Antigua, GT: Hotel Palacio de Dona Leonor - 56 creative martinis … try the avocado and carnation
Dona Leonor is flat out my favorite in this category of restaurant, far outshining similar restaurants such as Panza Verde or Welten.
They use Caoba Farms organic produce. The coconut cake was luscious.
It also has the most creative cocktail list in town with no place even coming close. A few of the martini’s
- Cucumber, pineapple, gin, horchata
- Passion fruit, lemon, raspberry vodka, champagne
- Amarula *, vodka, pomegranate
- Star fruit, gin, sweet and sour
- Vodka and watermelon liquor
- Vodka, rosa de jamaica and strawberry liquor
* South African liqueur made from marula fruit
On Monday nights there is live music and a special price for martinis (45 quetzales – about $5.50 USD). The liquor pour is generous.
There is also an extensive tea menu with over 30 teas that are loose and not bagged. There are the standard black and green teas and some exotic blends such as nutella and strawberry … not sure how that would work, but it sounds creative.
The online menu for Dona Leonor looked unexciting, so this restaurant wasn’t high on my to-try list. They don’t have the martini menu online. However, I was lured by an ad in a tourist magazine for Monday musical martini night
I have not read a negative thing so far on the web either about the hotel or restaurant Trip Advisor reviews are mostly five stars with only a few four stars and nothing lower.
I wasn’t expecting much and was pleasantly surprised.
Here's what I had rated from A+ to F -
B + … Complementary foccacia with EVOO and balsamic vinegar
B + … Complementary bread and butter
B + … Coaba Farms greens with candied macadamia nuts and tequila-orange vinaigrette
B + … Shrimp Risotto
A - … Coconut cake with vanilla ice cream and pineapple sauce
A - … Avocado, vodka, carnation and goldschlager martini
B + … Chiltepe pepper, lemon and vodka martini
B + … Goldschlager, vodka and fresh mango martini
C + … Ginger and orange peel tea
Service: B + … Very, very good
Ambiance: B + … Very, very good
Restaurant record with more info such as address, phone, hours and menu
Flickr photostream with more pictures
As of this post, my photos are really bad. The light was low … mostly candlelit. The one good photo I had of the inviting, comfortable cocktail lounge, I accidentally deleted. I’m going to try to go back, so there might be better photos in the above link in the future.
Details in first reply.
HOTEL PALACIO DE DONA LEONOR DETAILS
COMPLEMENTARY FOCCACIA: B + … Very, very good
The two warm, soft, flavorful small slices of foccacia were topped with a sprig of rosemary. The extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar with parmesan cheese and red pepper was top-quality and was wonderful to dip the bread.
COMPLEMENTARY BREAD AND BUTTER: B + … Very, very good
Guatemalans like to toast their bread to over-crispness. My first bite I thought this was the case … but no, if only all bread was this good in Guatemala. This was everything that is usually wrong with bread in Guatemala, gone right.
The warm slice had a delicate, light, crisp crust. The soft white interior was almost light as a cloud. There was a prayer-like whisper of yeast. It was heavenly.
A bonus is that I think they served a special butter from Zacapa. It has that same dense texture, deep yellow color and intense-farm taste. A bonus was serving butter, period. That doesn’t happen often in Guatemala.
COABA FARMS GREENS: B + … Very, very good
The fresh lettuce was softly dressed with the vinaigrette. The flavor wasn’t obvious at first, but by the last bite the tequila-orange was more evident. The macadamia nuts were nicely toasted and coated. The fresh strawberries and tangerine were an unannounced surprise. This was a generous portion that could be shared by two. Coaba Farms is a top organic farm in Guatemala that supplies many of the better restaurants throughout the country.
SHRIMP RISOTTO: B + … Very, very good
A single whole shrimp rose from the sea of risotto studded with fresh peas. More shrimp were mixed into the rich, cheesy, buttery rice. This was the special that day and not on the regular menu.
COCONUT CAKE: A - … Way above average
In my humble hometown in New England, there was a great French pastry chef. In my entire life, I haven’t found anything to match his butter cream. I took one bite of the coconut cake and Fern Oulette and the decades-old memory of his baked goods immediately came to mind.
This was similar to Fern’s butter cream which was dense and not overly sweet. The vanilla cake was excellent and nicely complemented with the toasted coconut. The pool of fresh pineapple sauce was fresh tasting and pure, letting the fruit provide the sweetness. There was a similarly elegant dab of vanilla ice cream which had a crème fraiche quality to it. Little dark chocolate sauce garnishes contributed to the terrific taste.
An ultra-thin cinnamon crisp triangle completed the lovely dessert.
AVOCADO MARTINI: A - … Way above average
Not only was the avocado, smooth and perfectly ripe, but the other ingredients gave this a layered, complex flavor.
I’m not really sure what carnation means. There didn’t seem to be any flower and this didn’t seem to be Carnation condensed milk. Whatever it was, it was a nice compliment.
Goldschlager is a clear cinnamon liqueur flecked with tiny pieces of gold. It originated in Switzerland and is currently produced in Italy It was too dark for me to notice any gold, but the subtle cinnamon surprisingly added a nice note.
It was nicely garnished with fresh avocado.
For some reason the martinis are named after Spanish conquistadors. This was named for Pedro de Valdivia (1500 – 1554)
CHILTEPE PEPPER MARTINI: B + … Very, very good
Chiltepe peppers are a tiny pepper unique to Guatemala. I am a big fan of these fresh peppers that are little bigger than the head of a pin.
This was an intensely peppery-hot drink with a nice contrasting tang of fresh lemon. It was garnished with a chitepe pepper and twist of lemon peel.
FRESH MANGO MARTINI: B + … Very, very good
The goldschlager didn’t seem to add much to the mango martini, but it was still fresh and flavorful. A large piece of mango garnished the glass.
GINGER AND ORANGE PEEL TEA: C + … Slightly above average
There are points for the interesting tea menu and the fact that this was loose tea and not bagged. I’d go back and try some of the others, but I didn’t like this flavor much.
Looking at the tea basket there was dried orange peel mixed in with the red tea. It tasted dried … the ginger tasted powdered. There might have even been a touch of clove and I dislike that spice. This just wasn’t the tea for me.
SERVICE: B + … Very, very good
The service was professional, pleasant and prompt.
They had an English speaking waiter and he was excellent about answering questions and finding out the details I wanted to know.
They kept the dinner well-paced without hovering.
Both at Welten and Panza Verde the service was extremely slow. Panza Verde made a number of errors that a restaurant of that class should not make. The service here on my visit was flawless.
AMBIANCE: B + … Very, very good
This is a beautiful, elegant restaurant that is also inviting and comfortable.
There are pretty flowered table linens, white china and nice tableware. The check was presented in a lovely silver box. The Monday night music was two guitars playing romantic Latin music.
There is a small indoor dining room, but the choice seats surround the outdoor courtyard and fountain. The lounge with couches and bright colors is an inviting area.
This was a pleasant surprise.
In addition to being a great restaurant, it is located a half block from Central Park. Walk through the door and it is an oasis of beauty and tranquility.
I will definitely return, especially to take advantage again of martini Monday. Three martinis down … 53 to go.