AlkieGourmand | Mar 2, 201506:51 PM     4

I live in Los Angeles and spent four days in Antigua. I found the food good overall. Here are some thoughts about restaurants I tried.


This is the restaurant I'd most highly recommend, especially for lunch. The menu is big and interesting, with both Guatemalan dishes and Western dishes. The food is good overall. But what sets the restaurant apart is the spacious garden setting.

I tried three classic Guatemalan poultry stews: pepián, jocón, and gallina en chica. All were served with a dense, unstuffed tamale and sliced avocado; the pepián also came with indigo-colored tortillas. The pepián was fabulous and easily my favorite of the three. Also very good was the gallina en chica. The jocón was bland to my tastes, but good nonetheless.

From the Western part of the menu, the zucchini carpaccio and grilled portobello mushrooms were both very good

Service is a little slow, but friendly and responsive. Plan on a long, relaxed lunch here.

La Gastroteca

This is a traditional Spanish restaurant that opened a few months ago. The gregarious chef, who was born in Spain, told me he trained as a chef for many years in Basque Country.

This restaurant served the best and most serious food I ate in Antigua. Every dish was just right (albeit very traditional). Especially great was the fideuà.

There was a decent selection of Spanish wines (but no sherry). No bar. The place could use more liveliness. A tapas bar would seem more fitting to Antigua.

Bistro Cinq

This lively French bistro would fit well into any any upscale neighborhood in the USA. I enjoyed most dishes I ate here, especially trout amandine and duck dumplings. The dumplings--al dente and crispy--were particularly impressive. The tarte tatin, on the other hand, was a letdown, because the crust tasted undercooked and grainy.

The bar is stocked with a small, well-chosen selection of spirits and classic European aperitifs. The bar is most notable for its selection of about eight absinthes. It is fun to watch the bartenders perform the absinthe ritual (including flaming the sugar).

Dinner at the bar here was my favorite meal in Antigua. (I know: I've now identified three different restaurants for most recommended, best food, and favorite meal.)

Toko Baru

This is a funky, eclectic little restaurant that one would expect to find in Berkeley, California. It seems to be very popular with locals, who struck me as retired hippies. One person told me it was the "best food in town" when I was perusing the menu.

The menu is mostly Middle Eastern, but also has Indonesia dishes (rendang, etc.). The owner is from Holland, so it makes some sense.

I ordered a falafel sandwich. I found it wholesome and high quality, but I couldn't fully enjoy it due to the dry, whole-grain pita. I had similar impressions of the homemade "potato chips," which were more like thick potato wedges.

Service was very friendly. Atmosphere was good.

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