Conveniently situated across from the main plaza’s cathedral, Café Bougambilias (tel. 7764-0105, 6:45 a.m.–9:30 p.m.) is a great place for a quick snack or cheap eat with set dishes that include steak or chicken, salad, and a drink for $3.50 or tortillas, burgers, and sandwiches for $1.50. The cooking is done on the ground floor, which you can see as you come in, with tables on the top two floors overlooking the park.
Just off the square, La Fonda de Don Juan (2a Calle 5-35 Zona 1, tel. 7764-1173, 6 a.m.–10 p.m.) serves an excellent and varied menu including Italian, Mexican, and Guatemalan dishes the likes of pizza, pasta, and burgers in a lively atmosphere that includes checkered tablecloths.
Mi Tierra Café (4a Calle 6-46 Zona 1, tel. 7764-1473, 7 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 2–9 p.m. Sun.) is a friendly little restaurant that is ever-popular with locals, serving tasty nachos, pizza, and fajitas in addition to delicious breakfasts, including delectable croissant sandwiches. Try the “muffin ranchero,” essentially a salsa-bathed egg sandwich with fried tortillas instead of bread. The strong coffee is locally grown and extraordinary.
For steaks, seafood, and even some Chinese fare, check out Restaurante Las Brasas (5a Calle 6-104, on the corner of 5a Calle and 7a Avenida, tel. 7764-6200, 10 a.m.–11 p.m. daily, $4–15). There’s even duck on the menu. Domino’s Pizza is across the street.
Just down the street is one of the best places in town, Hotel Casa Blanca (7a Avenida 3-41 Zona 1, tel. 7769-0777, 6 a.m.–10 p.m.), where you can dine al fresco in the backyard garden or inside facing the house’s original courtyard. On the menu are steaks, grilled chicken, good soups, and salads as well as sandwiches. It makes a great place for breakfast.
Especialidades Doña Estercita (2a Calle west of 6a Avenida, tel. 7764-2212, 8 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat.) is the place to go for sweet or salty crepes, croissants, pies, empanadas, and sandwiches.
Just a few doors down, La Cabaña del Café (2a Calle 6-50 Zona 1, tel. 7764-8903, 8 a.m.–9 p.m. daily) has probably the best coffee in town, including great espresso drinks, in addition to a range of light fare including sandwiches, breakfasts, and cakes, housed in a homey log cabin.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com