Antigua, GT: Rainbow Café – the only gold at the end of this rainbow is the banoffee pie
Sometimes times passes by a place.
Enter the restaurant through the attached bookstore. American and Guatemalan breakfasts are served … sort of. The tipco Guatemalan breakfast doesn’t include a salad like the Rainbow breakfast.
There are soups, salads, nachos, hummus, taboulah, quesadillas, Greek chicken, Cajun chicken, Israeli falafel and various vegetarian dishes. For dessert there is banoffee pie, brownies and carrot cake
Vegetables and greens are organically grown by Caoba Farms.
What is good about Rainbow is you can linger as long as you want and no one hints you should leave. Nurse that beer or coffee all day, if you like.
The bad … there is no reason to linger here all day.
The place is shabby. The staff is indifferent. The food is average … except for the banoffee pie … it is the only reason for this place to exist.
Other than the pie, the cold teas and drinks are the best bet. Shun the soup.
There is one electrical outlet … tough for you if you don’t snag it.
There’s free live music at night and on Tuesday some sort of lecture or event about Guatemala.
Usually the lecture involves a charity and a small donation is requested. I was there when a children’s group did some folk dances. They were charming.
There is a lunch special from noon – 2 pm that has a choice of soup and sandwich for 32 quetzales (about $4). Repeat, shun the soup.
Happy hour is from 5-7 and features small cuba libres, small Cuban mojitos, vodka, whiskey, tequila and beer.
Rainbow was opened in 1990, though my guess would have been the 60 - 70’s as it has a hippie vibe. It’s definitely a haven for gringos and not a Guatemalan hang out.
Here's what I had rated from A+ to F -
B + … Banoffee pie
C …… Hummus and pita
B - ..... Mexican chicken sandwich
D - …. Potato and leek soup
B - ..... Mint iced tea
B - ..... Cuban mojito
C …… House red wine
C - …. Coffee
Service: C … Average
Ambiance: C - … Slightly below average
Restaurant record with info such as address
Details in first reply.
RAINBOW CAFÉ DETAILS
BANOFFEE PIE: B + …Very, very good
This was amazingly good. The filling had the taste of milk caramels, only soft so it didn’t stick to your teeth A layer of fresh banana slices topped it and it was slathered with excellent whipped cream. This might have gotten a higher rating if the cookie crust wasn’t bordering on soggy It was a nice presentation with the plate dusted with cocoa.
HUMMUS AND PITA: C ... Average
The hummus was smooth. The warm pita was soft. They lacked flavor. It was truly forgettable.
MEXICAN CHICKEN SANDWICH: B -... Very good
Though there wasn’t anything outstanding, it was a good chicken sandwich which is difficult to find in Guatemala. It came with a nice enough salad of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and thin red onion slices dressed perfectly with vinaigrette It wasn’t Ranch dressing as the menu promised. There was no spicy coating on the chicken. The only Mexican element was the bagged corn chips and bland salsa fresca.
The lightly-toasted whole wheat bread was good, but I asked for a baguette.
POTATO AND LEEK SOUP: D - … Bordering on inedible
If the thought of drinking dishwater appeals, then this thin, grey, characterless soup is for you. One or two small pieces of soft potato and soft leek floated forlornly in it. I tried adding some hot sauce and it made it barely edible. In a country of great soups, this is inexcusable.
MINT ICED TEA: B -... Very good
Antigua is big on blending ice, mint, tea or juice to create a slushy type drink. This was tasty enough, but not the best I’ve had.
CUBAN MOJITO: B -... Very good
Very small. The glass was little bigger than those tiny glasses of oj restaurants serve. It was carelessly prepared, the outside of the glass sticky from sugar. The drink itself was fine.
HOUSE RED WINE: C ... Average
The small glass of Unduragga Cosecha, a Chilean red, was drinkable and fine for the price (about $3).
COFFEE: C - … Slightly below average
I had the coffee months ago while waiting for a visa appointment at the office next door. The coffee was memorably mediocre, bland and tasteless
SERVICE: C … Average
They come if waved over, but there is zero effort to do anything extra. The internet connection was being used by a couple who lingered for two hours and the response was … sorry, that’s all we have.
At a local chain, they let me use the plug at the bar. When I asked here, the answer was no, though there were extra connections there. Every time the blender whipped up a drink, it ticked me off.
It is the internet age. Surprisingly few restaurants in Antigua have outlets. This leaves dark, dingy internet cafes in a city of otherwise stunning beauty. It wouldn’t kill Rainbow to put in a few more outlets and it might increase business
AMBIANCE: C - … Slightly below average
My bad photos actually make the place look better than it is. It is very worn, but not in a good way. The furniture is rickety and uncomfortable.
The tables have baskets of condiments such as salt, sugar, pepper and Maya-ik hot sauce. The salt and pepper are little jars with no spoons. That means people dip their fingers in there. Ick.
The dance program was enjoyable. It is nice that Rainbow allows groups like this to entertain.
The only reason I’d go back is if there was a Tuesday lecture or event that interested me. All I would order is the banoffee pie. Other than that, there’s better food, beverages, ambiance and service elsewhere in Antigua … and some places even provide electrical outlets.