El Artesano, San Juan La Laguna
Absolutely stunning little hint of Europe in rural Guatemala. With an impeccable garden layout and well-thought-out menu, el Artesano is easily the best restaurant on Lake Atitlan. Once you walk into this quaint space, you are instantly transported to a tiny village in the south of France. The decor, music and staff make you forget where you are for a moment allowing you to just enjoy the ambiance and elegant palate. Featuring generous curated cheese and meat platters, each is thoughtfully presented with tiny details of accompaniments and condiments. For me, the showpiece is always the people. The owner / chef Dimitri is beyond warm, welcoming and attentive to everyone he serves. His extensive knowledge and passion for his work is so apparent, making his food even more delicious. Seeing the care and dedication he puts into crafting the cheeses and sourcing the best wine to pair, makes every bite that much more savory.
Zoola, San Pedro La Laguna
Ambiance ambiance ambiance. The restaurant area at Zoola Hostel is quite irresistible. Featuring a colorful large scale tent, floor seating, and pillow decor - one could get lost for a whole afternoon here. Once you sit down you are immediately relaxed, an ideal place to get lost in a book or chat with other solo travelers. This Israeli run hostel features an extensive menu from that region of the world and the house specialty pita and hummus is a must try! While I am always impressed with how quickly I find tranquility and the consistency of the food quality - the service is always underwhelming. Possibly taking their name Zoola (meaning relax in Hebrew) too literally - the staff has always been quite apathetic. Good thing they have so many other amazing qualities that keep me coming back for more!
Cafe Loco, Panajachel
I will do my best to give an unbiased opinion of my dear Cafe Loco. We must remember, I was a customer just like you before I ended up marrying the owner! I had been grabbing a coffee every day after work for about 6 months prior to ever meeting Diego. The head barista Martin is so keen on remembering every single customer and their order. Never faltering, Martin has a smile on his face to greet each and every person that walks through their whimsical dreamcatcher doorway. From the bar layout to the K-pop blasting, Cafe Loco is another place that transports you somewhere else. I could easily be back in Brooklyn popping in for a cold brew after a long day of vintage thrift shopping. But the most special part is their front stoop allowing you to take in the scenes of Calle Santander without any other distractions. Purposely not offering WiFi, their concept is to provide a space where you can take just 15 minutes out of your day to enjoy a cup of coffee without being glued to your device. Their bar seating is intentional, facing the baristas, allows you to engage in conversation about coffee and learn about the entire process from seed to cup. Always professional and with extensive coffee knowledge from farm altitude, to region, to roasting style - the staff will never let you down!
Deli Jasmin, Panajachel
For the best meal in Panajachel, my recommendation is Deli Jasmin. Their patio restaurant seating has an unforgettable ambiance. From cute wooden decor, to garden surroundings and colorful details, this restaurant gives you the best of Guatemala. The cuisine is a fusion of regional and international specialties, with fresh fruits, vegetables and produce sourced from nearby farms. Their menu features many traditional Guatemalan plates, Mexican dishes and international favorites. Highlighting the rich culture without falsifying the sentiment, Deli Jasmin finds a wonderful balance between international standards and local customs. By far the freshest food, most consistent quality and best homemade picante - Deli Jasmin our little gem in Panajachel.
Ven Aca, Jaibalito
Infinity Pool, Fish Tacos, and Mojitos, what else could you need! The perfect dayscape on Lake Atitlan is Ven Aca. Accessible via boat, their private docks is the entrance to your own private beach club. Enjoy a formal meal in their full-service fine dining area or jump in to enjoy their swim up bar. Featuring homemade specials, their menu is fresh daily and paired with an extensive wine list. Take a moment to relax in their bubbly jacuzzi and don't forget to order their house special basil mojito made with fresh Hibiscus tea (Rosa de Jamaica).
Thanks for taking the time to read through my favorite foodie spots on Lake Atitlan! If you are interested in connecting while you are in Guatemala, take a peek at our immersion tours that include artisan home visits, workshop tours and weaving lessons!