came with four limp grilled onions.
The lemonade and orangeade were good though.
The service was inexcusable. Service in general in Guatemala is slow. This set a record.
Though we ordered at the same time, my friend's shrimp came out 15 minutes AFTER I had FINISHED my ceviche. One of our party had an emergency at home and told the waitress to pack his order to go and then he left. She brought the dish to the table and we had to tell her again to pack it to go ... which took another 15 minutes. When she was told to wrap it up I said to bring the check. Nope. Had to tell her again and it took another 15 minutes.
Another really unpleasant thing happened. These restaurants have musicians that drop in. They also have kids selling sticker books, candy, and other small items.
I have been told not to buy from these kids which sell not only here but everywhere in the country. They are sent out by adults because who is going to refuse a cute kid. As a result, they are not in school and don't get an education. The adults take their money and sometimes beat them if they don't sell enough. I have seen the latter personally where a kid was given a slap that knocked him to to ground.
Usually, the kids ask and move on. At Paty they refused to leave the table, asking over and over to buy something. Then I saw the adult who was with these kids, outside the restaurant. Every time they left, he would send them back in.
It didn't make for an appetizing meal. I won't be back to Paty.
Also for a completely different treat check out Bokatas, which is more mediterranean/Spanish, but probably the bet restaurant in the city.
El Convite (1a Avenida) has the best Kaq' Iq' (turkey stew) in town.
TropiKuba is also good for churrascos.
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.
ANTIGUA DAILY PHOTO
Antigua Daily Photo has become my food bible as well as a wonderful resource for all things about Antigua. It is updated daily and well worth checking out if going to this city’
Here’s some suggestions with mouthwatering photos
It’s Coffee Time!
Café Barista Panino and Freedom of Speech
Chef salad from Café Concepción
CASA DEL FLAN ANTIGÜEÑO
Vegetarian Hamburger at Casa del Flan Antigüeño
Beer and Hamburger Combo from Flan Antigüeño
COMEDOR TÍ¬PICO ANTIGÜEÑO
Guatemalan Cuisine: Pepián
“ an authentic Guatemalan coffee shop run by Fernando who roasts his own selection of coffee beans and prepares the best double latté in town.”
Cup of Guatemalan Coffee
Guatemalan Cuisine: Typical Guatemalan Breakfast
DOÑA MARÍ¬A GORDILLO CANDY STORE
A place that has high priority. I think there is a chowhound mention of the tomatoes
Delicious Quiche from Hector’s
Tomatoes, Basil and Cheese
Only in LAG: Drying Dinner
Hugo’s Ceviches: Concha Seviche
LA CASA DE LAS MIXTAS
Guatemalan Cuisine: Platillo Típico
LA FONDA DE LA CALLE REAL RESTAURANT
Kitchen at La Fonda de la Calle Real Restaurant
Oriental Chicken with Coconut Curry
LA FUENTE RESTAURANT
Guatemalan Cuisine: Pepian
Chicken Nachos from La Fuente Restaurant
Healthy Lunch: Chef Salad and The New Yorker
LA NARANJA PELADA
Ceviche from La Naranja Pelada
LA SALA MASALA.
Indian Cuisine Vegetarian Sampler
“Every first and second of November he withdraws the fiambre recipe that has delighted the taste buds of the most demanding fiambre connoisseur for over 27 years. From his unassuming Lo-Mix comedor set on 7a calle poniente No. 25B, he begins, like an artist, to paint the canvas with different shades of green lettuce, adding more colors, textures and flavors with each layer from a tasteful palette of over 40 ingredients.”
Colorful Fiambre Chapín
Theme Day: Typical Breakfast
Antigüeño Breakfast at Rainbow Café
ROY.COM INTERNET CAFÉ
Guatemalan Cuisine: Pirujos antigüeños
TORTAS LOCAS HIPOCAMPO
Tortas Locas Hipocampo in La Antigua Guatemala
“The sweet Guatemalan bread in this picture comes from a very popular bakery in La Antigua Guatemala by the name of San Antonio, which stills uses brick ovens and wooden logs. The bread is baked freshly twice a day:”
Guatemalan Sweet Bread Sampler – One Year Anniversary
QUESOS Y VINO
“one of the oldest Italian restaurants in La Antigua Guatemala. They serve homemade pastas and pizzas cooked inside a wood-burning brick oven”
Vegetarian Pizza from Quesos y Vino
Wok’n Roll Chinese delivery
a village about 1 kilometer away from La Antigua Guatemala.
Guatemalan Cuisine: The Kak’ik
Russian beer Baltika 9, shorma kebab pita sandwich, with three curry sauces.
Guatemalan Cuisine: Atol de arroz con chocolate
Guatemalan Cuisine: Atol de platano
Guatemalan Cuisine: Atol de Habas and Dobladas
Guatemalan Cuisine: Atolillo
Guatemalan Cuisine: Atol Blanco, Anyone?
The Guatemalan Chevere Hot Dog Cart
Guatemalan Cuisine: Mixtas
The Guatemalan Shuco Hot Dog
Carne Adobada, Longanizas, Viuda
Chicharrones, Chicharrines and Carnitas, Anyone, Anyone?
Craving Corn: Elote Craving Corn: Elote
Feria Food: Plataninas
Guatemalan Alligators in the Brink of Extinction
Guatemalan Cuisine: Chuchitos y atol de platano
Guatemalan Cuisine: La Enchilada / Enchiladas-R-Us
Guatemalan Cuisine: Loroco and Cheese Pupusas
Guatemalan Cuisine: Mayan Pizza or Giant Pupusa
Guatemalan Cuisine: Revolcado, Pepian, Hilachas, Subanik, Longanizas
Guatemalan Cuisine: Tacos
Guatemalan Dessert: Empanadas de Leche
Guatemalan Dessert: Espumillas
Guatemalan Fresh Fruit Plastic Bags
Guatemalan Granizadas or Shaved Ice Snack
How to make Guatemalan Chicharrones
I want gringas, You want gringas…
“I used to go hunker down to work online at Rainbow Café just so I could sip on a papaya-yogurt licuado … It didn’t take me long to find the cheapest licuados in town though. At the market, you can usually order a licuado with water for Q7. At El Merendor it will cost you Q8. Looking for a spot more “oriente” go to Cookies where a licuado with water also costs Q7. Just add a quetzal or two for anything blended with milk or yogurt”
Shaved-ice cart—God loves you!
Shrimp Ceviche in Antigua
Tortillas con Carne
I am going to put this under Antigua because if you REALLY want Guatemalan food, you MUST go to San Lucas Sacatepéquez ... a 20 minute ride outsdie the city.
Guatemala: Antigua food? Forget it. Go to nearby FABULOUS San Lucas Sacatepéquez
It was so good I broke out out into a separate post of its own. Attention must be paid. Tribute must be given.
While the coffee was very good, the standout here was the chocolate covered karob beans
These were like the most wonderful chocolate covered nuts. The karob bean is hand-peeled and roasted. I took a nibble of the sample and Fernando said no ... pop the whole thing in your mouth and bite down.
It was an explosion of crumbly, roasted bitter sweet magnificence . I thought I saw an online ordering section on the website, but can't seem to find it right now.
There is also a version with pepper, but I didn't think the family would go for that. I finally decided they might not appreciate the taste of the karob and since I was afraid they would melt at home ... I finished off the package myself. That's my story.
If you click on the 'cacoa' link on the website, there are lovely photos of the cacoa trees and beans. Fernando had a few of the large beans sitting on the front counter,
The coffee was good. I was with my family ... the Nescafe drinkers ... and they went either with the hot chocolate or the coffee frappee.
For all the drinks at Fernado's you add sugar. I think the group of eight went through an entire bowl of sugar. Once enough was added, everyone was happy. I took a sip of the hot chocolate prior to sugaring and liked it.
The coffee is a mild roast. If you read the site, it is from a fair trade source.
I got an espresso for the group to try mainly because I knew something that strong would freak them out, which it did. First, though I ordered a mocha which some of the group liked ... after it was sugared to death. This was nice though ... basically the cappucino with chocolate in it. The cappuccino was a good version, not whatever that is at Cafe San Lucas which I am thinking is geared to Guatemalan tastes ... that is, make it as weak as possible and have as little coffee flavor as possible.
So other than our group, there were no Guatemalans in Fernando's on our visit.
On the ride into the city, I passed the dreaded Nescafe plant. Actually it was lovely, unlike so many facilities I've seen in Guatemala.
This is a repeat of photos in the post above, but I thought I would put them with the Fernando's report.
Lovely patio. It is not obvious from this photo, but the design on the table is made from light and dark coffee beans
Here's a photo of Fernando and a video of him roasting the beans
This is a photo of breakfast at Fernando's
It turns out that was put together by the photographer. Breakfast is a serve yourself buffet. It may only be offered Sunday, but other than cofffee drinks, I didn't l ook at the menu. There were a few sandwiches on it for lunch.
Looking thru 'Que Pasa en Antigua' a tourist mag, it seems that Thu-Sat from 6-10, Fernando's hosts a restaurant called "Naked Veggies", a vegetarian restuarant with the slogan "Get Alive". There is a phone number for reservations that is different from the Cafe 5704-5154
From the website
"And what could be more revolutionary along the coffee supply chain than for everybody to profit? Therefore, instead of adding to the coffee cacophony over what constitutes “fairness in trade” we wield our “SmarTrade” sword to slash the proverbial “Gordian Knot” and, provide
1.Quality, quality, quality (our mantra)
2.Products with as much added value as possible
3.An interactive network between the farmers, Fernando’s alchemists, UPS, and you
4.100 % traceability since day one between the farmer and you
5.Decommoditization of quality coffee (death to crappy coffee!)
“SmarTrade” marketing brings back to the country considerably more money than conventional trade or so-called “fairness in trade”, improves the farmers’ bargaining position, and in turn, betters both their communities and Guatemala"
7a. Avenida Norte no 43 D
Mon-Sat 7am - 7pm
Sun 7am - 1pm
Note: the odd number side of the street is totally different than the even numbered side of the street So 7a is across the street from something like 62 Avenida Norte
Here's the online menu for Fernando's. I guess the breakfast buffet is just on the weekend and they have different offerings during the week. Lunch includes a few empanads, salahttp://www.degustantigua.com/en/kaffee-fernandos.html?Itemid=116ds, sandwiches and the soup of the day.
Que Pasa en Antigua is a free monthly bilingual magazine with a calender of cultural upcoming events, interviews and articles about Antigua ... and most importantly ... restaurants.
What is great about it is that it has ADRESSES to all restaurants listed and often websites. Not an easy thing to find on the web. Also worth picking up a copy for the nice map of the city inside.
Also it has info about special food events ... for May ... " Noche de los Chefs. It’s a special event organized by the founders of Degustantigua to showcase Antigua’s amazing cuisine and some of its creators.' Full article which sounds fabulous
So it is a good place to virtually check out places mentioned such as Bistro Cinq and get a feel for what they look like and the menus
It also notes features such as child friendly, live music, wi-fi, happy hours and home delivery
Just in case some of these joints with websites drop their advertising
Bagel Barn ... I know, I know ... but bagels ... in Antigua
5ª Calle Poniente #2
1ª Avenida Norte #9 B
5ª Avenida Norte #29
7832-1296 / 7832-0504
La Antigua Vinería
5ª Avenida Sur #34 A
3ª Avenida Sur #1
La Peña de Sol Latino
5ª Calle Poniente #15 C
1ª Avenida Sur om
5ª Calle Poniente #15 C
5ª Avenida Sur #19
6ª Avenida Norte #
7832-3758 / 7832-6059
4ª Calle Oriente #21
There are many more restaurants These are only the ones with websites. The actual magazines lists them by cuisine ... so if you are looking for caju, arabian, hookhas, etc...there is a list
The other mazagine with restaurant info and links to restaurant websites is Revue Magazine
They even have a link to the McCafe website where you can buy Guatemalan coffee, ristrettos, etc served in real cups. The site talks about their baristatas ... and doesn't even call them McBarristas. Munch on alfajores, tiramisu, baklava and paninis
The review has links to restaurants in areas throughout Guatemalan and even some in El Salvador
Que Pasa Antigua is expanding its boundries this month and provides maps for a few other cities including Guatemala City. However, I am getting used to the system here. Roll down your window and ask anyone you see for directions. I find myself saying "Pull over and ask that person".
This is the first mention of my all-time favorite restaurant in Antigua: La Peña de Sol Latino. Co-owner Maria told me "we are a gathering place and we serve food." If you go more than once, you are "part of the family." Food can either be regional or a tempered version (espaguete, veggie burger, sopa de papa). Pacos Nachos are the best in town - a heaping serving of nachos with lettuce, tomatos, beans, guacamole and meat if you wish. The best feature is the nightly performance of Sol Latino - an Andean band whose performance is entertaining but never intrusive on your conversation, although most conversation stops when Sol Latino plays - there sound is magnetic. They have CD's available, thankfully. Bill and Maria are excellent hosts, and service is excellent at any time of day (they are open lunch through dinner).
I was just updating the Restaurant and Bar database last night and Sol Latino was on my list to stop by for the music when I go to Antigua next week. Here's the link to that record which has address, phone, website and more info.
Welcome to Chowhound, btw. I see these Guatemalan posts are are your first. If you are into rating restuarants, if you go to the above link you can add a rating of one to five stars.
Anyway, I wanted to try some nachos somewhere in Guatemala, so Sol Latino might be the place. Here's the direct link to their website. I'm guessing the music that plays is a sample of what they do.
Any other favorites? Have you been to La Viejo Cafe? I hear they have the best cup of coffee in La Antigua.
Quesos y Vino
This place seemed to have so much potential. Pizzas cooked in a clay-covered, wood-burning brick oven and house made pasta. With the exception of the fabulous calzone … and possibly the sandwiches … Looks 10, taste 4
We actually had this pizza … which no one remembers ordering … but service is another issue … I hope that we had a really off server on a really off day http://antiguadailyphoto.com/2010/04/12/pizza-margarita-from-quesos-y-vino/
These are really bready pizzas, almost foccacia like, but the crust was really meh. There was no saving grace in the toppings for either the veggie or meat pizza. I couldn’t tell you what the sauce tasted like it was so forgettable. On the good side, instead of pepper flakes, there was a little bowl of ground chile powder to sprinkle on the pizza.
The calzone was a whole different story. The crust was yeasty, crisp and wonderful. The oozy filling of ham, cheese and chopped tomatoes was wonderful. People fought over it. The pizza we had leftovers and one of the girls refused to eat it she disliked it so much.
The outdoor oven is quite impressive and is a center piece of the beautiful grounds. There is an eight seat counter where you can watch the action at the oven. There is a deli counter inside and the bread for the sandwiches looked amazing. I am guessing it is baked in that oven.
We shared two pasta dishes, pesto and carbonara. The best feature was the freshly shaved bowl of parmesan cheese. The process of hand-making the pasta did nothing to elevate either dish. Both sauces were fine, but nothing special.
The good part of the wine list was it was inexpensive with most bottles way under $20. The bad part was it was brief and not well chosen. Let’s say that wines like Blue Nun were on the list. There were some South American wines like Conche y Torres. By the glass there was only red or white house wine … whatever that might be. IMO, if Vino is in your name, you should do better than that.
So I got the horchata which was pretty tasteless.
I don’t often make an issue of service. We could have had an off d ay. It could have been an off server. However, this will remain in my mind as one of the most memorably bad service experiences I have ever had … world-wide.
I'll overlook terrible service if the food is outstanding ... this wasn't.
It wasn’t a cultural thing. I’ve eaten in Guatemalan restaurants and a lot of restaurants in the big cities of Mexico.
First they wouldn’t seat us. I went in first while the group found parking and was told they had no seats. Well, yes. I could see that. However, how long would we need to wait for a seat? It was repeated that there was no seating.
I figured my Spanish wasn’t that good and that they didn’t have enough English for us to communicate. However, in a city that is crawling with Americans (there are over 70 schools for English-speakers to learn Spanish) and being across the street from La Merced Church, one would think that someone would have some sort of rudimentary English … at least the word ‘wait’
When the group caught up with me, they weren’t treated any better and we were finally told there would be a 15 minute wait. I didn’t get the whole story, but the ladies were given a hard time by the staff when they used the restroom … come on now. We were all dressed nice enough to eat at any upscale SF, CA restaurant and for the money we spent, that was inexcusable.
Ordering … no antipasto … no lemonade … no something else. There are about 20 items on the whole menu.
When dishes and glasses were brought out they were plopped on the corner of the table in a pile. There were three short. Two requests for the extra plates produced nothing. My husband had to go into the restaurant to get someone to bring plates … and it still took 10 minutes.
Then the server disappeared. When she cleared plates from another table, a few people asked for another drink. She took off without taking all the orders and a long time later returned and actually rolled her eyes at us and made annoyed sounds because more of us wanted drinks. I can’t translate directly but it was along the lines of … are you sure this is it. My husband again had to go into the restaurant to get a bowl of ice which we requested a number of times.
Of course my husband had to go find her for the check … twice.
I was paying and then she did something that made me lose it. While I didn’t have the Spanish skills to deal with her, I do believe I taught the family the American term “sucks”.
What made me really angry was she took my money and proceeded to loudly count each bill … un cien, dos cien … honey, you are really, really … really lucky I didn’t have Spanish skills.
First of all, I was embarrassed to have made this horrible choice … the first place I took the whole family. Second … though the bill for 9 people came to $90, in Guatemalan terms that is an obscene amount of money. To have this woman announce to the group how much I spent for this mediocre meal with horrendous service … it made me look like a fool.
Again, service is fleeting and it might have been an odd experience … though there are few reports on the web about weak service … so be prepared.
And while I can not recommend a special trip, the calzone was fabulous enough that despite everything, if you are in the area of that church and need a meal that would be a good choice. If the sandwiches are as good as they look, they might be worth a try.
It is a really gorgeous place as well. However, from what I’ve seen of Antigua, stunningly beautiful seems to be the norm.
1 Calle Poniente No. 1
Lunch: Wed-Mon 12:00pm - 4:00pm (no pizza orders after 3pm)
Dinner: Wed-Mon 6:00pm - 10:00pm
Panaderia San Antonio
This place is every bit as good as it looks ... and then some
The bread is baked freshly twice a day using brick ovens and wooden logs. It is a charming shop. On the right is a glass case with three shelves of beautiful tortas like those in the picture.
We came late in the day so the torta selection was limited to plain, fig and almond. No raisin like in the photo. The fig was like a pound cake with generous pices of dried fig.
In the center are breads, sweet rolls and baskets filled with rolls. I'm not quite sure if the rolls were the classic pan Francais as they were so different. The yeasty rolls with a slightly chewy crust were one of my favorite things there. We also got a long loaf of some sort of white bread that was quite excellent. These breads were the equal of any of the top bread bakeries in my home in SF, CA. which I have been missing. San Antionio filled a culinary void for me.
I have never been a fan of Mexican pan dulce such as conchas or similar Guatemalan types. In Chowhound discussions I was told it was because in the US it is about cost rather than quality. San Antonio had the top of the line of these ... they screamed quality ... denser and richer than any I've tried. Still not my thing. I'd get any of the tortas or other breads in a flash.
The cookies are to the left and those were excellent as well. The staff was super nice, even with my horrible Spanish.
I don't have the exact address. It is on 5a Calle Poniente with the nearest cross street being Calle Santa Lucia. There is a statue/traffic circle and it is just beyond it.
I didn't have the address but the owner of Fernando's Kaffee was kind enough to mark out the directions on a map. He said there were three. This was the nearest.
We also went to Bistro Cinq which was more upscale - very nice. Also recommended, but for more of a splurge (for me anyway).We pieced together a meal of appetizers and sides. Cauliflower gratin, roasted beets, greens beans, mac and cheese. The beets and cauiflower were very good and I would definately have again
Cafe Condesa has a popular Sunday brunch with a number of nice options such as yogurt and granola
CAFE FLOR, very near Parque Central,
CAFÉ LA CONDESA; Posada de Don Rodrigo
CASA DE LAS MIXTAS
A nice simple comedor for lunch is Casa de las Mixtas on a nice side street a short walk from the market or park. They have standard comedor fare but definitely better than most similar places. Croissant with chocolate is a good bet in the morning!
CASA SANTO DOMINGO
Casa Santo Domingo. Yet again I cannot vouch for their food personally, but it has won many awards.
Right across from the Calle Real on 5av Norte is Cenicienta Pasteles (I think that's the name). They have wonderful cakes and pies, along with quiche, coffee and chocolate. The prices are a bit high for Guatemala but you'll probably find them reasonable.
A nice simple comedor for lunch is Casa de las Mixtas on a nice side street a short walk from the market or park. They have standard comedor fare but definitely better than most similar places. Croissant with chocolate is a good bet in the morning!
DOÑA MARIA DULCES TÍPICOS (2)
For a real treat, walk to Doña Maria Dulces Típicos. It´s right near Hotel Aurora and is an old-time candy store. The prices are a bit high, but every piece is hand made and many are quite artful and unique. The place has been there for some time and most Antigüeños will tell you to head there for a piece of history.
For a sweet treat, head over to Doña Maria Gordillos or El Sombreron and load up on traditional candies.
There's a longer name, but I don't remember it and you don't need it.) Great for breakfast, coffee and afternoon snacks. OK for light lunches. One of the best deals was (is?) the Refraccion del Dia, which was a cup of coffee and a piece of recently made cake/pie (they decide what you get), for a remarkably small sum.
also in Antigua, although we didn’t eat there, is El Sereno on 4th Ave Norte between 1 & 2 Calle Oriente. I’d heard the food was decent, although not close to the caliber of Panza Verde. But the real reason to go is for the view from the bar which is at the top of a church tower ruin. On a clear evening there’s a perfect view of Agua volcano. With street sounds and the hubbub of Antigua far below, it is “sereno” indeed.
For a sweet treat, head over to Doña Maria Gordillos or El Sombreron and load up on traditional candies.
Cafe con leche at Fernando's Kafe on 6th Avenida Norte and avocado or bean tostadas with cabbage salad at street stalls.
HECTOR'S RESTAURANT (3)
It's a small place located very close to La Merced church. If you're looking at the church, it will be on the right side, around the corner from the arch street.
I adore a tiny restaurant that I don't know the name of in Antigua, but I can tell you just where it is. It on 1a Calle Poniente and is the second business east of 6a Avenida Norte. This is the intersection where La Merced church is located. It is painted yellow and the menu is written on a mirror sitting in the doorway. I believe that it is only open in the evening. (To help locate it: the place right on the corner is red, called Fusion, has a big sign so it is easy to spot. It just opened and I have not eaten there yet.) The menu is small, really I keep going back for the roasted tomatoes - tomates rostizados. My husband goes for the carrot soup - sopa de zanahoria. There are only 4 or 5 tables, very intimate. The kitchen is directly behind the bar in the same room as the tables. You feel a bit like you are in a friend's home.
The yellow restaurant is Hector's and as of Nov 2009 is still very good
LA CASSEROLE (2)
La Casserole in Antigua, a French restaurant with polished service
La Casserole on Calle de la Conception is a terrific French restaurant with excellent fresh fish
LA ESCALONIA (2)
A plant nursery and restaurant. Great sandwiches here.
La Escudilla is a popular place with travelers, although I find it too expensive. But it´s a nice place to head, as there are two bars inside (riki´s which is loud and plays jazz, and another smaller bar that is quiet). The restaurant has good pastas, salad and sandwiches.
LA FONDA DE LA CALLE REAL (9)
The Cak-Ik was very good
OK place, but they serve authentic Guatemalan food including the Kakik dish people mentioned. I like the Subanik and my cousin really liked the Pollo Jocon when she went.
There are two locations: I prefer the one on the street that runs north from the western edge of the central park (maybe it's the 5a avenida norte?); the restaurant is about 1-2 blocks north of the park on the east side of the street. Their Caldo Real (the name is close to that -- it may be Caldo de la Fonda Real) is one of the best chicken soups I've ever had. Big enough for a meal, it is served with a collection of condiments - lime, cilantro, chile pepper, oregano, maybe other things too. It's great. Make sure to sit upstairs.
Fonda de Calle Real is a must, and their soup and pepian are classic.
Fonda Calle Real is supposed to be good as well though not as upscale. They serve pepian - a classic Guatemalan dish. (For the vegetarians out there it is good to note they also have a veggie version. We went last night and enjoyed it. I wasn't blown away, but I will probably go back when we have friends in town. My husband had the grilled vegetable plate which was nice, very pretty and drizzled in balsamic vinegar. Maybe a bit pricey for just veggies, but sometimes such is the life of a vegetarian. (and "a bit pricey" was around 50Q - around US$6.50 - not much for a nice place really!)
We also had a couple of meals at La Fonda de la Calle Real. It’s almost a cliché and always loaded with large groups of tourists. But my friend was so enamored of their Gallo en Chicha that we went back so he could have it a second time
Calle Fonda Real (the one nearest the arch), which was terribly bland and I would not reommend.
Fonda de la Calle Real is your best bet for local dishes
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.)
Frieda's has very good Mexican food.
LA CUEVITA DE LOS URQUIZU (4)
I forget the name, but it is close to Capuchinas. I loved the enchiladas here (not American enchiladas, but basically tostadas topped with radishes (or wait, were they beets?) Try them, they're cheap :)
La Cuevita de los Urquizu was reccommended by Ehoenes prior to our trip to Guatemala and it was solidly the chowhound's pick for Antigua. Open from 7am-7pm they have a terrific variety of typical guatemalan dishes (typical but hard to find in restaurants)the pepian was much better than the pepian at Calle Fonda Real, and they let us taste the stews as we decided which to order. There is a pretty back garden as well where you can hear women in the back patting out tortillas and carrying out big bowls of guacamole and other delights to the cafeteria style area in the front. Lunch for two (which we couldn't even finish) and two beers ran us about 15 USD. 2a calle Oriente # 9-d Antigua Tel: 8322493* 832-2582
As an update: I followed this suggestion and ate here in April 2007. It was our second best meal in Antigua, after Pollo Campero). Second best in Antigua, however, is still not that great. The variety was really welcome, and our pepian and some greenish stew were good. Nothing was quite as exuberantly flavored as I hoped. But it was much, much better than Calle Fonda Real (the one nearest the arch), which was terribly bland and I would not reommend. The rooftop at La Cuevita is the best spot to eat there -- great views of the ruins across the way (HIGHLY worth visiting).
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.
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 ??
For Italian try Mona Lisa and get the Mayan Lasagna done with cacao
Nice decor, pretty good Japanese food. But really, do you want to eat Japanese food when you're in Guatemala?’
POLLO CAMPERO (3)
I am serious. I'd never had P.C. before. It was excellent
I have to admit that the Pollo Campero salads are good (when combined with the tortillas sold by the lady(ies) outside of each PC) and are a good way to get fresh greens. It is the only chain in the world I would visit.
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.
RESTAURANTE LA ESCUDILLA
The restaurant in the hotel of Hotel Convento Santa Catalina
PANZA VERDE (4)
The restaurant is in the Panza Verde Hotel in Antigua. The chef is Swiss. If you go, be sure to get the Duck L'Orange... it is probably the best duck dish I have ever eaten.
The venue is indeed lovely and the service very professional—and bilingual. I forget what my friend had for an appetizer, but I had wild mushrooms in a garlic and cream sauce that was outstanding. We both ordered fish, my friend grouper and I snook with a sauce that included green grapes. Both dishes were perfectly prepared, not the least overcooked. And the portions were more than generous. Neither of us could even think of dessert
Go to the very, very back of the place for a beautiful garden setting. Good place for a snack and the orange tea with rosemary is divine
STEAK CAFE DE PARIS
I love the Steak Cafe de Paris and recently went with my Swiss friend who commented that it was very authentic! The chef, Jean Francois is one of the most famous chefs in Guatemala. It's not that expensive, Q120 or $15 for the plate (including veggies and fries). Go upstairs and sit on the terrace.
This is a newer restaurant, near Central Park, and one of my fave places to eat these days. They have great paninis, crepes, and other French food.
Everybody wants a tip on where to eat. However, if you read the Antigua Daily Photo site, what is stressed often is that if you want typical Guatemalan food, it is really found int the comedores (diners , so to speak, fondas and restaurants ) as part of the Menú del día. These are the meals of the working class
STREET FOOD (5)
Antigua: the market at the opposite side of the city from the entrance
In many places you can get great licuados (fresh fruit blended drinks), and there are some fantastic market stalls. Just eat at one that's crowded, so that you're assured of high turnover and thus freshly cooked food. I had some great Pepian (Mayan stew with a pumkin-seed base) in the market.
From the same vendors you can get many different types of atol. My favorite is the corn - elote blanco. Like a thin corn pudding. You may also find chocolate with rice or banana/plantain. Look for the stacks of cups to discover who has it or just ask around
(You should go to the market in any case. It runs everyday - Thursdays and Saturdays are the biggest. The produce make me swoon.)
I also ate a lot of grilled meats and scallions and tortillas from the vendors in front of La Merced, and out near the old baths. I had one fabulous tortilla, but the rest didn't have much going on
I've been loving your Guatemalan updates. I spent a few weeks there in Feb & March and am planning to return in Oct.
I cook all the time and ended up lucking out and getting to stay at a house where could shop the Antigua mercado and cook most days. I found the produce chicken and eggs to be really nice and the beef a bit tough. When I return I will be getting a meat hammer.
Anyway, I wanted to weigh in on the Antigua restaurant scene as I did eat out many times.
Bistro Cinq: expensive, loved my meal, had great service
Cafe Condesa: nice for breakfast, lunch or a sit down coffee. really friendly service
Dona Luisa: good for afternoon sweets, coffee or liquados
Fridas: this was one place I would not return for food. It's cute and I would go in for a drink but I was unhappy w/ my food. I live in Southern California so I think I'm used to GOOD mexican food and and this was not it.
Pescador Italiano: It sounds like this is the mediterrean place listed above. Had a really nice thin crust pizza here with proscuitto and arugula. A pizza to prevent homesickness.
Panza Verde: really beautiful, expensive and very good food. Special occasion place
Sabe Rico: very nice patio, vegetarian friendly. Good but nothing special food
The Mercado is the favorite for me. Also outside the market is a little sit down w/ daily platos. I think it's about 35 Q. Fried chicken day, soup, salad, bird, tortillas, beans. Yes, please.
Keep your posts coming. They are appreciated.
I was looking for some info about candy and came across this article about the chef of El Pescador Italiano which claims chef Luciano Vanelli earned a Michelin star at another restaurant
Don't know the validity of that, but the dishes in the article look AMAZING
- Shallot Confit & Fresh Mango Salad
- Blueberry & Maple Fruit Salad
So then I take a look at the menu of El Pescador Italiano and the man is making Hawaiian pizzas for heavens sake
I mean, the pizza may be fine, but it seems like a waste of talent.
Still ... it moved up higher on my list. There are dishes like shrimp in rose sacue with avocado and organic strawberries.
The cheese poker got a mention in a local magazine as one of the 10 best appetizers in Antigua. It has four cheeses and comes with walnut bread, green apple, blackberry sauce and "aroma of raspberry vinegar"
There might be something there than just a pizza joint.
Oddly there is very little fish on the menu of a restaurant with the name of "The Italiian Fisherman"