Circus Bar (Avenida Los Arboles, tel. 7762-2056, www.panajachel.com/circusbar , noon–midnight daily) has the best pizza in town as well as excellent pasta and seafood. There’s a relaxed vibe and colorful decor that conveys the feeling of being under the big top.
A reasonable alternative for pizza, particularly for carryout or delivery, is Pizzeria Florencia (Calle Santander, across from Telgua, tel. 7762-1055), where you’ll also find Argentinean empanadas and cheeseburgers.
For authentic Italian food, head to Restaurante La Lanterna (inside Hotel Dos Mundos, Calle Santander, tel. 7762-2078), where there’s excellent homemade pasta and a nice assortment of Italian wines. The large dining room has one of Panajachel ’s most pleasant atmospheres and the service is impeccable.
or scrumptious Pan-Asian cuisine, check out Las Chinitas (Calle Santander, tel. 7762-2612, 8 a.m.–10 p.m. daily), where you can savor Malaysian curries and Thai dishes, among other dishes, at moderate prices. It’s a busy spot for dinner.
A perennial favorite, Café Bombay (Calle Santander, 100 meters from the lake, tel. 7762-0611, 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Wed.–Mon., $2–7) is an inexpensive vegetarian restaurant serving a varied menu that includes tasty falafel, pita sandwiches, lasagna, burritos, curries, pad thai, and miso soup.
On Calle Santander, closer to Calle Principal, is La Terraza (Edificio Rincón Sai, tel. 7762-0041, lunch and dinner daily), with a second-floor balcony overlooking the street below and serving steaks, lake fish, and European fare including Spanish tapas.
Halfway down Calle Santander, Guajimbo’s (tel. 7762-0063, 7 a.m.–10 p.m. Fri.–Wed.) serves South American–style parrilladas (barbecued meats) including steaks, chicken, and sausage. There are also vegetarian dishes and good breakfasts.
On Calle Principal, close to the intersection with Calle de los Arboles, Atlantis Café Bar serves a good mix of international dishes, including decent burgers, pasta, pizza, and sandwiches along with a wide range of cocktails from its elegant wooden bar. The decor is eclectic and there are also some good desserts.
There are a number of eateries on Calle del Lago with similar seafood/meat menus and outrageous decor, none of which I can bring myself to recommend. An exception is the well-staffed Restaurante El Tocoyal (Calle del Lago, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun.–Fri., 8:30 a.m.–8 p.m. Sat., $3–13), which also has some vegetarian fare.