My source who has been giving me some of the best tips on where to eat locally, once again was on target. El Rancho is gold.
Cocales is a crossroad where many buses stop to connect to various locations in Guatemala. El Rancho is not the typical small town restaurant It is a surprise.
Located next to the Shell gas station, most of the tables are outdoors. The waiters are formally dressed in black pants and white shirts. The plating is startling. It was nicer than many restaurants in Antigua. Although the menu is in Spanish and English, I was the only non-Guatemalan in the place. Here’s a link to a discussion by locals from a few years ago. It is in Spanish
Fish and beef are what the restaurant’s specialties … especially the fish which is pulled live from a pool. It is quite the site to see the waiters with nets snag a fish. The fish is weighed. Price is by the pound.
They open at 6am and have a full breakfast menu available. The owners also run Hotel Toliman at Lake Atitlan.
Here's what we had rated from A+ to F -
A -: House-made cream cheese
A -: Complementary green hot sauce
B +: Carrot soup drizzled with crema
B +: Complementary tortillas
A: Garlic fried Tilapia with baked potato and mixed vegetables
Service: B +
Ambiance: B -
Here’s the Restaurant record with address, phone, hours and website.
I really wish I had photos, but a trip to the border required leaving anything worth more than a buck at home since the border guards have itchy fingers. I took some photos on my cell phone and may some day figure out how to download to my computer, but everything is in Spanish, so it will be quite a while, if ever.
Details are in the first reply.