Where To Eat In Guatemala City: A Taste Of Mayan Cuisine

Looking where to eat the best dishes in Guatemala City? You’re in the right place! Finding the best restaurants in town can be a bit of a hunt, but that’s where I come in. From traditional Guatemalan food to a delicious fusion of Mayan cuisine and modern gastronomy, here is the best foodie guide to where to eat in Guatemala City. So, whatever you are craving, you’re bound to find something tempting on this list of the best restaurants in Guatemala City.

Where to eat in Guatemala City
Where to eat in Guatemala City

 

Guatemalan Cuisine: Mixing Old With New

The restaurant scene in Guatemala City has burgeoned in the last few years. A wave of young and talented Guatemalan chefs has decided to dig into their roots—the result: modern Guatemalan cuisine that draws inspiration from rich traditional dishes and local ingredients.

Even local restaurants that have served the same things for decades now see the potential of blending old with new. As a result, they are experimenting with more creative dishes inspired by local flavors and Mayan cuisine. So get ready to experience the best flavors as I tell you my favorite restaurants and where to eat in Guatemala City!

Flor de Lis Restaurant
Flor de Lis Restaurant in Guatemala City 

 

Where to Eat In Guatemala City

I am a foodie at heart, so wherever I go, I am always on the hunt to find the best spots to eat. As opposed to many tourists playing it safe and centering on international menus, I love to find restaurants that showcase the best of the local cuisine. So, to truly enjoy a trip to Guatemala, you must try its Comida Típica (traditional food).

And let me tell you that Guatemala City has a great deal to offer the foodie traveler! From traditional dishes like Pepián de Pollo to a  modern fusion of Mayan Cuisine like corn croquettes smoked in myrrh, I’ll tell you the best spots on where to eat in Guatemala City.

 

Flor De Lis

Flor de Lis takes foodies on a journey to explore Guatemalan flavors in a new way. You can choose from two tasting menus, one with seven dishes and the other one with 13. Plus, an optional wine pairing for both of these. Chefs Diego Telles and Rodrigo Salva combine old and new by offering unique and creative dishes that blend Mayan elements and cooking methods with modern techniques.

They bring together tradition and innovation using ingredients you can’t find anywhere else in the world. For example, they use black salt from Sacapulas Quiché or tziquimché mushrooms from Petén while combining flavors and textures in an almost magical way. As a result, the food is both hyper-local and very international.

Flor de Lis Restaurant
Flor de Lis Restaurant

 

What I Love

While many flavors and techniques used in Flor de Lis were familiar, the chef applied them in ways I had never seen before. I have lived in Guatemala for most of my life and consider myself a foodie, always looking for where to eat in Guatemala City. But with just one visit to Flor de Lis, I was introduced to many local ingredients I had never had before. Proving that there is still so much to discover regarding Guatemalan cuisine.

Delicious dishes like corn croquettes smoked in myrrh emanate the scent of incense. It transports your senses to dimly lit churches and Semana Santa processions! Or tomatoes prepared in a traditional method for cooking candied figs and dark Guatemalan beer, balancing the sweetness of a chocolate mousse; oh-so-good!

Flor de Lis is one of those places every foodie visiting Guatemala should go at least once. It’s not the type of restaurant to go to with families, and it does not offer traditional Guatemalan food. But if you are looking for a unique culinary adventure that is bold, delicious, and exciting, then Flor de Lis is the restaurant for you!

 

7 Caldos

If you’re looking for where to eat in Guatemala City at a reasonable price, 7 Caldos is the spot for you. As its name indicates, this Guatemalan restaurant is mainly known for its wide selection of Caldos (Soups in Spanish). There are several to choose from, like the Caldo de gallina, Tapado seafood soup, and their best dish (in my opinion), Kak’ik.

What I love

Besides their wide soup selection, 7 Caldos offers traditional Guatemalan food and a couple of international dishes. I recommend you try their amazing Pollo en Jocón, a delicious chicken stew that screams comfort food.  And with fresh tortillas right out of the comal (griddle) and a tall glass of rosa de Jamaica, I felt right at home!

You can feel that the food is made with love, and the staff is super friendly, trying to make your visit a unique experience. With several locations across the city and a great selection of appetizers and main dishes, 7 Caldos is also a nice place to have drinks with friends. It has been a favorite among locals for the  “morning after drinks” cure!

 

Gracia, Cocina De Autor

I’ve eaten in Gracia Cocina de Autor quite a few times. And every time I return to Guatemala, it’s one of the places I want to go back to. This small restaurant in Guatemala City’s Zona Viva area is a real gem.  Executive Chef and owner Pablo Novales offers a small and ever-changing menu of original and creative dishes.

Tuna and avocado appetizer at Gracia Cocina De Autor.
Tuna tartare with avocado emulsion at Gracia Cocina De Autor.

 

He draws inspiration from his travels around the world, and it reflects in his food. Still, it always draws from Guatemalan culinary tradition and flavors by using local ingredients in new and inventive ways. So in my book, it makes Restuarante Gracia one of the best choices for fine dining in Guatemala City.

What I love

One of the best dishes I’ve had at Gracia was a delicious entrée of giant river shrimp au gratin with lorocos and anacates. It was reminiscent of one of my favorite Guatemalan traditional dishes: Chicken with a creamy loroco (edible flower buds) and anacate (a type of wild Chanterelle mushroom) sauce. This dish was truly outstanding, and I loved its creative plating.

Shrimp au gratin with lorocos and inacates at Gracia Cocina de Autor in Guatemala City.
Shrimp au gratin with lorocos and anacates at Gracia Cocina de Autor in Guatemala City.

 

I enjoyed the ambiance and friendly service; they were always welcoming and knowledgeable. The restaurant’s interior design combines modern elements and a cozy atmosphere that makes you feel at home. The restaurant’s interior design is the work of the award-winning Guatemalan architecture firm Solis Colomer & Asociados.

 

La Hacienda Real

A local favorite for decades, La Hacienda Real is the place to go if you are looking for a great steakhouse. There are various locations in Guatemala City, but my favorite (and original) is the restaurant in La Zona Viva (zone 10).

Steak with chipilin sauce at La Hacienda Real.
Steak with chipilin sauce at La Hacienda Real. 

 

This location offers indoor seating and tables outside on a covered patio with a central fountain. It gives this Guatemalan restaurant a warm and inviting atmosphere reminiscent of a Mexican hacienda. My memories of eating here go far back. Dining at La Hacienda Real has become a tradition every time I travel to Guatemala, usually more than once.

What I love

Although the restaurant is best known for its excellent stakes, my favorite cut is the entraña. There are also international dishes and traditional local offerings like Carne Adobada and Jocón. I was pleasantly surprised that they had added a new menu on my last visit. It offers dishes that combine their delicious cuts with traditional Guatemalan ingredients, like a steak with Chipilín sauce.

Plus, it has new interpretations of classic dishes like pastel de rellenito (a modern take on the popular dessert made with plantain and black beans). Hacienda Real is a favorite with the locals, with very few tourists. So you will also get a taste of Guatemala City’s life.

Pastel de rellenito at La Hacienda Real in Guatemala City.
Pastel de rellenito at La Hacienda Real in Guatemala City. 

 

Extra Tip:

Make sure to try one of their cocktails made with Quetzalteca Especial, locally referred to as “Indita.” This hard liquor (similar in taste to grappa) has long been the inexpensive drink of choice in small-town cantinas and ferias.

However, in the last decade, Quetzalteca has changed its marketing approach. Nowadays, you’ll find Quetzalteca Especial in restaurants and bars alongside their new flavor-infused versions. My two favorite ones are tamarind Quetzalteca and hibiscus Quetzalteca; you got to try them!

 

Arrin Cuan

Arrin Cuan offers the best Mayan cuisine with delicious traditional dishes and a quaint atmosphere. For over three decades, the restaurant has maintained its culinary tradition, a unique spot to enjoy authentic Guatemalan food. And on weekends, it usually has live marimba music that adds more charm to the place.

The restaurant opened its doors in the beautiful Centro Historico in zone 1. Soon after, it branched out to another cozy spot in zone 9 and, more recently, in Antigua Guatemala. I recommend you take a short trip to Antigua (one of the best things to do in Guatemala) and enjoy a good old traditional meal surrounded by cobblestone streets and loads of history.

What I love

Arrin Cuan is a genuinely excellent Guatemalan restaurant, the perfect spot to enjoy traditional Mayan cuisine. I suggest you look at the “menú del día” (meal of the day) since they change their specials daily! Also, I love their hearty breakfasts, from savory tamales and typical eggs and beans to my favorite, mole de plátano!

And if you are a foodie like me, I always order a little bit of everything. And Arrin Cuan hast the best dish to satisfy my cravings: the Cuatro Caminos or four roads. It is like a sampler platter of the best Guatemalan foods on one single serving. It comes with bowls of Subanik, Kak’ik, Pepían, and Hilachas de Carne, with a side dish of white rice and delicious tamalitos. Yum Yum!

 

La Cocina De La Señora Pu

Located in a back street in Guatemala City’s historic district,  La Cocina de La Señora Pu is easy to miss.  The tiny restaurant sits less than 20 people. Most seats are around an open kitchen where La Señora Pu, dressed in traditional Mayan garb, cooks the meals on a four-burner stove.  

At La Cocina de La Señora Pu, you will not find the traditional Guatemalan recipes. Instead, you will be in for a unique gastronomic experience of ancestral origins. After investigating the Mayan cuisine, Rosa Pu (an anthropologist) set out to recuperate Mayan dishes. According to the restaurant’s website, she created 21 new recipes that “have an indisputable Mayan identity.” 

La Cocina de La Señora Pu in Guatemala City
La Cocina de La Señora Pu in Guatemala City 

 

What I love

I would describe the food as a fusion of authentic Mayan ingredients and flavors with an international infusion attributed to Rosa Pu’s time living in Paris.  The menu is on a chalkboard on the wall. The dishes all have Mayan names like Jok’om ixim / Duck to the taste of king Kaib’il B’alam, Jok’om sikil / Chicken in sikil, Porom / Pigeon porom, and Q’ab’arel / Rooster b’oj.

I ordered the duck in k’axob‘, and my dad ordered a rabbit dish. I was taken aback by the duck’s fantastic sauce, blending sweet and tangy flavors with a smooth and velvety texture. Eating at La Cocina de La Señora Pu was a unique foodie experience. Plan to eat lunch here as this is not the best area to go to at night; better to make reservations due to the limited number of seats.

My Experience At La Cocina de La Señora Pu

I must warn you that Señora Pu is quite a character! She guards her recipes with a fierceness that borders on paranoia. So don’t bother inquiring about any of the dishes! Instead, you will probably get a response like, “it’s a delicious chicken dish.” No mention of any of the ingredients, not even to say it has a tomato-based sauce or if it’s a sweet and sour sauce.

When asked the difference between two duck dishes, she only replied, “they are both good.” It made it quite hard to pick a dish, as the Mayan names do not even hint at any ingredients. So we ended up just letting her surprise us.

I made the mistake of taking a picture of my food, and the waiter almost sprinted to our table. He told us that photos were not permitted, and then he stood behind us for the entire meal to ensure I did not take another picture. I thought he would grab my phone and confiscate it for a moment.  

However, nowhere did it say that photos were not permitted, and the incident made us feel quite uncomfortable. It took away from the experience, but I would undoubtedly return and keep my phone in my purse.  

 

Where To Eat In Guatemala City

 

Amazing Things To Do In Guatemala:

If you’re planning a trip to Guatemala or want to return for more, you’ve come to the right place! From the best destinations to kid-friendly activities, I’ll share my love for my home country. Here are amazing things to do in Guatemala to make your trip a memorable one:

The Best Things to Do With Kids In Guatemala City:

The capital city is full of fun things to do. However, kid-friendly activities are not always easy to find. So I thought I would share the best things to do in Guatemala City with kids. And the best part is most are not only fun but also educational activities; a huge plus for any parent!

Best Guide To Visiting Tikal: The Most Spectacular Mayan Ruins In Guatemala:

Here is a guide to visiting Tikal that includes everything you need to know before seeing the most spectacular Mayan ruins in the world. It is a great starting point for enjoying the many adventures the Petén region offers.

Guide to visiting Tikal

An Enchanting River Ride: A Quick Guide To Río Dulce:

Considered by many as one of the most beautiful destinations in Guatemala, Río Dulce is often overlooked. The area overflows with beautiful nature, colonial history, unique culture, and fantastic food. This quick guide to Rio Dulce covers the best things to do, where to stay, and what to eat.

Best Things To Do In Antigua Guatemala With Kids:

Declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, Antigua Guatemala is a colonial city rich in history and culture. But finding kid-friendly activities can be somewhat of a challenge. So I wanted to share with you all the best things to do in Antigua with kids. All of these activities are family-friendly but are also great for adults.

Why Lake Atitlán Needs To Be On Your Travel Bucket List:

Lake Atitlán is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Located in the western highlands of Guatemala, the lake encircles spectacular dormant volcanoes and picturesque Mayan villages. It has a relaxed atmosphere, colorful and rich Mayan culture, and an almost perfect climate.

Lake Atitlan sunset with flowers

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7 thoughts on “Where To Eat In Guatemala City: A Taste Of Mayan Cuisine”

  1. La Hacienda Real es uno que no puede faltar en mi lista cuando voy a Guatemala, gracias por las recomendaciones todos lucen deliciosos, así que en mi próxima visita me aseguraré de degustar esos deliciosos platillos.

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