Just opposite the Recreation Center in Vilcabamba there is a nice local restaurant offering simple but delicious local food, with a home made taste. The large terrace with views to the green mountains all around explains its name. There are a lot of meat dishes, fish, shrimps and chicken. Try “encebollado de pescado”, a rich tomato soup of fish containing a lot of veggies!
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Cuys are rodents and are native to the Andes. Cuy is nothing else but the Guinea Pig. Have you seen one alive? It's a very cute and furry little animal. Cuys are also very common in South American cuisine. It is cooked on a barbecue, broiled or fried and it is usually served whole. It is also considered an honoured dish for special occasions and celebrations. In Peru it is their national dish. I remember in a church in Cusco there is a big cuy dish painted on the table of the Holy Dinner! In Western societies it has often been kept as a pet so maybe that's why Westerns find it difficult to get used to the idea of eating it. I had one, too. I called it Toto and kept it in a cage. It spent all day running on his wheel and carried all the seeds I gave him in his little house. When I gave him a lot, he put them all in his mouth and carried them into his house where he took them out to eat them later. During the 19th and 20th century it was also used as an experimentation animal for medicinal and biological reasons. It has helped us a lot in developing several medicinal products which have saved many human lives.
Of course I understand it's not nice eating pets but aren't lambs and little goats as cute? Why some people find it disgusting I don't understand.
Alladin is my all time favorite place to go. It sells hookas and has comfy couches. Yummy cold Pilsensers and the best Shwarmas ever! I've eaten so many in my life and nothing compares! Alladin is always my first stop when I go to Ecuador!
Favorite Dish: Shwarmas!
'Ceviche' are shrimps or fish served in a tangy sourish lemon juice or tomato sauce, mixed with onions, parsley and some spices. This is usually served in a bowl with a side dish of salty popcorn or fried plantains.
This is a very popular dish along the coasts, from Ecuador, Peru to Chile. Do try it!
This is interestingly a traditional Ecuadorean snack - ice-cream with the flavours mixed in a huge pan.
The ice-cream flavours are mainly fruity. You will see signs 'HELADO DE PAILA' everywhere. Try it!
Hornado de cerdo - This is a WHOLE PIG being cooked over fire, thoroughly crisping the skin.
They usually display the dish with the whole head of the pig staring at you. Very ‘Lord of The Flies’.
You should be able to see this dish from southern Colombia to Ecuador. It was very delicious, I think, rather fatty, considering I also ate the skin of the pig, but who cares… it was amazing.
A typical Ecuadorean drink, my friend told me, is chocolate con queso (hot chocolate with cheese).
Imagine a tall glass of hot chocolate with melting cheese inside. But not just any cheese, I was told. As my cheese knowledge is very limited, I am not able to tell you how to prepare this drink yourself.
But there is a cafe in Palacio Arzobispal where my friend brought me to which served this. I assume many other cafes do the same.
Apparently, for the Ecuadoreans, their main meal is lunch, rather than dinner as in Western cultures. At times, it might be only main dish in their diet.
Do try 'seco de chivo'. You will find that lunch menus which are very economical and good, usually offer a few selections for the main dish and 'seco de chivo' is often an option.
While 'seco' means 'dry', this dish is actually a type of stew made from goat. Yum.
'Almuerzo del dia' means 'Lunch of the day'.
These are fixed-price lunches, usually between US$1 to US$1.50, that are available in markets and small local restaurants.
The lunch includes soup, a main course of rice and meat, dessert and a cup of drink like juice or syrup of some sort (possibly mixed with questionable water). Usually, the meat is not of good quality, and the menu is preselected. Well, it fills the tummy, that's the most important for budget-conscious.
I normally take a peek at the local market to see if there is anything interesting.
The Mercado 24 de Mayo has a section where they serve lunch for about US$1 with rice, a piece of meat and some salad. There are many stalls to choose from, but I reckon they are all more or less the same. I supposed just follow the locals and join them at the most popular one. The food is not fantastic, but it is filling and very cheap indeed.
Ecuador is one of South America’s more interesting culinary countries though much like its brethren it is a bit lacking with regard to vegetarian choices. For those who love meat, potatoes, and fish it’s a paradise. Oh, and don’t forget the corn. Corn is king in Ecuador, especially in the highlands. If there were ever a people who knew how to utilize corn, the Andeans are surely them. Be sure to try humitas, a corn based dumpling of sorts wrapped in a leaf and served with coffee for breakfast or as a snack. Llapingachos (potato pancakes) are another great street food. They are generally roaring hot so safe to eat. Okay, so the old woman serving them may not have washed her hands recently but for fifty cents and something so tasty, it's worth the chance.
Favorite Dish: Restaurants in Ecuador range from the simplest side walk affair to four stars and don’t let price be your only guide as you’ll miss lots of great food by passing by street food. Health-wise, Ecuador seems to be a more sanitary place than many other South American countries. In six weeks neither of us got really sick with only myself getting so much as a minor stomach problem.
Please enjoy restaurant tips on my individual city/province pages. If there’s one thing I’m always on the lookout for it’s authentic local foods!
The food at Creta is one of the best in Cuenca, well presented, delicious and reasonable. The atmosphere is posh and modern, with a bar area that is has very comfortable chairs you could sit in for hours. The tables, dressed with white linen are also nice as well as the service, attentive. This restaurant is a gem you don't expect to find within a mall.
Favorite Dish: The duck, our favorite, though probably the most expensive ($16.00) on the menu, but well worth the price if you enjoy the bird. It melts in your mouth, is very moist and seasoned well. My husband and I were very impressed, thinking "this chef knows what he's doing".
The newly opened International Food Restaurant Huauki. Chefs are Japanese who have much experience of international food from japanese, Thai, chinese, Vietnam, Mexican, and Ecuadorian. The space of the restaurant is quite amazing. You take your shoes off before entering and sit down on the floor. Just enjoy good music and atomosphere. Drinks are cheap and foods are various. I am sure you would love it. I am sure I would come back!!
Favorite Dish: Spring roll which has shrimp, cucumber, and noodles inside rounded by rice. It was very very good. I would not mind paying to eat this good food.
Whilst I was in Mindo I used to visit the Don Pan Panaderia (Bakery) like three or more times a day ... they have excellent bread and really tasty cookies!! They also make some incredible pizza. This place is ideal for those much sought after snacks in between activities, and even for something quick to grab for breakfast.
Favorite Dish: The cookies and pizza are simply awesome
Lovers of raw fish will be at their ease in Equator, for ceviche is widely available, as it is almost all along the Pacific coast of America. Ceviche consists of raw fish marinated in lemon juice, tomato and onion. The main vaireties are made with shrimps and with black clams from the mangroves.
Favorite Dish: The good news for people who cannot stand very spicy food is that, unlike in Mexico, the chili sauce (ají) is served separatedly from the ceviche in Equator, so can you serve yourself if you like.
They provide also popcorn and roasted corn to be mixed with the juice.
Traveled thur Quito on a Eco Tourism trip. The Marriott was unforgetable. Beautiful hotel in every...more
When we arrived at the Hotel Victoria after our early morning flight from Quito it was only 9.00 am,...more
Av. de las Amazonas, Banos, 2000, Ecuador
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Business
More Regions in Ecuador