Antigua, GT: Cafe Condesa – Delicious apple pie and brownies, tasty home fried potatoes and $1.50 pot of pu-ehr tea.
It is all about the bakery items at Café Condesa.
American and Guatemalan breakfast is served all day. An all-you-can-eat buffet brunch is offered on Sunday. For lunch there is a daily special, soup, quiche, Japanese cold noodles, salads and sandwiches on house-made bread. Desserts are also made in-house.
Located in the Casa del Conde, this cafe has menus in English and Spanish.
Here's what I had for brunch rated from A+ to F -
HOT DISHES: home-fried potatoes (B+), potato and bell pepper soup (B-), pancakes with whipped cream and maple syrup (C+), scrambled eggs (C), refried black beans (C)
CONDIMENTS: house-made jam (B-), ranchero sauce (B-), jalapeño hot sauce (B-), crema (B-)
COLD DISHES: fruit salad (B+), yogurt (B-), spinach salad with bacon (B-), greens with orange and macadamia nuts (B-), spinach and pizza quiche (C+), French-style potato salad (C+), Japanese cold-noodle salad, (C) tomato-pepper-cucumber Condesa salad (C)
BREAD AND DESSERTS: apple pie (A-), brownie (A-), blackberry apple pie (B+), scone (B+) house-baked white bread (C+), plain zepelin (C)
BEVERAGES: coffee (B+), range juice (B-), pu-ehr tea (C)
Service: C + … Slightly above average
Ambiance: B - … Very good
Restaurant record with more info such as address, phone, hours and menu
Flickr photostream with more pictures
CAFE CONDESA DETAILS
What is nice about brunch is that it allows a sample of many items from the regular menu and a good selection of their baked goods.
B + … Very, very good: home-fried potatoes
B - … Very good: potato and bell pepper soup
C + … Slightly above average: pancakes with whipped cream and maple syrup
C … Average: scrambled eggs, refried black beans
I wish I took a better photo of the potatoes. They are pretty much hidden in the hot buffet plate. I like potatoes well enough, but I’m not a big fan. These caught my attention.
They were fried, but not crispy which is usually a fault in home fries. However the thick slices were full of flavor and had a great texture. Likewise, the potato soup had good flavor, a nice smoothness and pleasant bits of bell pepper.
Considering the pancakes were kept in a chafing dish and not made to order, they were very good. There was real maple syrup in a pitcher. The bowl of whipped cream was so thick that I mistook it for cream cheese. It was quite good with just the right touch of sweetness.
Eggs and beans were fine, but there was nothing special about them.
B - … Very good: house-made jam, ranchero sauce, jalapeño hot sauce, crema
The jam was good but I just can’t remember what type it was … some sort of tropical fruit like mango or pineapple. They sell jars of it. It didn’t make enough of an impression on me to either recall the flavor or want to bring a jar home.
Good classic Guatemalan ranchero sauce that was just the right consistency and flavor. The jalapeño sauce also had a nice kick and fresh flavor. Good thick crema
B + … Very, very good: fruit salad
B - … Very good: yogurt, spinach salad with bacon, greens with orange and macadamia nuts
C + … Slightly above average: spinach and pizza quiche, French-style potato salad
C … Average Japanese cold-noodle salad, tomato-pepper-cucumber Condesa salad
The fruit salad was quite good with a nice selection of chopped, flavorful fruit: papaya pineapple, melon, watermelon and strawberries. Extra points for having big, plump moras (the local blackberry) on top.
The green salads were all simply done and nicely dressed. The yogurt was fine as well.
The potato salad was dressed with oil and like the other potato dishes, had nice flavor and texture. The quiche had a nice buttery crust and was good for buffet quiche.
The cucumber salad was fine but I wouldn’t go out of my way to order it. The Japanese noodle salad wasn’t that flavorful, just average noodles dressed with oil and a few sliced green onions tossed in.
BREAD AND DESSERTS
A - … Way above average: apple pie, brownie
B + … Very, very good: blackberry apple pie, scone
C + … Slightly above average: house-baked white bread
C … Average: plain zepelin
I don’t know how many times I’ve written that Guatemala is in a mid-20th century time warp. Antigua seems to focus on the 1970’s. In terms of desserts this is a great thing.
It is difficult in the United States to get classic American desserts. Either they are pimped up, deconstructed or tweaked with in some way or another.
Few grandmother’s in New England could make a finer, classic slice of apple pie than that at Café Condesa. The crust is buttery, the apples fresh and the right texture, not mushy or underbaked. The spicing perfect.
The blackberry apple was great too, but just not as good as the plain apple.
As to the brownie, I haven’t had one this good in a long time. There was rich chocolate flavor, a nice bit of frosting on top. It was chewy and cakey at the same time. Brownie classic.
Excellent classic English scone. This would be nice with a pot of the loose leaf tea.
The bread was ok, but not great. I’ve had a lot better zepelins, or tea cake/pound cakes, in Guatemala.
B + … Very, very good: coffee
B - … Very good: orange juice
C … Average: pu-ehr tea
The coffee was one of the best I’ve had to date. It was full of flavor and a medium strong roast. I’m reluctant to recommend it. I had a cup at their express café and that was weak and flavorless. So I’m not certain if the coffee is inconsistent here. However, the coffee at brunch was just fabulous and they did refills.
Good fresh oj, but just a tiny glass.
The pu-erh was a new item at the café. Either what I was served wasn’t pu-erh or at $1.50 a pot, you get what you pay for. It was nice enough tea, but there was nothing of the earthiness of pu-erh.
SERVICE: C + … Slightly above average
Service was prompt. Water was complementary and refilled on request. They were on top of things without being intrusive.
The only glitch was they had problems with my debit card which threw me into a panic as I was short on cash and it was Sunday and the banks were closed. Then I walked next door to the ATM and had no problem. So I don’t know if what was going on at the restaurant.
AMBIANCE: B - … Very good
It is a pretty enough patio even though it doesn’t match the level of some of the other restaurant patios in Antigua.
Brunch was nice … once. I’d probably go back for desserts and possibly the potatoes for breakfast.
re: free sample addict aka Tracy L
Did you eat anywhere while in Antigua?
When I return to the States sometime next year, I'll do a summary of what I liked best. Next year if you can go so it includes Nov 1st, All Saints Day, I highly recommend it for the giant kites
And the fiambre that is only served on that day
There was actually a better restaurant, Lo-Mix comedor, where I really, really wanted to try fiambre, but I screwed up the hours and missed it. Here's some terrific photos from Angtigua Daily Photo
The town with the giant kites had a really active street food scene, but I haven't even gotten around to uploading the photos on Flickr yet, let alone posting. The town was really big on black tortillas .... oh, yeah ... and the BEST-looking al pastor I have ever seen in my life. They were just slices of marinated meat that were stacked on a skewer ... not preformed like most of it is. Oh yeah, they had barbequed tamales which is the first time I saw that but I heard it is common.
re: free sample addict aka Tracy L
Was it La Posada de Don Rodrigo? Theres a lot of music and such, but that's the only place I know with a dance group. Does this look familiar?
The reason I ask is because it is on my to-try list for next week. I'll still go because I'm pretty hell-bent on trying every Antigüeña flan that is on a menu in the city ... love that stuff.
If it is the joint, then I'll just get the flan ... and maybe the longaniza ... someone said it was good there and I've yet to have longaniza that did anything for me in GT.
How was the dance troop?
I'm sorry I haven't responded sooner. I am in the middle of finals and have curbed my internet time. Yes, it was La Posada. The dance troop was very entertaining, my friends especially liked El Diablo. I had the loganiza it was ok, a little dry to my liking, but I don't have a lot to compare it to. Thanks for the link.