Where to eat in Antigua, Guatemala – Rincon Tipico Review
I fell in love with Antigua, Guatemala. At first I saw her and I thought she was kinda cute. As the days passed and we flirted more she began to reveal her secrets to me. She knew the way straight to my heart, my belly!
I love local cuisines. I really do. Cheap local food is usually the second thing I source in a new location right after where a bed is. So when the same restaurant kept coming up in casual conversation and a quick TripAdvisor search for best cheap food once again presented me with the name Rincon Tipico.
I knew this was where to eat in Antigua!
For the size of Antigua I was surprising lost most of the 9 days I was there. I just couldn’t get my orientation so when I read the description of Rincon Tipico and saw that it was hard to find due to tiny signage I knew I was in trouble. Hecktic Travels was also in town and I had planned our lunch date but must admit that I needed Pete’s help with the map. I read in the reviews that you should keep an eye out for the smoke, that is billowing out the front door. Apparently they use a blow dryer and some floor fans to blow the smoke off the grill and out of the restaurant. Brilliance! Nothing is better advertising than the smell of grilled meat in my opinion. So as we stood lost on a street corner I decided we should follow our noses.
The nondescript store front and the billowing smoke sucked us in. Not to mention the delicious aroma of BBQ. This restaurant is a Antigua favorite of both locals and expats and after my first meal I knew why. Rincon Tipico is only open for breakfast and lunch and is packed with locals by around 1pm. Prices are set at 15Q ($2 USD) for breakfast and 20Q ($3 USD) for lunch.
I never made it to breakfast but I can imagine how good it must have been. I have a serious breakfast burrito addiction and I would have loved to wrap some scrambled eggs in these freshly made tortillas and their homemade cilantro lime sauce that I became a little obsessed with! It reminded me of the salsa from Papalote, my favorite burrito shop in SF. It was creamy but somehow seemed like it was not dairy based. I think it had nuts blended into it but that is just a hunch.
At lunch time you are offered three choices of meat: Grilled Pork, Grilled Chicken or Chorizo. All meals come with the daily aqua fresca, fresh tortillas and a daily changing assortment of rice, vegetables, or fresh salad. The first time I ate there I had the grilled pork with rice and a fresh salad. Yes, SALAD! Love me some leafy greens. The second time I had the chicken. Before I ordered this time I was taking pictures and watching the ladies techniques. They boiled the chicken first to tenderize it and infuse flavor before dipping it in the magical green cilantro lime crack sauce and tossing it on the grill for a moment for that charred taste. I knew I had to have it! This time the dish came with rice, a marinated salad of chunks of tomato, onion and cucumber and a potato salad.
The second time I came to eat, I came alone. I found an empty table in the courtyard and was prepared to enjoy me meal. Personally if I see plastic chairs in an establishment that is crowded with locals I feel immediately comfortable as I know I am about to enjoy a good meal. Seriously, this is one standard of all the best local meals I’ve had while traveling. Anywhoo as I prepared to enjoy my meal a Guatemalan lady asked if she could join me.
It was that moment when Antigua stole a bit of my heart.
There I was rubbing elbows with locals, attempting to carry on a conversation in a foreign language all while feeling very at home. Once again my belly falling in love with a good meal cemented my feeling for a town. Now that I am gone I am still longing for a meal like that. I wonder if I will find somewhere in Honduras that wins my belly over?