There has always been considerable French influence on Guatemalan culture, which is also evident in the city’s culinary offerings. Among the excellent options are Saint-Honoré (14 Calle 2-51 Zona 10, tel. 2379-4548, 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m. daily), inside the InterContinental hotel, a typical French bakery serving cakes and some of Guatemala’s best coffee.
Also in the hotel lobby is the excellent Café de la Paix (6 a.m.–11 p.m. daily), the only franchise of the famous Parisian brasserie chain outside of France, serving heavier meals, including entrecôte and onion soup ($12–25).
Jean Francois (Diagonal 6, 13-63 Zona 10, tel. 2333-4785, noon–3 p.m. and 7–10:30 p.m. Mon.–Fri., noon–3 p.m. Sat., $8–25) is a longtime favorite with Guatemala’s wealthy elite and is arguably one of the finest restaurants in Latin America. The atmosphere is elegant with tablecloths and flowers adorning the tables and antique colonial furniture in the lounge. Entrées include snook in a cream and lemon sauce with fine herbs and steak bondelaise with porcini mushrooms. Try the fantastic cold lemon soufflé with caramel sauce for dessert.
A more casual French dining option is La Maison de France (13 Calle 7-98 Zona 10, tel. 2337-4029, info [at] lalanchavino [dot] com, lunch Mon.–Tues., lunch and dinner Wed.–Fri., $6–11) with a set lunch chalkboard menu and à la carte dinner options. Choose from a mix of homemade semi- Guatemalan and French dishes and wash them down with all-natural fruit juices or a bottle of wine from the extensive wine list.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com