To say that meals on the Angelito are generous is an understatement! And not just meals – every time we returned on board after an island visit or a snorkelling session, a treat would be waiting for us. And with two visits each day, and snorkelling on most days, that’s a lot of treats! All meals are included in the cost of the cruise, apart from drinks other than water, tea and coffee, and also apart from those treats and the delicious fruit juices at breakfast time. So with everything already paid for, it would be a shame not to eat it, wouldn’t it?!
A typical day’s eating and drinking would be something like this:
Breakfast, usually served early (somewhere between 6.00 and 7.00, depending on the plans for the day) -
Fruit juice (as fresh and wonderful as everywhere in Ecuador), fresh fruit, bread or toast, jams, cheese and ham, and some sort of eggs – one day scrambled, another a tortilla, and so on. Some days there were extras – one morning we had pancakes with maple syrup, for instance, and another there were little sausages.
After our first landing (usually about 10.30), as we climbed back on board –
Snack, such as more fruit juice and mini empanadas, or biscuits
If we snorkelled after this, we would be greeted on our return with a hot drink – chocolate or a herbal tea
Lunch, usually around midday –
Soup, meat or fish with rice, sometimes potato too, and vegetables, and a platter of fresh fruit
After the afternoon landing, another snack, similar to the morning but never the same. One day we had mini hot-dogs, another slices of excellent pizza
Dinner, which might be served before or after the evening briefing depending on where and when we were sailing –
Meat or fish with rice, sometimes potato, vegetables and salad, and a dessert such as a mousse or crème caramel. On two special occasions, the dessert was a celebration cake – once for Brian’s birthday which fell on the Thursday of the cruise, and on the final night, when dinner was a buffet with a spectacular fish dish as its centre-piece (see photos in my travelogue)
With all this to eat, is it any surprise that despite all the walking and swimming, I put on weight during the week?!
Favorite Dish: The meals I enjoyed most were probably the traditional Ecuadorean lunch we had one day, an excellent ceviche on another, and a dinner of pork medallions with cheesy potatoes, aubergine and coleslaw, followed with a pear poached in (I think) red wine. I also really appreciated having fresh fruit and excellent juices with every breakfast
Next tip: ”Our itinerary”
Cafeteria Rincón Manuelitas was another little place we discovered on Charles Binford. It was tiny and a rare one in that it did open for breakfast. In fact, it wasn't open too late in the evening as was the norm on this night oriented eating street. We noticed the owner baking what looked like cakes to us on a number of occasions as we passed by. He always seemed to be out of them and from his obvious loving care of the little morsels we assumed they must be good. Though very small, he seemed to have a strong following. We did manage to get a seat one morning to finally get a taste of his food. Another reason for our wanting to eat there was his coffee. We had commented to a fellow traveler about the lack of decent coffee in Ecuador and she explained that if you saw a jar on your table with a dark liquid in it that you could bet it was strong coffee. Locals diluted this liquid with either hot milk or water. Once armed with this information we did in fact notice the peculiar ritual. So, we not only ordered up a couple of his cakes which turned out to be called tortillas de queso but also cafe con leche and made it obvious that we did not want instant coffee by pointing at the bottle!
Favorite Dish: The cakes turned out to be a corn meal concoction filled with a mild melted cheese in the mozzarella family. They were quite tasty but a bit dry so the coffee was the perfect accompaniment. We got our hot milk and continuously added the liquid to it as we drank. By the end of our meal we had finished off the entire bottle and at that point it was what we would consider a good strong cup. We went back the next day and the owner was very happy to see us. We had talked to him about his food and he was obviously proud that a couple of gringos could appreciate his hard work and great product. This time I tried bolónes, the fried ball of plantain and cheese with his wife's chicken stew. It was excellent. I was pretty full but not too full to have one of the corn cakes too. When the check came, we were even more impressed. Two coffee con leche's, two tortillas de queso, and one bolón with chicken stew was only $5. I'm not sure if he forgot something or was just glad to have us there. One thing I can say is we were glad to have found him but sad it had taken us till our second to last day to do so.
After our $32 extravaganza at Familiar William, we decided to check out the place across the road called Servi Sabrason. It was always packed and they had a big picture menu with very reasonable prices prominently displayed right up by their sign. They had many Ecuadorian standards and we ate here a number of times. Most of the seating was outside with a communal feel. It was so busy you generally had to share one of the big tables. The service was much better than at Williams and the owner was very hands on and hospitable.
Favorite Dish: One meal I enjoyed was a huge apanada ($6) or schnitzel. It's a flattened beefsteak, breaded and fried. You squeeze a little lime on it and along with the sides of salad and fries, it's quite filling! My wife had a seco de pollo (chicken stew, $3.50) with rice. Big bottles of beer were the typical $2 but they also had great batidos (fruit shakes) for $1.50 which were big with a nice variety of fruits to choose from. Guanbana was our favorite. I also tried the churrassco ($6), another huge steak but this time cooked on the grill and topped with a fried egg. It was easy to understand the place's popularity. We ate here for under $15 for the two of us including the fruit shake deserts.
The most popular area to eat in Puerto Ayora for tourists as well as locals seems to be Charles Binford. It is a ramshackle conglomeration of just barely permanent restaurants that do not have very set hours. Most are either not open during the day or open sporadically. Maybe it was our being there in the off season. It generally does not matter as you are out and about doing tours or exploring so food on the run is the norm. There are many choices and the best way to find one is to walk around and pick one that looks appetizing, appears to be busy, or maybe best yet, smells good! We had two favorites. One was Familiar William. What set this apart from its contemporaries was it being owned and totally operated by a family from the Esmeraldas part part of Ecuador. Since we did not make it to that area I was eager to eat here to at least try the food. Their specialty is encocados, a coconut based curry which is generally made with fish or shrimp. Along with the food, the place has a real Caribbean feel and the service is a bit lax as would befit the laid back island ambiance.
Favorite Dish: Our first night we had it with lobster and shrimp mixed without asking the price. We nearly fell over when they told us our bill was $32 but after reflecting it was a pretty good price especially in the Galapagos Islands! After all, we had a small lobster tail each along with about six good size shrimp. Everything was cooked to perfection and smothered in a very tasty coconut curry sauce that was not too hot, but not too sweet. It came with a fair portion of rice though we both could have eaten more! We also washed it down with the ubiquitous Pilsner beer in a one liter bottle for $2 (twice the price of the mainland but a fairly good price for the Islands). On subsequent visits we stuck with either shrimp or fish and the meals were a more in line with other places on Charles Binford at $5 per portion.
Isabella did have a very nice little bakery. The owners were super friendly and it was a local place. It was a real find in the Galapagos where they haven't quite caught onto the gringo's penchant for baked goods.
Favorite Dish: We enjoyed their cinnamon buns and elephant ears and they even had some decent rolls to make sandwiches on which came in handy on an island with limited food options! Prices were incredibly cheap. When we were getting ready for the boat ride back to Santa Cruz we bought a bag of little dry dough rings which were a perfect plain snack in case we had rough seas!
The place next door to Restaurante Toque del Sabor was our first meal in town. The smell of garlic drove us in and it was a nice enough place though its lack of customers didn't set well with us and should have been a reason not to go I guess!
Favorite Dish: I ordered octopus which was a little pricey ($8) but the smell of what I surmised to be garlic and olive oil could not cover up how little of the precious octopus was mixed in with mostly rice. Though it was tasty, it was a very small portion and we did not give the place a second chance.
Sometimes you don't know how good something is until you don't have it and that is the case with Charles Binford street on Puerto Ayora. Isabella is a beautiful island and many independent travelers' favorite of all the Galapagos but when it comes to eating out, choices are limited and quality/quantity not up to similar places on Santa Cruz. With only a couple of nights to get by we tried the best smelling place our first night and after a disappointing meal we switched over to its neighbor which was a bit better.
The better of the two was Restaurante Toque del Sabor which had a nice island motif with lights strewn from strings and a casual easy going ambience.
Favorite Dish: We both stuck with broiled fish on both visits. We liked it the first time and didn't see anything else of particular interest on the menu. It was very tastefully prepared for such a simple dish and the rice/salad/fries medley was equally good. It was $6 which would not have been bad if only the portions were a bit bigger. As it was we found ourselves searching for morsels once we'd finished our meager meals.
It's tough to be next to the sea and not want to eat seafood and the most Ecuadorian in this regard is cerviche. Many westerners are leery of eating this “raw” fish but the fact is the fish is “cooked” by the lime juices it is marinated in. It is true it is possible to get sick from it if not done correctly but I've never had a problem and in this part of the world, they do know what they are doing. The pieces of seafood and fish are bite size and its mixed with raw onions, tomato and cilantro Unfortunately, even with the seaside locale, cerviche tends to be more expensive in the Galapagos Islands than on the mainland! That said, we had decided to have it at the local Cervichia but when we sat down the service was so bad and unfriendly we decided to move next door to Rincón de Alma which looked nicer, also served cerviche and had a much more gracious owner.
Favorite Dish: My wife had the fish cerviche, I had a mixed one of octopus, fish and shrimp. They came with a nice portion of plantain chips whch were obviously freshly homemade. We washed it down with an ice cold Pilsner and it came to $17 for the two of us. Not a cheap meal but certainly a tasty and healthy one.
As the name implies, this is a gathering point for the guides of the Galapagos boat trips. This could be because it's the only place that seem to open at a reasonably early hour! Despite its great location it is not overpriced and there are some very local dishes besides popular tourist fare. It always seems busy and there is a bustling atmosphere to the somewhat rushed service at least for breakfast. All seating is outside but under cover to it's quite a pleasant place to eat.
Favorite Dish: I kept seeing these big balls of what I could not guess every time I passed this place prior to finally giving it a shot. Known as bolón, it is a ball made of fried plantains and a mozzarella-like cheese. Mine was tasty if a bit dry. I noticed many others having it as a side dish to curries and I'm sure the various sauces enhanced the meal greatly. I later tried this at another place and it was much better. My wife had a huge fruit salad with granola of which she felt the latter played too big a part. They also served nice batidos of yogurt based fruit shakes. I don't believe we spent more than $5 between the two of us and we were quite full.
This is a good stopping spot when you visit Puerto Ayora as part of a cruise. It's a laid back place to sit outside at a table order a beer ( comes with popcorn ) and watch the people on Avenida Charles Darwin stroll by. When we finished buying our T Shirts and strolling through town we came here and caught up with most of our crew- mates!!
The ambience is wonderful. Each night's menu is different and developed from the fresh food bought each day in Santa Cruz. Service is excellent. See my Galapagos travelogue for a lot more info.
Take one of the tables outside under the covered deck area in the late evening and experience a very romantic sunset over dinner.
Watch for the friendly owl which visits just after sunset.
Favorite Dish: The yellow fin tuna had to be my favorite. A large steak like cut of the most tender and tasty fish I've ever had.
There aren't too many great places to eat in Puerto Ayora, so this place definately stands out among the very best. The staff give you a nice welcome, and are very friendly. The interior is well done (but the videos they show about sharks made me nervous because I was diving the next morning!) The food is very good, and well presented. All in all, I would highly recommend it.
Favorite Dish: The antipasta is a very good appetizer. For a main dish, try any of the pastas.
This restaurant is part of the Hotel Silberstein and has two dining areas. I preferred to stay in the open-air portion just at the street entrance. However, there is an enclosed dining room behind the open-air area (the outside wall separating the two shelters a bar counter/wait station). The photo shows the indoor dining room, which has windows overlooking the garden and swimming pool.
I struck it lucky when I chose to sail with the Pulsar as, unbeknown to me, the Pulsar has the best chef on (and off) the island. This became clear when crew from the other boats would come over for food. Needless to say, we all ate very well and despite the size of the cat, there was always more than enough food for all.
No place like on the ship. I have travelled on a ship called 'Sullivan' and the food was great. I have never had so much vegatables anywhere else in Ecuador. Also the surprise snacks after snorkeling or walking were great: popcorn and tuna fish crackers!!
Puerto Villamil, Isabela Galapagos Islands, , Ecuador
Good for: Solo
Barrio Punta Estrada S/N, Puerto Ayora, 00000, Ecuador
Good for: Business
Isla Isabela, , Puerto Villamil, Galapagos
Good for: Business