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Apr 3, 2012 04:53 PM

Antigua, GT: Metiz Delicatessen Frances--Excellent cheeses, cured meats, and the best rillettes I've ever had

This is a new French deli, opened at the end of 2011. It’s located at 4a Avenida Sur No.1, just half a block south of the Cathedral off Parque Central. The owner, Bernard, a young Parisian expat, is very happy to give you samples of the cured meats and cheeses. Most people seem to be buying sandwiches, and he has a quite an impressive list. But I go for the superb imported prosciutto and simply outstanding house-made and jarred pork and duck rillettes. I’ve never had better rillettes anywhere, not even in Paris.

There’s only one table in the shop so this more of a takeaway than eat-in place. But there is no better place in town for putting together a little picnic basket. Cheeses and meats vary, depending on what he’s been able to buy locally as well as import. But everything I’ve tried has been good to superb. Especially those rillettes. Not cheap, at least not by Guatemalan standards. But worth every quetzal.

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    1. re: Hungry Celeste

      Sorry, I don't. I usually went in the early afternoon.

      1. re: JoanN

        Metiz is a compact little spot; didn't try a sandwich, though the deli case was filled with imported stuff. The counter clerk was friendly. Also has a small selection of teas, chocolates, and a small freezer case w/macarons, ice creams, etc.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. A heads up that Metiz Delicatessen has moved a couple of blocks north to 4 Avenida Norte No. 4. I hear that they have expanded their menu considerably, and with more room, they have more seating. I'll be back in March of '14 and am very much looking forward to trying some of their new offerings.

        29 Replies
        1. re: JoanN

          I'm thinking about visiting Antigua towards the end of May for a week and staying at Soleil La Antigua. Can someone give me some feedback about how safe it is to walk there at night by myself from city center? And suggestions for places to eat and drink. I'm not a coffee/breakfast person so just lunch/dinner recommendations as well as English friendly bars. Although I'll be on vacation, I don't want to pack on weight. I prefer seafood and avoid starches, but I'm not averse to eating weird things. I think I'll spend considerable time at the market so suggestions that won't upset stomachs would be greatly appreciated.

          1. re: Worldwide Diner

            I spend two to three months in Antigua every spring and feel perfectly safe, as a single, older, woman, walking around the center of town at night. That said, Soleil La Antigua is right on the edge of town. I’m sure it would be safe up to the hotel, but begins to be less safe heading southwest past it. A lot depends on how much bar hopping you intend to do and how late at night you plan on returning to your hotel. I wouldn’t want to go staggering back to that location at 2:00 a.m. after hanging out at the mezcal bar all night.

            You’ve probably already discovered that if you search this board for “Antigua, GT” you’ll find dozens of recommendations for where to eat, fewer for where to drink. Restaurants and bars open and close frequently, so some places may no longer exist. But most of the standbys, Hectors, Sobremesa, Bistro Cinq, Epicure, and Sabe Rico are all still there as are the high end hotel restaurants, and you should be able to find healthy meals at all of them although there may be only a single fish dish on the menu. Never been, but Rainbow Cafe offers a number of vegetarian options. For fish and seafood I would specifically check out Izakaya and the hole-in-the-wall ceviche place on the Roman Road, north of the mercado, at about 1st Calle. Hugo’s Ceviche started out as a cart just south of the mercado, and they may still have one there, although there is now also a brick-and-mortar restaurant.

            As for bars, there are probably three on every block and a lot depends on what you’re looking for. Some tend to be frequented by the older ex-pat crowd, others by the young language students. Cafe Sky has great views, but lousy mixed drinks and I’d stick with beer. The roof of El Sereño is lovely at sunset, also with great views, but it’s more of a romantic spot for cocktails and doesn’t draw a crowd. Ocelot, Michos, and Reilly’s are all bar hangouts. Mono Loco is a North American-style sports bar that tends to draw a younger crowd, and a very noisy and enthusiastic one when there’s a Barça game on. I hear there are a number of new or renamed bars on the block of the arch that have become quite popular in the short time they’ve been open.

            The mercado: I shop there all the time, but I’m not sure what you’d be looking for since you’re staying in a hotel. You’re not planning on doing any cooking, are you? If it’s just fruit and vegetables you’re looking for, you can buy a disinfectant at Bodegona, the supermarket. I believe the brand they carry is Microdyn. I either peel the fruit and vegetables or wash them in the disinfectant and have never had a problem. The only thing I’d avoid at the mercado is the prepared food; even most of the locals I know don’t trust that.

            1. re: JoanN

              I was hoping to try the prepared food at the mercado, but I wasn't sure if I should. You just crushed my dreams, thanks dream crusher.

              I doubt I'll be out drinking past 10 p.m. Btw, are there casinos or sports books in Guatemala?

              1. re: Worldwide Diner

                The type of prepared food you'd find in the mercado can be found being sold from carts in front of La Merced on the weekends and from people who sell such things as tamales and tacitos from their doorways. That, I eat. Just not the food from the mercado where it's been sitting out, surrounded by flies, for who knows how long. You also might check out La Cuevita de Urquizu, which used to be strictly street food but has become somewhat gentrified, touristy, and considerably more expensive over the past few years.

                No casinos in Antigua and I have no idea what a sports book is. I believe the only casino is in Guatemala City, but I've never been and know nothing about it.

                1. re: JoanN

                  Thanks for the recommendations. Should I spend an entire week at Antigua, or should venture around?

                  Btw, Soleil la Antigua is part of RCI's timeshare exchange. So I can stay the entire week at no additional cost, but is it worth it to spend a night or two in Guatemala City, for sightseeing, eating, etc.?

                  1. re: Worldwide Diner

                    No need to spend any time in the capital, but it would be a shame to visit Guatemala without visiting Lake Atitlan (I'd add Tikal, but that's probably more of a time commitment than you'd want to make). The lake is spectacular. You could spend a night in one of the villages or in Panajachel. The food scene in Pana isn't all that interesting. The most popular hangout, with both locals and ex-pats, is The Circus Bar: pizza, pasta, live music, and good drinks.

                    1. re: JoanN

                      I can say something douchey like I've been to Chichen Itza and if you've seen one pyramid you've seen them all. The truth is Tikal is a hike. The trip involves getting picked up at the hotel at 4 a.m. I have to think long and hard about whether I want to do it. I'll have to look into Lake Atitlan. I've been to Peru twice but I never made it to Lake Titicaca.

                    2. re: Worldwide Diner

                      I love Antigua, a week should be enough there. I agree that you should see Panajachel and Lake Atitlan, we stayed at the Villa Sumaya there and it was great. Also visit Chichicastanango, it is a very interesting place and the Santo Tomas Hotel there is a lovely place to stay, what with its parrots and marimbas!

                      1. re: Worldwide Diner

                        I personally find Guatemala City an ugly and congested city and not particularly safe at night. I suppose you could spend a night there as it will be easy to get to the airport but I can't really recommend it.

                  2. re: JoanN

                    I just booked my trip. I will be there the week of Memorial Day. Maybe you can give me an update on where to go eat after your trip. Price is not important and I'll eat anything that's good. I won't stick to seafood if there's only one fish dish. I remember eating the same fish dish years ago when I was in Costa Rica. What was good on day 1 got really tedious by day 3. I don't normally eat bread and potatoes but I'll eat good pasta. I also inevitably crave stir fried vegetables because I love greens (either Chinese of Thai).

                    1. re: Worldwide Diner

                      Trip is next Sat. I'm going to spend two nights in Pana. I'm hoping for an update on the restaurant scene?

                      Favorite restaurant for local food?

                      1. re: Worldwide Diner

                        Not a lot of options in Pana. Circus Bar is about the only show in town. Good breakfasts, though, at the cafe at the very end of Santander (closest to the lake). The name is escaping me at the moment.

                        1. re: JoanN

                          Your personal favorites in Antigua (regardless of cost and ambiance), and dishes you'd recommend?

                          1. re: Worldwide Diner

                            Izakaya: 6 Avenida Norte, #19A. Japanese Izakaya using local ingredients; superb; sit at the bar, tell them what you like, and ask them to help you decide.

                            Hector’s: 1st calle, across from La Merced. Duck breast, steak or steak sandwich, French fries (either traditional or sweet potato)

                            Sobremesa: 4th calle Oriente #4A. good salads, pastas, pizza, steak; ice cream parlor around the corner owned by same owner; exotic flavors.

                            Epicure: 3rd Avenida Norte, #11B. Lovely back garden; very varied menu.

                            39 Azul: 6th Calle Poniente #39. High end; lovely atmosphere; food often terrific, but service can be erratic

                            Pappy’s BBQ: 6th Calle Poniente #21. BBQ from a Texan who knows BBQ; open Thurs thru Sun; he closes when the food runs out, so get there early; a couple of small tables; good for takeout

                            Micho’s: 4th calle Oriente #10. Fun bar up front; seating in the back in the courtyard; gastropub food; a little too much like what I can get at home, but local friends rave about it.

                            El Cazador Italiano: 3rd Avenida Norte, #18; another local favorite; Italian (obviously); good pastas and pizzas, lasagna, gnocchi.

                            SabeRico: 6th Avenida Sur #7. Most beautiful garden in Antigua (go up the stairs on your left); huge menu with lots of healthy choices and a number of local dishes; excellent pepian; great liquados

                            La Canche: 6th Avenida Norte #43 (across from La Merced). Sqeeze behind the counter of the tienda and find yourself in a grandmothers’ kitchen with two communal tables. They’ll bring you whatever they’re serving that day, usually pepian. Sometimes there’s a choice of chicken or beef; sometimes not; they make a terrific guacamole. Last time I was there, lunch was about $1.25.

                            Bistro Cinq: 4th Calle Oriente #7. Fairly typical French Bistrot menu, all very well done. Nice atmosphere.

                            Cevice place (no idea what the name is) on the road in front of the mercado up around 1st calle. Good variety; very fresh fish and shellfish.

                            La Cuevita de Urquizu: 2nd Calle Oriente #9-D. Local food served cafeteria style; pricier than it used to be, but good choice for comida tipica.

                            Meson Panza Verde: 5th Avenida Sur #19. High end hotel. Good fish. Live music.

                              1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                I have no idea, but I'm quite certain Blake has a Web site. You could look it up.

                                1. re: JoanN

                                  Thanks. 11 am. I had dinner at Hector last night. Izakaya is closed until the 28th so I will go later this week. Today I will brunch at Meson Panza Verde and dinner at Sabe Rico or El Sereno?

                                  1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                    Never had a meal at El Sereno, just drinks upstairs on the terrace, so can't comment on the food.

                                    1. re: JoanN

                                      Sabe Rico was closed tonight do I went to Don Rodrigo. The enchilada was covered with beets!

                                      1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                        Yes, that's how enchiladas are often made in Guate.

                                        1. re: JoanN

                                          Did an A La Carta tour - $65 to check out the nursery on 5 ave sur (just past meson Panza verde), sample some sweets at a candy shop, and then wonder the market. There were many herbs and flowers that I did not recognize but not that many fruits that I did not recognize. I tried a Chico, and a Central American lychee. Included in the price is lunch at Porta hotel of typical foods - pepian, taquito, tostada, etc.

                                          Dinner was at Bistro Cinq. Delicious duck confit was followed by a doughy squid ink fettuccine with overcooked shrimp. Off to Pana today.

                                          1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                            Good idea to take a tour--especially for the mercado. It can be difficult to find your way around until you get to know it.

                                            Are those fruits marzipan candies? From Doña Maria Gordillo, by any chance? Great shop. I always bring friends there, even if they're not interested in buying anything.

                                            This past year I made an effort to try a number of fruits I had been unfamiliar with: chico zapote, caimito, jocote.

                                            Enjoy Pana. Nowhere near as food centric, but it has other delights.

                                            1. re: JoanN

                                              Those fruits are candies but the shop is el sombrero or something like that.

                                              1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                Oh my god, Hotel Atitlan is beautiful. Too bad I'm staying in town. I had some ceviche, not bad but not like Peru.

                                                1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                  Thanks for the heads up on Dulces el Sombrerón. Must have passed it dozens of times but never stopped in.

                                2. re: JoanN

                                  On my first night in Pana I went to Circus for pizza. It was decent, so I ate half of a medium pizza, which left me room to try the foie gras torchon at Chez Alex on Santander (not to be confused with Chef Alex on Principal which sells cheap steaks) and some Jamon Serrano. The foie gras is imported from France, made of goose liver rather than duck. A nice treat. The ham was probably imported as well.

                                  On my second night I went to Parrillada Guajimbo. I had the combo platter for 2, which had chicken, pork chop, steak, and 2 different sausages. I sampled each a bit, nothing exciting and the leftovers were given to a passing child to take home.

                                  Upon returning to Antigua, I went to Izakaya. I had their tiradito, veggie tempura, and beef tataki. The fish and beef were amazing. The veggie tempura were undercooked and not crispy. The chef/owners were nice, but I was the only diner so I had their full attention.

                                  1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                    Great info. I hope that you write (copy/paste) the Pana part of this up in a separate post with "Panajachel" in the headline, since those searching for info on Pana are unlikely to find it here on a thread specifically about Metiz Deli in Antigua.

                                    1. re: JoanN

                                      Pappy's is expanding! They will be open 7 days a week and all day starting next week. There are more tables and a bar. Excellent ribs, and decent brisket. Unfortunately it's lean brisket. Moist brisket being unavailable on the type of cows here. Cheap, by comparison to TX, dirt cheap by comparison to Hill Country BBQ in DC/NY.

                                      1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                        Wonderful news. Blake has been very smart about building his business. I'm not at all surprised. Agree about the brisket. But pork in Guate is as it used to be here in the States and, sadly, no longer is.