“This restaurant doesn’t exist. It’s a fantasy”, said the owner.
If I didn’t have the pictures, I would think it was a wonderful dream of the perfect restaurant. The chefs were top-notch, the food amazing, the ingredients the best of the best and the friendly, fascinating customers like the valiant characters in a Steinbeck novel. I think John would have loved this place and could have written his next great novel about the people there.
Visitors often complain about the food in Guatemala. That it is bland and unexciting. The food in NY, SF, Paris, etc can also be boring if you are trodding the tourist trail with your eyes firmly affixed to some outdated guidebook.
Instead, close your eyes and listen. Let people know you appreciate gastronomic greatness. You might be directed to one of these guerilla restaurants and have a meal and experience no four star Michelan restaurant can match.
Fancy? Nope. The dinnerware is by Corelle. The napkins are paper. There are no dancing servers a la French Laundry.
Inviting and delicious? Definitely. It is simply surprising and well-made food served in a relaxing beautiful garden with a backdrop of a volcano rising from the lake.
There are some underground restaurants you will never get into. A German chef with a European degree in pastry baking talked about the great food at the Guatemalan restaurant where he works. It is where local politicians and celebrities go. Unless you fall into that category, there’s no admittance.
But that restaurant has a staff with pedigree and will make any dish the customer would like to eat. I asked if the German chef made any German food. He said yes, there were occasional requests from Eastern European customers. He mentioned some of his dishes and then started talking about the sauerkraut he makes and he absolutely glowed. It was enough to make me want to run for public office in Guatemala just so I could eat there and try that sauerkraut.
Back to the other restaurant. It was built with passion and a sheer love and appreciation of outstanding food.