Surrounded by rolling highlands and full of elegant colonial architecture, Antigua is one of the most beautiful destinations in Guatemala
. It is also an exceptional culinary hub, with some wonderful local restaurants to discover; we list 10 of the best.
Angie Angie Café Arte
A relative newcomer to Antigua’s cultural restaurant scene, Angie Angie is an Argentinian-style restaurant featuring a theater, live music and puppet shows on Friday nights. The international menu is visibly influenced by Italian and Argentinian cuisines, with dishes such as spinach ravioli with Gorgonzola and mushroom sauce. Nonetheless, the specialty of the house remain the tapas, cooked up in various combinations; picante meatballs, shrimp cooked in olive oil, garlic, white wine and salsa, or beef and chorizo, spiced up with the vibrant flavors of chili, tomato and orange.
Angie Angie Café Arte, Primera Avenida Sur 11A Antigua, Guatemala +502 7832 3352
Restaurant, Contemporary, Fusion, Healthy, French, Italian, Spanish, $$$
Located close to the heart of Antigua, Sobremesa is an art gallery-restaurant hybrid, and home to many contemporary works of art, including the paintings of the restaurant’s chef and owner, Alex Ferrar. As its motto Degustando el Arte (‘Tasting Art’) suggests, Sobremesa mixes fine art with fine dining, offering its visitors a varied international menu influenced by French, Italian and Spanish cuisines. Sobremesa is also renowned for its diverse, and carefully curated, collection of ice cream; exciting flavors range from jasmine blackberry and apple chipotle to merlot strawberry and coffee rum walnut.
Sobremesa, 4a Calle Oriente, Antigua, Guatemala +502 78323231 and +502 4352 2792
The central theme of this lively venue is the life and work of the fascinating Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. The restaurant’s owners (and great fans of Frida’s work) initially decorated the dining space with their own collection of posters and reproductions of the artist’s paintings. On the menu are Mexican specialties such as tacos, nachos or enchiladas, as well as delicious chicken and beef dishes. Though it serves solid, hearty fare, Frida’s is most famous for its exquisite margaritas and regular live music events, making it very popular among locals and tourists alike.
Restaurante Fridas, 5a Avenida Norte Calle del Arco 29 Antigua, Guatemala, +502 7832 1296
Messón Panza Verde
The elegant Messón Panza Verde is one of the most acclaimed restaurants in Guatemala, having won the Tenedor de Oro, a prize awarded to the best dining venues in the country. With impressive vaulted ceilings, mahogany antiques and evocative paintings, the venue has a chic atmosphere which blends seamlessly with innovative ‘international cuisine with a twist’. Delicacies such as consommé with Mayan herbs or coq au vin crown the eclectic, carefully composed selection of dishes. Messón Panza Verde is also well known for its wine collection and live music nights animated by New Orleans blues, classic or Cuban jazz.
Messón Panza Verde, 5a Avenida No. 19, Antigua, Guatemala, +502 7955 8282
Palacio Doña Leonor Restaurant
Located in the heart of the city, in a 16th century colonial house, the Palacio Doña Lenor is a natural extension of any outdoor sightseeing experience. A piece of living history, the venue tells the romantic story of Doña Leonor, a princess of Asturias, through its restored architecture and décor. The restaurant offers a selection of local and international dishes, with specialties such as jumbo shrimp tempura lightly fried with a Thai sauce taking center stage. Each meal is complimented by live music and an excellent choice of wines. Don’t skimp on desserts such as the moist coconut cake served with vanilla gelato.
Palacio Doña Leonor Restaurant, 4a Calle Oriente Casa No.8, Antigua, Guatemala +502 7962 0202
Rainbow Café & Bookshop
Fusing great books with fresh food, excellent service and NGO lectures on the social problems faced by Central America, Rainbow Café is a Guatemalan establishment in the truest sense of the word. The intimate venue proves that enjoying a simple lunch can give its guests a deep understanding of the culture of Antigua and Guatemala. Rainbow Café specializes in sandwiches and soups made with fresh ingredients from the local markets, as well as instantly recognizable dishes such as melted mozzarella quesadillas, chicken fajitas or typical Antiguan breakfasts.
Rainbow Café & Bookshop, 7a Avenida Sur No.8, Antigua, Guatemala +502 7832 1919
Las Palmas is a Cuban-themed venue decorated with hand-crafted artifacts, bright paintings, and colorful vintage furniture. The menu includes wonderful dishes such as the succulent rack of lamb with red wine sauce served, delicate fish fillet in lime and coriander and Cuban plantain with Guatemalan guacamole. A popular dine-and-dance spot in Antigua, Las Palmas attracts crowds of locals to its live bossa and Cuban music, buzzing salsa nights, and film screenings.
Las Palmas, 6a Avenida Norte No. 14, between 4a and 5a Calle, Antigua, Guatemala +502 7832 9734
Restaurant, Swiss, European
A somewhat unusual choice for a dining spot in the heart of Central America, Café Teatro is nonetheless a local favorite specializing in dishes normally associated with Swiss skiing resorts. Creamy fondue, tender meats and a distinctly Swiss atmosphere make Café Teatro a valued addition to the El Sitio cultural center, where the restaurant is located. Additionally, the Swiss owner has imported a number of French-language books and board games for the guests. With its sociable atmosphere and homey simplicity, Café Teatro is certainly one of the most original dining spots in Antigua.
Café Teatro, 5a Calle Poniente no. 15, inside Centro Cultural El Sitio, Antigua, Guatemala +502 7832 1664
Antigua Guatemala, San Francisco Church │© Pelonmaker/Shutterstock