Guatemalan cuisine is arguably the most complex, flavorsome and varied in all of Central America, and as the sprawling capital, Guatemala City is one of the best spots to sample it. Whether you’re looking to try some local delights, dig into a bowl of delicious vegetarian food or just want to sip a cup of freshly roasted coffee, Guatemala City has it all. Here are the best cafes and coffee shops in town.
Coffee enthusiasts need look no further than Café El Injerto, known to be the best coffee house in Guatemala City. Located in Zone 13, what makes Café El Injerto special is the fact that it uses its very own coffee. The El Injerto plantation in Huehuetenango is considered one of the top five coffee farms in the world, and it’s also the first plantation in Guatemala to be certified Carbon Neutral. While 90% of El Injerto’s produce is sold internationally, 10% is kept aside for the local market, and Café El Injerto is the place to try it. This recently remodelled coffee shop is a cosy space for coffee lovers to enjoy some of the best beans in the world (and the cakes and cookies aren’t half bad, either).
If you’re looking to read, work or study over a coffee, head to Watson Books And Coffee in Zone 16. Aside from having an excellent selection of coffee, Watson’s also has books aplenty. Part cafe, part book store, you can purchase books here as well as flick through the many volumes lying around. With a relaxed and quiet ambience, it’s a great place to bring your laptop if you need to work, but the cafe is also frequented by people meeting friends, business associates or just playing board games together. The bagels and smoothies are delicious, so it’s a fine spot for lunch too. The staff are warm and chatty and the friendly owner is often around, so if you have any Guatemala questions, be sure to ask!
Café Despierto is a trendy and creative cafe that offers innovative twists on classic dishes. This pretty, plant-filled space serves up a mouthwatering range of burgers, sandwiches, omelettes and pizzas, so it’s a great place to enjoy a quick but tasty lunch. Nutella lovers will be spoiled for choice too thanks to the abundance of Nutella-themed dishes; enjoy a Nutella pancake tower dessert, then wash it down with a refreshing Nutella Coffee Granita. Thanks to its chilled vibe, great coffee and comfy seats it’s a good spot to work in, too – there’s even a private room you can use for business meetings for no extra charge.
If you’re a veggie looking for a good but inexpensive lunch, head to Arbol de la Vida, Guatemala City’s original vegetarian restaurant. Though it first opened in 1974, Arbol de la Vida suffered a series of closures over the years due to unforeseen events, such as the devastating earthquake of 1976. However, since re-opening in 2003 this cafe has been thriving, and is one of the best spots in the city to enjoy a meat-free lunch. Choose from homemade soups, tasty quiches and delicious veggie burgers – with plenty of tofu and quinoa used in the dishes, this is one easy way to get a veggie protein fix that isn’t rice and beans. The salads are especially great; if in doubt, go for the ensalada de vida.
Las Cien Puertas (100 doors) is one of the oldest cafes in Guatemala City. Located in a colonial arcade (Pasaje Aycinena in Zona 1), nearly every inch of the old walls here are covered in graffiti, and new guests are welcome to sign their names and messages before leaving. In the daytime hours Las Cien Puertas is a great place to have a coffee with friends, but as night falls the vibe becomes more that of a bar than a coffee shop. Get here in the afternoon, then stay ’til late!