Eating out in Antigua Guatemala tends to be an adventure, usually an exploratory one. Typically you can find semi decent to excellent food with good customer service at a decent to very good price point.
Sunset Terrace / La Terraza Sunset isn’t one of those places. In Guatemala, there tends to be a disconnect between actual circumstances and business logic … this is a place where sales go down and prices actually go up. The thinking is that a Guatemalan business owner can recoup the lost business revenue by overcharging the existing customers to make up the shortfall. I know it is completely contrary to overall business logic, but this Sunset Terrace is another example of Guatemalan mismanagement. For instance, our friends had cookies from McDonalds in their hands and the bouncers stopped them from going upstairs. They were adamant that even though they didn’t serve cookies, it was impossible to go upstairs with the cookies. Instead, the girls turned around and put the cookies in their purses … only then they were allowed upstairs!!! Guatemalan business logic at it’s finest … piss off potential customers and create a poor first impression!!
Going upstairs on the to terrace, I was impressed with the overall size of the terrace.
You would think that with some places struggling for business in Antigua Guatemala, that all service should be good and business owners would try their best to accommodate any issues with service. However, we can get into those issues shortly!
Atmosphere : Sunset Terrace review, La Terraza Sunset review
Even with the very poor first impression, I actually liked the size of the patio and there were some full tables at the back with the Friday night drinking crowd. There were also three separate minibars and a DJ playing … so I liked the atmosphere. It definitely reminded me of a good bar in Trinidad. There wasn’t much in terms of details but with a large patio like this one, you don’t need many details to distract patrons Looking at the English TripAdvisor reviews, I was not surprised by a 3 star rating though … again based on poor customer service.
The Food : Sunset Terrace review, La Terraza Sunset review
So we’ve established that I was annoyed from the first impression outside but willing to overlook that initial service fail because the patio looked so inviting. When it came to ordering, either in English or Guatemalan Spanish, our waiter was simply poor. He was overwhelmed with three large tables all clamoring for his attention, while there were tons of empty tables in front with waiters who were doing nothing but enjoying some sunshine.
I don’t like “Bait and Switch” places … so with the party of 5 that we were, I asked for a half bottle of the cheapest Vodka (Sky!) because we were just going to mix this with soda and hang out. The waiter informed us that they only had half bottles of Grey Goose vodka. This absolutely infuriated me, since I had walked over to the main bar to see that they had full bottles of all the other stock. I inquired about getting half a bottle from the stock at the bar, poured into a carafe or any other receptacle and I was met with confused looks (the bartenders spoke fluent English by the way!). They said that they couldn’t sell the vodka like that and I could either buy the full bottle or have separate shots of vodka. Absolute service fail on this one! In the end, I decided to order NOTHING!
As for the food, based on the previous fail, we didn’t order much. I decided to order a pizza to be fair and see what they could offer on the food side. If you’re paying 20$ CDN for a dish in Antigua Guatemala, it better be damn good, as this is a lot of money for anything here. They wheeled out a semi decent BBQ sauce pizza … it was palatable at best and definitely not worth the price.
The music : : Sunset Terrace review, La Terraza Sunset review
There was a DJ playing after 6pm and the music was quite good. I enjoyed the mix and vibe that he was helping to create. A large wedding party came in after 6pm, when you see lots of older people at the bar, you always know it’s a wedding party.
The service : Sunset Terrace review, La Terraza Sunset review
The service was horrible. The order taking was late and wrong, food was late and any extra orders for ice, cups, salsa picante just hung in the air. I don’t think it was the server’s fault completely since a manager should have supplemented him with additional help.
This place is expensive by Guatemalan standards and ridiculous deal by US or Canadian standards for what it is.. The final bill with propina was somewhere in the 440Q or $75CDN range.
Special mention of the Manager : Our bill at the end of the night was wrong and they tried to charge an extra 40Q for using a credit card. WHAT?!!?!?! The waiter explained that this was the policy at Sunset Terrace and that other places in Antigua do this. The overall bill was 400Q and 40Q propina (Tip) … no other place I’ve been to in Antigua Guatemala tried this scam!
Of course, there was a loud protest and refusal to pay that bill. So we sent the server back and asked for the Manager. The server came back with the extra credit card scam charge removed but the manager refused to come out sending a message with the waiter that he was too busy at the bar to walk over. In all my years, I’ve never heard of a manager refusing to come out to deal with a complaint or feedback!
We visited this bar to investigate the possibility of booking it for wedding events like 7A Norte Pizzeria but with the atrocious service, poor management and complete abdication by the on site manager, I would never recommend this place.
If you’re in Antigua Guatemala, do NOT bother with this place. There are tons of better patios with better views and service like 7A Norte Pizzeria or Kafka or Lava!
If you are looking for reasonable and tasty food after drinking … I would get the chicken at Madre Tierra. They have an excellent Salsa Verde that goes with the chicken. It was AWESOME!! Spend your money there and not at Sunset Terrace!