Eat List: Guatemala City & Antigua, Guatemala
Tortillerías, market stalls and súchiles, plus creole, Mayan and modern Guatemalan restaurants.
Guatemala’s culinary history and diversity of ingredients is equally as profound as that of neighboring Mexico, yet why aren’t we all talk about it in the same way? Guatamala’s gastronomy scene has sprung to life in recent years as chefs with experience abroad have returned home to new opportunities, using the country’s ancestral foodways as a springboard to innovation. These are my recomendations for where to eat in Guatemala City and Antigua.
In Guatemala City, the food scene is young and vibrant. There’s a new wave of artisan bakeries and food halls, not to mention some of the region’s best coffee, though many of the old school eateries and market stalls that have withstood the test of time may be even more enchanting.
Debora Fadul is one of Latin America’s most promising chefs and is continually opening new dimensions in Guatemalan cuisine. This elegant restaurant, perched on the penthouse floor of a modern building in Zona 4 with views across the city, explores the intersections of sustainability, biodiversity, and the country’s culinary history in a modern format. Fadul has formed close relationships with isolated producers around the country and has expanded her operations to include a culinary lab and a non-profit that connects other chefs and consumers with producers. yocomoguate.com. [Listen to our Podcast episode with Debora Fadul // See Debora Fadul’s exploration of the amaranth plant]
Dora La Tostadora
From the owners of Mercado 24, this Zona 4 tostada shop opened sort of as a joke about a stoned Dora the Explorer and was run out of an abandoned shoe shop, but it the food was just too good. It has since moved and is now located in an open air space beside the La Erre art gallery. Dora, just has one item on the menu, the Guatemalan tostada, for which they offer a handful of different toppings each day, such as octopus or solomillo (pork). Instagram page.
This bustling stall inside the Mercado Central opened six decades ago by the current owners mother, utilizing typical Guatemalan recipes that continue to be passed down from one generation to the next. There are enchiladas, where a fried tortilla is layered with toppings; revolcado, a stew made with offal meat; rellenito, mashed plantains stuffed with black beans; and chicharrón. Only open in the mornings.