What would be the perfect birthday gift to the Papa of my children? How about an escape from Papa duties to enjoy a romantic getaway with the Mama of his children. That’s when Panza Verde in Antigua Guatemala comes to play! Here’s my full review!
Years ago I remembered my sister in law had a super romantic engagement. It was before I was living in Guatemala, but I specifically recalled that it happened in Antigua and her fiance reserved a section of a restaurant for this amazing night.
Finally, my husband and I learned all about what the magical place was and started looking at photos of it. Until one day when we were feeling romantic and needing a break from kids (yes, I do believe that it’s allowed to have some alone time for adults), we finally made a reservation, got nicely dressed, and headed over to the Panza Verde hotel.
Here is how everything went:
Panza Verde Review
Without extended family nearby, we aren’t able to go for a short trip, but we do have time to enjoy a romantic lunch together. So my search begins.
For a long time I’ve been eyeing out Meson Panza Verde. Whenever anyone talks about a romantic experience and delicious international style food, this is always the first place mentioned both amongst Guatemalans and expats of Antigua. It is time we checked it out for ourselves.
The upside is that no kids under 16 are permitted. (NOTE: They are lax on this rule. If your children are younger and well behaved, it’s not a problem. Our kids don’t fall into any of those categories and we really just wanted to enjoy our meal tranquilly.) So, to say the least, I am extremely excited about this rule and made a reservation immediately.
We arrived a bit early, actually so early the restaurant wasn’t even open yet. That’s how badly we needed a getaway. With time to spare we had a chance to talk with Ingrid, the general manager, for a while. And since I have a fascination with luxury, boutique hotels I asked for a grand tour.
Hotel Panza Verde
The hotel was opened in 1986 as one of the first luxury hotels in Antigua. The owner, who designed the place herself, has impeccable taste and eye for detail which she uses flawlessly with colonial style and European touches.
The main courtyard
Pool Time – this is one of the sleekest pools I’ve seen
Live Music is available a few nights a week
Art Gallery – Panza Verde has one of the best galleries in town. Some of the most talented artists in all of Guatemala have exhibits here. If you aren’t staying at the hotel, or dining here, I highly recommend visiting the gallery.
Views from the Terrace – Antigua is right in the center of the Ring of Fire. The city of Antigua is surrounded by three volcanoes and this terrace has amazing views
Spiral Staircases and hidden areas
Antique Wooden Doors
Master Suite (living room and sitting area)
Master Bathroom – yes this is a bathroom, even though I had dreams of living in this room
The Romantic Panza Verde Restaurant Experience in Antigua, Guatemala
Mezon Panza Verde is a small yet luxurious boutique hotel and restaurant that offers a super romantic couples dinner option. First, there is their restaurant, it is gorgeous and with a small fountain on a side. The walls are made of stone and the overall decoration makes it super romantic.
For those looking for something more private, they have this gorgeous dome upstairs on the terrace and they decorate it with roses. This is usually a bit too cliche for me, but sometimes you gotta go with the flow.
We got our own private waiter and basically the run of the whole Terrace which offered spectacular views of Antigua.
Whenever we visit restaurants I always like to taste the restaurant’s special or signature dish. Not the ‘Specials of the Day’, but what the restaurant is most proud of serving. In most cases the waiter or the manager are eager to display that dish. When I asked Gavin, the manager of the restaurant, he responded that everything is equally fabulously and for us to go nuts choosing whatever calls out to us.
Describing our dishes will be difficult to relay since the food was beyond heavenly. To get the full burst of flavors and feel of the atmosphere, it goes without saying, you have to arrive here in person. So I’ll do the second best thing – give you a sneak peak.
Bread Goodness and Wine
Shrimp and Avocado Salad
Beet Cream Soup (This was the soap of the day)
Shrimp with Garlic Sauce
Duck a la ‘Orange
Dessert and Tea
I had the Macadamia Nut Parfait which is so fluffy, sweet and one of those things you never want to end. This was accompanied with tea. I’m a huge tea junkie and the selection here was the most unique I’ve seen in all of Antigua. I ordered organic green tea with an organic rice brew.
Raves About a Private Dinner
I have to admit, it’s pretty hard to please me when it comes to eating out. But the food here is spectacular!
Really, the chef knows what he’s doing from the appetizers to the entree to the dessert.
They had some of the most perfect shrimp I ever tasted and my husband’s tenderloin in pepper sauce was the most delicious one that I have tried so far.
Since we live in Antigua the diner was where it ended, but the rooms at this hotel are also stunning so staying a night or two in it, prices are from $100 to $275 per night.
I soo highly recommend this experience. For the dinner, the private space, and waiter, as well as the decoration you will end up paying around $175 and worth every penny.
Downside of our Dinner Experience
The only thing that was a little bothering is that the dome is right next to the spiral staircase and since everyone can visit the terrace they always looked as though they were about to join us for a quick bite before moving onwards.
But it’s a small thing and one that I barely noticed.
Simply Fun Facts about Panza Verde
Panza Verde, interestingly enough, is what Antigüeños who has lived in Antigua for generations upon generations call themselves. Some families are here from when Antigua was the capital of Guatemala (Now Guatemala City). The legend goes that the families that stayed behind were so poor that they survived off of avocados and their bellies were green from eating it too much. This term is used with a deep pride.
Information for Panza Verde
Address: 5a Av. Sur # 19 Antigua
Phone: (502) 7832 2925
Room rates – there are several different suites and rooms to choose from. The prices, for what is offered, are super reasonable with breakfast included
To see the full selection of eats, here’s the menu
For nights when there is live music it’s highly recommended to make reservations.
Lunch is less calm, but dinner can really pack up, especially because it’s intimate.
Conclusion and Video
This is a must visit, stay and eat at destination in Antigua, Guatemala.
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