7 Unique Restaurants in Antigua, Guatemala
Cobblestone streets, pastries, handicraft markets, crumbling churches, chilly nights, and erupting volcano’s are just a few words to describe Antigua, Guatemala. Being one of the most popular tourist destinations in Guatemala, you’ll find more than enough activities to keep you occupied while you visit this former capital of Guatemala. There are more hostels than you can count, and probably double the bars. Everywhere you look you’ll discover a place you didn’t notice the first time. Food here ranges from typical Guatemala eats in somewhat questionable sanitation conditions to fancy 3 course meals at designer restaurants. As a backpacker you might be slightly surprised by the cost of food and drink in Antigua. You just have to know what to look for however, which is why we have created this article on ‘7 Unique Restaurants in Antigua, Guatemala’. The list is not in any particular order. If you’ve traveled to Antigua and came across a unique restaurant you think we missed, make sure to let fellow travelers know in the comments below.
#1- Rincon Tipico
This restaurant ranks top on our list for local, authentic, Guatemalan food. Here you have three choices of meals, no more, no less. When you walk through the doors you’ll find a woman cooking fresh corn tortillas and a colorfully decorated open garden area filled with tables. You won’t be given a menu here – they don’t have one. The servers speak Spanish only, so make sure to brush up on your food words in Spanish before arriving. The server will tell you the three dishes of the day that they have, and they all cost around 30 Q ($4 USD) which includes either coffee or water as well at breakfast, and Hibiscus tea at lunch. Don’t expect 5-star service here. You may wait 5 or 10 minutes before a server even notices you’ve sat down, but once you have ordered the food will arrive within minutes. Typical breakfast dishes here include chili relleno (served with black bean puree) or scrambled eggs with tomato sauce, queso, and black bean puree. All meals come with a basket of fresh corn tortillas. At lunchtime they are famous for their ‘pollo plate’ which consists of roasted chicken and potatoes. All of these reasons above are why we named Rincon Tipico one of the 7 unique restaurants in Antigua, Guatemala.
Located on the corner of 6a Calle Oriente and 3 Avenida Sur, nearby the Park Tanque la Union.
#2 – Ta’Cool
Not only does this restaurant have a fun name, but there are two locations in Antigua. At first glance you might think this restaurant is a chain, but don’t be fooled. Ta’Cool has a limited menu, but that’s no problem because everything they serve is spectacular. The main excitement here is the 4 soft tacos or the 3 hard tacos with a filling of your choice. Choose from a number of different meat fillings including ‘pollo pibil’, or stick to vegetarian if you wish (a pile of roasted vegetables including zucchini and eggplant, topped with pico and lettuce). Each dish is served with cilantro, pico de gallo, diced white onions, lime, and 3 different sauce (avocado, garlic and chipotle, and extra hot). The tacos here were so good we might even suggest they were better than most tacos we ate in Mexico. The food is served fast (and eaten fast!) and the prices are reasonable. The 4 corn soft tacos will cost you 36 Q ($5 USD) and the 3 hard shell tacos 39 Q. They have several options for main course dishes, appetizers, and dishes to be served for two people. The tacos were so out of this world however that we never made it to the other choices. Beer available as well.
Ta’Cool’s Taco Shop (our preference) is located on the corner of 6a Avenida Norte and Poniente. The larger restaurant, solely named “Ta’Cool” is located between 3a Avenida Norte and 2a Avenida Norte, on Poniente.
#3 – Toko Baru
This choice for our top 7 unique restaurants in Antigua won’t be a shock to you if you’ve already checked out TripAdvisor’s choices. It ranks close to the top, with fresh 5-star reviews daily. After eating so much typical Guatemalan food on your travels you’re likely to need a break. Toko Baru provides that, by serving up authentic Indian and Middle Eastern foods. The place is guaranteed to be packed with people, so make sure you give yourself some time in case there is a wait. Authentic food ranging from curries to sandwiches to platters. ‘Madras’ curry was a highlight here, as well as the vegetarian falafel platter. They make a homemade peanut sauce that can be ordered on the side, which is a perfect dressing for the fresh vegetables served with the platters. Each dish is served with three sauces, homemade garlic raita, fruit sauce, and an intense spicy pepper sauce. Homemade hibiscus tea (Jamaica) is a perfect combination to the spicy food. They also have a unique selection of craft and German beers, stored in a large refrigerator in the middle of the restaurant that customers were helping themselves to.
Located convienently next to our next choice ‘Cafe Sky’ on 1a Avenida Sur, across from 6a Calle Oriente.
#4 – Cafe Sky
Normally this type of restaurant wouldn’t make our list for backpackers on a budget, because it’s not too cheap. No matter what your budget is, you should splurge however just to sit on the rooftop terrace and watch the sunset over Volcan Acatenango and Volcan de Fuego. If you’re lucky (which you most likely will be), Volcan de Fuego will be erupting in the distance as you take your perfect photographs. From the rooftop of Cafe Sky you have a view over Antigua, all 3 volcanoes, and the breathtaking mountain ranges that surround Antigua. The menu here is large, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Not expensive by US standards (especially with the view) but a little high for most backpackers. Order a beer or special cocktail however and enjoy the sunset. Make sure to get there about 1 hour before sunset or you will not find a seat!
Extra tip: Hike up to Cerro de la Cruz around 3:30pm and enjoy the best views of Antigua and Volcan de Fuego erupting in the distance. Start making your way back down around 4:30pm and head towards Cafe Sky in time for the sunset. You’ll be ready for a drink by then!
Located next to Toko Baru, on 1a Avenida Sure, across from 6a Calle Oriente.
#5 – The Bagel Barn
We had to add a breakfast and coffee joint on here somewhere! To be honest, our first choice was to stop by ‘Mama Joe’s Breakfast’, located across the street because of the high reviews on TripAdvisor. Mama Joe’s is an extremely small place with only space for around 8 people, so we weren’t surprised to find it packed to capacity each morning. This brought us into ‘The Bagel Barn’ and we’re glad it did. Here they have all the coffee choices you could imagine, including a very unique non-caffeinated choice, the Cafe Maya Nut, a traditional specialty in Guatemala (highly recommended). The menu is extensive and each day they offer special deals, such as 2 for 1 bagel platters or the free coffee with your breakfast purchase deal. They make fresh and delicious smoothies, as well as homemade Kombucha. The bagel sandwich platters cost around 36 Q ($5 USD) but they’re so big you won’t need to eat again until dinner. Find their full menu here. They have ultra-fast wifi (unlike most places in Antigua) and perfect tables for setting up your computer and getting some work down. At night they play movies on a large pull down screen.
Located on the corner of 5a Avenida Norte and 5a Calle Poniente, near Parque Central.
#6 – Juancho Ming Antigua
Antigua gets quite chilly at night, so you might be looking for a place to warm you up. Juancho Ming Antigua is the perfect choice. We would call this place a Chinese Dumpling house. Here you will find homemade dumplings with stuffing of your choice (meat or vegetarian) and enormous bowls of soup. Dumplings are served with a delicious homemade peanut sauce and a cabbage salad. They have many entree options for soups, stir-fried vegetables, and stir-fried noodles. The famous dish here is their soup made with homemade dumplings, in a super rich mushroom and ginger broth. Locally brewed craft beer from Antigua is served on tap here, including a blond ale and a stout. Juancho Ming is a perfect break from traditional Guatemalan eats.
Located between 4a Avenida Sur and 3a Avenida Sur, along 6a Calle Oriente.
#7 – Travel Menu
A unique name for sure, the first time we walked past this small restaurant we thought it was a travel agency. Travel Menu has some of the cheapest international food in town served in a cozy, vintage atmosphere. You might even get a drink coupon for an even cozier bar next door, ‘The Snug’. A small menu is served here with dishes such as Shepard’s Pie and veggie burgers – make sure to try their homemade potato crisps! Happy hour with 2 for 1 specials ends at 5pm so get started early! If you’re looking for a place serving Thanksgiving Dinner in Antigua, Guatemala – this is your place. For only 85 Q ($12 USD), they serve up a plate of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables, and cranberry sauce. Pumpkin pie for dessert is included. The servers/owners here are very warm and welcoming, and you’ll feel relaxed sitting on one of the cozy vintage chairs or sitting at the bar watching the chef’s cook.
Located between 5a Avenida Sur and 6a Avenida Sur, along 6a Calle Oriente.
Moving on from Antigua? If you’re heading to Flores, in Northern Guatemala, make sure to check out our guide for the “Best Restaurants for Backpackers”