Antigua, GT: Pangea
We dined at Pangea and were introduced to Chef Neil on a gorgeous night in February 2011. We stopped by earlier in the day to make sure that they could accommodate 8 people. The server stated that this would be no problem and that he would be happy to set the table up for us right now. It was only 3pm and we weren't planning on returning until 7pm or so. We explained this but he insisted on getting the table ready for us. We were happy but it made us a little nervous. Were they that desperate for business?
It didn't matter. We returned that evening and sat at the table that was specially set up for us. There were a number of other diners who were obviously enjoying their food and we were happy to sit back, enjoy the live music, and join them. We ordered wine, appetizers, and entrees.
My radicchio, prosciutto, and fig salad was tasty as was my husbands similar flat bread. For an entree I had the blue cheese pasta topped with steak. The steak was perfectly mid rare. I was almost expecting a heavy cream sauce but was happy with the lighter pasta that Neil prepared.
My friend was pleasantly surprised that the coconut shrimp was not your standard fried affair that we might expect in the States but rather a sauteed dish served with rice and salad. She loved her meal and her husband also thought the filet of beef was delicious.
This is certainly a restaurant to visit if you are spending any time in Antigua. Here are some photos:
And the website:
The restaurant offers a 3, 5 or 7 course chef’s tasting menu with wine pairings or a choice of wine flights. It is not currently advertised but available on request. The tasting menu will get you a mint intermezzo, a slushy like palate cleanser.
The food is delicious, creative and beautifully presented, often strewn with edible flowers and herbs such as blue borage. Much of the produce is organic and comes from Caoba farms which is just outside of Antiga
Chef/owner Neil Craig moved from Oregon to Antigua with a friend and helped start El Pescador Italiano before moving on to open Pangea.
Here's what I had rated from A+ to F -
B …... Bruschetta Neil
B …... Baby Spinach with Strawberries, Oranges, toasted Almonds and Balsamic Vinaigrette
B + … Mint, orange and cilantro intermezzo
B + … Filet Mignon, Cilantro Jalapeño Béarnaise, Avocado mashed Potatoes, Ginger Snap Peas
B + … Avocado Crème Brulee
B + … Wine flight
C …... Cimarrona
Service: B - … Very good
Ambiance: B - … Very good
Restaurant record with more info such as address, phone, hours and menu
Flickr photostream with more pictures
Details in next reply
BRUSCHETTA NEIL: B … Above average
Toasted baguette slices were topped with blue cheese, grapes, walnuts and basil and garnished with pretty blue and white borage blossoms. The plate was finished with drops of balsamic vinegar. It was a light, lovely appetizer that was beautifully presented.
BABY SPINACH SALAD: B … Above average
Everything was perfectly fresh, perfectly presented and perfectly delicious. The salad included sliced strawberries, orange segments and toasted almonds.The salad was nicely dressed with balsamic vinaigrette.
MINT, ORANGE AND CILANTRO INTERMEZZO: B + … Very, very good
The mint-green drink topped with an orange flower was a lovely, refreshing palate cleanser, perhaps a take on the slushy version of a granizada.
FILET MIGNON, CILANTRO JALAPEÑO BÉARNAISE: B + … Very, very good
This was everything good about filet mignon. The beef was almost fork tender and full of flavor. Jalepeno added interest to the béarnaise sauce without overwhelming it with heat. The avocado mashed potatoes were delicious with the avocado adding richness and pretty color. Ginger snap peas that were bright in color and taste, nicely completed the dish.
AVOCADO CRÈME BRULEE: B + … Very, very good
Very smooth, elegant and beautifully plated with edible flowers. The avocado gave it the texture without dominating the flavor. I hope to return and try this again with the suggested liquor pairing, which if I recall correctly, was rum.
WINE FLIGHT: B + … Very, very good
There’s an option to match the tasting menu with wine. It was a nicely done pairing and the wine glasses were a step up from most Guatemalan restaurants. The pours were generous.
CIMARRONA: C … Average
The rating on this may be unfair because this is a drink I don’t like in general. It is lemonade, but instead of being made with sugar it is made with salt … yeah … exactly how you might imagine it tastes.
I’ve done some searching on this drink, but haven’t come up for any reason why it exists. I couldn’t finish it. I did have another at another restaurant … I forgot I had it here. That was not so salty, and while it didn’t win me over, I was able to finish it.
So this is more of a warning for anyone who might order the drink rather than a comment on this particular version. It may not be everyone’s glass of lemonade.
SERVICE: B - … Very good
The knowledgeable service was prompt, pleasant and professional. The young chef was very good about answering questions and talking about food in general. That is where I first learned about Caoba Farms which provides produce to many of the better restaurants and markets in Guatemala.
The tasting menu at this point is pretty much your choice of selections from the regular menu. A more traditional tasting menu was attempted, but Guatemalans complained about the small portions and didn't get on board with the concept. It is available if you ask.
AMBIANCE: B - … Very good
Pangea shares a pretty courtyard with other restaurants. There are some pleasant outdoor tables and stylish indoor dining room. The mirrored wall at the back of the restaurant has comfortable red and off-wite striped banquet. There are handsome rosewood tables with tan upholstered chairs and abstract paintings on the the walls.
While it describes itself as a fusion restaurant, I think it falls more in the category of Contemporary American cuisine.
That being said, I didn't sample more of the fusiony dishes such as Curry Alfredo, classic Alfredo sauce infused with curry. Still, it leans less towards fusion and more on the side of New American. Given the location, that would be New Central American.
I like this restaurant very much for the creative, delicious food that is beautifully presented. I hope to return before leaving Guatemala.