Open 7 Days: 10AM - 9:00 PM
(609) 393-8410 Google Maps
Gravitas: Decor: Cost: Proximity:
(Updated November 2018) Guaterico Deli is hard to find, even if you’re looking for it. A friend of my wife’s insisted there was an incredible Guatemalan restaurant on this block, and for months, driving by perhaps 20 times, I couldn’t find it. Then, on the 21st try, at peak lunch time, I saw a line out the door. So I parked, and checked it out on foot.
From the name, Guaterico Deli, I had guessed this was a grocery store (which is why I hadn’t “found” it), but in fact it’s a fabulous Guatemalan take-out joint (with some tables if you need to eat in). It’s also, frankly, a dive. But one of those extraordinary dives that serves incredible food at prices you won’t believe.
Also, if you want to eat in, be prepared to share a table with one of many, mostly working-men who treat this place like its their home kitchen. This place is always mobbed during peak meal times. There is no better guarantee of authenticity, quality, and value than Guaterico’s customer base.
When I first reviewed this joint in 2009, there was no formal menu, just a whiteboard, sans prices. I never felt I was being over-charged; but it’s a little intimidating, and how would I know? Returning in 2016, the white board was still there, but the woman behind the counter handed me a printed take out menu. Now in late 2018, they seem to have run out of menus.
No problem. The folks who take your order generally speak good English. Read the board and ask questions if you need to. I’ve never been overcharged, and I doubt you will be either.
The food is all home made, absolutely fresh, and expertly prepared. Compared to other Guatemalan restaurants in town, the cooking uses fat and salt with a lighter touch, making it a place where you can eat often.
For example, check out these Al Pastor tostadas. Most items (tacos, pupusas, tostadas) can be ordered individually, so you can make up your own combination plate, if you’re so inclined. Prices are extremely reasonable: a plate of 3 tostadas is $7.00; three tacos or pupusas are $6.50 (prices unchanged in November, 2018).
The Al Pastor (marinated pork meat) was incredible…. it had a smoky barbecue flavor in addition to the tang of the marinade. The crispy tortilla had a smear of spicy black bean paste under the toppings, and the lettuce and onions had a sprinkling of fresh cilantro. Wow! This is a level of care in preparation that you don’t expect in any take-out joint, much less one this cheap. Personally, I’d probably ask them to hold back a little of the crema, but that’s a matter of taste. The food is really, really good. Service is fast and friendly.
The pupusas are great. The cheese and loroco (an edible flower that tastes something like broccoli) is incredibly flavorful, and comes with a wonderful homemade sauce.
With a convenient location near the corner of Hamilton Ave and South Clinton, Guaterico Deli is a place you may find yourself visiting again and again. I know I have.
While this is generally a take out joint, there is a row of tables with waitress service. If you sit down, you should order from the waitress and leave a tip. Seating is “family style”…. if there’s no open table, new patrons tend to seat themselves wherever there’s room, which might be the empty chairs at your table.