Cafe Antigua: a great taste of Guatemala

by | December 3, 2009 | 27 Comments

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Cafe Antigua is located at 1903 N. Classen Blvd in Oklahoma City (map).  Call them at 405.602.8984.  Hours are 8am to 5pm Monday through Wednesday and 8am to 8pm Thursday through Saturday.

Cafe Antigua in OKC

Several of our readers have clamored for a review of Cafe Antigua recently, so happily I set out to accommodate. It can be a little tricky to spot at first. I drove by it three times before I even saw it.  It’s hiding in an old strip of shops right on 19th and Classen, and it’s well worth the search.  Look for the name of the restaurant painted on the windows, as that’s the only sign.

Once again, my faithful sidekick and Mom tagged along for another new restaurant experience.  Upon entering, she was immediately thrilled to see the employees cleaning the tables with a real bottle of spray cleaner and a clean cloth, as opposed to a wet dish towel “has laid around on the floor for who knows how long”  (her words).  Score one for the restaurant.

Cafe Antigua serves both breakfast and lunch the entire time it’s open, so that’s nice.  I know I like breakfast food better at other times of the day than breakfast time.  So for lunch, I ordered the “signature breakfast” entree of Motulena Eggs ($5.75), which consisted of two corn tortillas and black beans topped with two eggs smothered in chirmol (charred tomato and mint sauce) and sliced avacado, queso fresco (fresh cheese), queso seco (a dry Nicaraguan cheese), parsley and chips.  It was delicious, and the portion was just right.  Most of the portions here are not huge, which I appreciate.  Most of the entrees are also served with their homemade jalapeno sauce on the side, which is hot, but yummy.

Mom chose the Enchilades Guatemaltecas ($5.25).  This consisted of a tostada with lettuce, picadillo (chopped beef), topped with viniagrette, cabbage and beets, salsa roja, slice of hard egg, parsley and queso seco.  She’s usually not a meat-eater, but she loved this dish for two reasons. First, she could taste the tangy veggies, and second,  it matched her outfit that day (does anyone else have a cute little mother who loves to wear purple and chartreuse green together?).  She also got to know a couple of the other patrons while we waited on our food.  I think most everyone in there was either a lawyer who had a business on Classen or a sweet, little retired couple who lived nearby in one of those big houses just east of there.  At any rate, everyone Mom talked to was a regular customer.  The Valdez family of five has owned this place the last two years.

I wanted a return engagement before I wrote this review, so last week my trusty sidekick and I kidnapped two co-workers and told them where we were headed.  They were game.  This time I tried the special of the day, which was the Mayan Rice ($8.49).  It consisted of rice, black beans, onion, tomato, cilantro, parsley and chicken or beef (I chose the chicken).  I loved it and wish somebody would fix this for me every night at home.  This is one of their larger entrees, and I could have split it with someone had I known.

Mom chose the Omelette Chapin ($7.49) which was mixed with tomato, bell pepper, chives, onions, chirmol and cheddar, accompanied with a side of sour cream and plantains (or “plantations” as she called them).  This is a great dish for vegetarians.

My friend Beth chose the Chili Rellenos ($7.75), which was two small, poblano peppers with beef and veggies, rice and a house salad.  The peppers were very tender, not with a deep-fried crunchy coating like a lot of Tex-Mex places serve, and she described the meat as having a good, earthy taste.  But I’m not sure she was really sold on this dish.  It might warrant another review and opinion.

My friend Susan tried the Carne Asada ($9.99), which was grilled beefsteak, two green onions, rice, black beans, house salad and avacado.  It looked really good, and she said it was, eating every bite.

Cafe Antigua serves a variety of Guatemalan coffees and fruit drinks.  When asked what we wanted to drink, Mom asked if they had Guatemalan tea, which puzzled our waiter for a moment, as he proceeded to explain the different kinds of coffee.  She then asked for an explanation of the fruit drinks, which he pleasantly and patiently provided. Then, of course, she ordered water.  It was like being in a Seinfeld episode with Kramer and George ordering at the cafe.  Our waiter just smiled like he was used to this with all the other sweet, little old customers.  The episode continued after lunch, at which point Mom wanted to try the “Plantations in Glory”  (sigh).  I ordered her the Plantains in Glory ($3.25) and just smiled at the waiter.  These were cooked in brown sugar, cinnamon and kahlua, topped with sour cream, and they were fantastic, especially after the spicy entree I just had.

So if you want a little something different in a colorful, but discreet, setting, try Cafe Antigua.  I know I’ll be back, even though it’s not anywhere close to where I live or work. It’s definitely worth the trip.  Let us know what you think in the comments!

Cafe Antigua on Urbanspoon

This article was posted by Sarah Sutton on Thursday, December 3rd, 2009. It is filed under:

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  • Tim says:
    December 3rd, 2009 at 8:10 am   

    I’ve tried this place a couple of times and enjoyed it, but it’s been a while. I just wish they were open earlier for breakfast. I would be by often on my way to work if they were open at 7am or even better, 6:30am.

  • Cult of Nobody says:
    December 3rd, 2009 at 8:51 am   

    I noticed this place the other day on my weekly Pho pilgrimage and added it to my mental list of places to try.

  • Heather says:
    December 3rd, 2009 at 10:30 am   

    My fiance and I absolutely LOVE this place! We don’t live anywhere close, so it’s a special day when we get to drive there for breakfast on a Saturday morning. This place is a special treat that I don’t have to feel guilty about because the prices are very reasonable and we get a lot for our money. The flavors are amazing. I have never tasted food like this before. We are always impressed no matter what item we order. I think we are going to have to go there for breakfast this Saturday, I can’t stop thinking about it now!

  • Sara Mc says:
    December 3rd, 2009 at 10:49 am   

    Great review! Haven’t been there yet, but will definitely take my own trusty sidekick and check it out. Thanks!

  • Matt says:
    December 3rd, 2009 at 10:59 am   

    They seem to really care about the food they serve here, which is nice. Everything is always fresh and each item on the menu is worth trying. You’ll get a good, honest meal every time you come in, which is as much as you can ask for in our relative restaurant wasteland.

  • Sam says:
    December 3rd, 2009 at 11:53 am   

    after helping a friend of mine move in the neighborhood and building a good appetite, we went here to fill up and were most definitely satisfied. I just wish they were open for dinner otherwise the only other day I can make it here is on Saturdays. Great food!

  • Beth says:
    December 3rd, 2009 at 4:43 pm   

    Sarah, I did enjoy the chili rellenos. They were so different from what is normally served in a restaurant that I was a little taken aback, but in a good way. They were about the size of my palm and stuffed with the meat, which had a delightful, earthly flavor. Very, very appetizing to the pallet. But I am up for another trip to sample them again!

  • Sarah says:
    December 3rd, 2009 at 9:54 pm   

    Could anyone tell me how comfortable it would be getting food “to go” from Cafe Antigua? I’m often sent on lunch runs in this neighborhood and really want to try it but it’s more than likely it would be in the context of picking up a few meals… I wasn’t sure if it was that kind of place.

    Sounds GREAT though, and I’ve heard other great things. I absolutely love places (that aren’t greasy spoon diners) that have the breakfast-all-day option.

  • bella says:
    December 4th, 2009 at 4:50 am   

    I’ve ordered to go here, and also have seen others pick up to go orders. Just call ahead and they’ll have everything ready for you. Just from my experience, it seems like they skimp on to-go orders. I’m a skinny girl, so I don’t need huge portions or anything…but there were times when I thought the portions they gave weren’t comparable to what I had when I ate in the cafe.

  • Sue Ellen says:
    December 4th, 2009 at 11:39 pm   

    In addition to a fun and delicious dining experience, the soft music sounds as if it is coming right out of the scenic, life size paintings of Guatemala musicians on the walls. Antigua is a very tasty and interesting place for lunch.

  • dave w says:
    December 5th, 2009 at 7:55 pm   

    This is my wife’s and my favorite breakfast place in OKC. Love the eggs with shredded beef and the peppers. Mosh is TERRIFIC! Wish they opened earlier (like 07:00). (Aren’t they located in the same location where Cafe do Brazil started?)

    Also love their lunch, but we prefer Zarate’s in Edmond, which is closer to where we live.

  • Cult of Nobody says:
    December 6th, 2009 at 4:48 pm   

    Yeah, that is the location where Cafe do Brasil was originally located.

  • JuJuBeans says:
    December 7th, 2009 at 5:28 pm   

    All my friends who have gone here have told me it’s berry berry good. I wish I woke up early enough to eat breakfast out!

  • Kevin says:
    December 8th, 2009 at 7:55 am   

    Sounds like a perfect place to kick off a day, or start an evening early. Definitely sounds munchable.

  • Martha says:
    December 9th, 2009 at 1:26 am   

    I have a general breakfast comment because others have mentioned that this place doesn’t open early….I have lived in many cities/towns all over the country and Oklahoma City is the most lacking in really good early morning breakfasts! Some places that serve breakfast open at 8:30! Why????? That makes no sense, how can people stop and still make it to work? No shift workers here maybe? People here don’t like to go out for breakfast? In the northeast people are leaving work and going to work in the very early AM so people stop on their way to and from their jobs for a diner style breakfast, not many people seem to be up and out here at 6 am…is that why we lack good cheap early morning eats???? There must not be the demand for an early breakfast. (I usually go to Old School Bagel Cafe on N. May, excellent bagels and coffee, but no eggs, pancakes, etc.)

    I will try Cafe Antigua because it sounds delicious. Thanks for the excellent review.

  • Tim says:
    December 9th, 2009 at 11:49 am   

    Martha, I agree with you. I think it must be due to lack of demand. I used to go to Panera every morning at 6am for breakfast and to work ahead of hitting the office at 8am, and there are very few people out at that time.

    The best places I’ve found for prior to 8am dining are Panera (6am) and Chickfila (6:30am) – these are both chains, though. For local options, there’s Beverly’s Pancake House (24 hours), Cattlemen’s (6am), Nic’s (7am) and Big Truck Tacos (7:30am).

  • Cult of Nobody says:
    December 9th, 2009 at 5:52 pm   

    Nic’s is not usually crowded for breakfast but Nic doesn’t get in a hurry. So if you are in one… Well you might run through Mc D’s…. If you’ve got the time however Nic serves up a tasty breakfast.

    Perry’s and Woodbridge are also both options on the Southside.

    Omelette’s N Moore in you guessed it… Moore … is pretty good too.

  • Dave W says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 11:03 am   

    Re: Martha and Tim and early AM breakfast spots…The place that my wife and I prefer is Jimmy’s Egg; opens @ 6:00am and it’s close to home. Another is Ingrid’s Kitchen, which opens @ 7:00 am. Hope that helps.

  • Kelly says:
    December 11th, 2009 at 8:52 pm   

    My husband and I tried Cafe Antigua for breakfast last weekend. It was excellent! The portions were a very good size, and a good price. Nice, simple food and very nice people.

  • Kate says:
    December 27th, 2009 at 10:53 am   

    I eat there at least once a week. Its consistent, delicious, & cheap.

    Cafe Antigua rules.

  • Keith from Oklahoma City says:
    December 28th, 2009 at 3:24 pm   

    Thanks for the great review. I took my date there last week and we had a great time. Gotta love being able to order breakfast menu all day :)

  • SSSSSNAKES says:
    February 4th, 2010 at 6:38 pm   

    “Yeah, that is the location where Cafe do Brasil was originally located.”

    And after the original Cafe do Brasil (which was better back then, IMO) it was El Portal, which I loved and did not realize they closed (and reopened as Antigua) until today whwn I drove by. I hope Antigua is as good as the previous restaurants.

  • Maneki Neko says:
    March 31st, 2010 at 1:26 pm   

    Antigua must be really good, and popular. I tried to stop in for a to-go lunch today and after driving by repeatedly for a parking spot I finally gave up, as there was not one to be had! I must try them another time. I agree with Martha & Tim on the need for more early AM breakfast spots. There is one place on the North side that I adore – Ray’s Cafe on 50th just south of NW Expressway. It so reminds me of a small-town diner in rural OK. Nothing fancy, just good old-fashioned diner food, cheap prices and fast service. They open at 6:30 on weekdays. I do not care for Jimmy’s Egg anymore, as someone else suggested. Been there many, many times and used to like it, but have been beyond disappointed the last 7 or 8 visits. Service sucks and so does the food. If you’re just going to order eggs then they’re probably alright; how can you mess that up? But here are just a couple of my bad experiences – my chicken fried chicken was RAW in the middle twice (same location on different days), and the last time I was in (different location) my order was completely wrong. When I politely pointed it out, the waitress got rude about it and huffily sent it back. Took them 40 minutes to make me the quesadilla I ordered. I was so embarrassed; my co-workers were finished with their meal before I even got mine. I think they did that on purpose, they were not even busy and I can make one at home in 5 minutes. That was the last time ole Jimmy will get my money ;)

  • Lynsie says:
    September 9th, 2010 at 10:32 pm   

    I’ve never ordered anything but the Motulena eggs. I always mean to, but that dish is so good I just can’t bring myself to pass it up!

    The fruit drinks with milk are very delicious, but you should probably share them with someone, they are big!

  • KC says:
    April 23rd, 2011 at 5:33 pm   

    The Motulena Eggs from Cafe Antigua now rank in my Top 10 fav breakfasts – creamy, crunchy, savory, and spicy with layered flavors that are both complex yet comforting. And the presentation was awfully pretty, too. What else could you want in a breakfast?

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