street stalls: don't pass by street food
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!Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Food and Dining
El Maiz-CUENCA: Culinary art...
Walking down Calle Larga I stopped at the ruins of Todos los Santos. Looking up to my right I saw a beautiful beautiful balcony attached to a nicely decorated house. I had to take the photo so I went in and I was pleased to see the interior of the restaurant was equally pleasing. Wonderfully decorated, nice pale colors, happy atmosphere. Even the customers were smiling at me . I sat in the back yard balcony with the colourful little garden. When my order came I also had to take its picture so well presented. The taste was also satisfying and I quickly came to like the wonderful ladies, Eulalia and Maria, who tried to make everybody happy with their polite warmth and their smiling eagerness. They run the restaurant very efficiently and take care of every client as if they are their own friends. They have turned cooking to a culinary art, trying to combine their local products with the international idea of alimentation.
Prices are fine , around 6$ for the main dishes. You won't have to spend more than 8$ to make your stomach happy because the plate contains salad, vegetables rice or other things beside meat or fish you have ordered. This is common everywhere in Ecuador. Of course I should mention the cute little basket filled with baked corn – maiz tostado, in spanish – which justifies the restaurant's name and is so tasty that you can hardly stop before it is over...
Trout, beef (lomo), ceviche all plates are satisfying both to the eye and to the palate. I also tried quinua which is something like frumenty..quite interesting..
The building was originally a home of an old ecuadorian family and has been successfully converted to a pleasant restaurant, but you can still browse at the family items discretely exhibited in the beautiful corners or the colourful walls. Very nice! Even their flyers are works of art!
Click to see the food !!! and much more...
No se vaya de Cuenca sin disfrutar la comida y el ambiente de El Maiz. Todo es arte!Related to:
- Food and Dining
General tip: El almuerzo!
The cheapest and most local way to eat at lunch time consists in eating in little local restaurants and ordering the "almuerzo".
It consists of a main course, a drink (usually a fruit juice) and a dessert.
It's good, its' cheap and it's local.
It will cost between USD1 and USD3 depending on the restaurant and the city.
General tip: Cook yourself!
Another good and cheap way of eating in Ecuador (especially for diner) is to... cook yourself!
There are charming markets full of cheap and good food in every single town of Ecuador.
A lot of budget hotels for travelers offer kitchen facilities where you can cook your food.
A good approach to taste the numerous kinds of fruits and vegetable that Ecuador has to offer.
Rancho Chileno 1: The best empanadas in CUENCA !!!
Just next to the airport there is a very good restaurant. The quality of the food, the informal atmosphere, the rustic decoration and the tables in the space outside makes it worthy of a visit. Use it before or after the flight. Visit it even if you have arrived or are leaving by bus, as it is just 2 blocks from the main bus station on Avenida Espana. Have a meal, a drink or just a delicious “empanada” very typical in Ecuador. The international and traditional dishes are well cooked. The ceviches and prawn dishes are very tasty. Prices are between 1$ (for natural juices) and 6$ for the main dishes. The special beef dish costs 7$ and is really delicious.
There is also a second large space inside more formally decorated for special events.
The best is sitting outside on a sunny day munching the savoury food and watching the planes come and go...
The small street in front is called Elia Liut.
The owner Mayra Blandin L. will welcome you with a smile...
Click on the photo to see the empanadas...
Junto al aeropuerto un restaurante excellente con comida deliciosa y mesas afuera para disfrutar las mejores empanadas in Cuenca!Related to:
- Food and Dining
Rancho Chileno 2-CUENCA: for a romantic evening...
This is a very elegant restaurant with very good food and a romantic ambient. Candle lit tables, soft music and formal, delicate decoration makes it the perfect place for an unforgettable dinner with your sweetheart or a relaxed chat with your friends. Food is carefully cooked and involves international and local savours. Service is excellent and prices are surprisingly low for what it is. They are the same prices as its “brother” Ranch Chileno 1 near the airport. That is, main dishes around 6$, including both beef and seafood dishes, ceviches, prawns, shrimps, “lomo” and much more.
It's been recently renovated and has a huge upper floor hall for group dinners and special events.
It is also near the airport , just 80 meters further on Avenida Espana, on the same side of the street.
It's part of the traditional house of a respectable family of Cuenca.
Click on the photo.
Un restaurante con comida excelente, servicio impecable, ambiente formal y romantico. El mejor lugar para pasar un tarde inolvidable. Sala grande al segundo piso para eventos especiales.Related to:
- Food and Dining
Cuy: a local delicacy
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.
General tip: Breakfast
I usually make my breakfast of an espresso and a cigarette...
But breakfast are very good in Ecuador and I did not miss even one while I was there!
Taste the fruit juices, they are incredible.
Forget about the coffee, however, it is simply awful (I will not enter into economico-political discussions here, but for a coffee producer country, this is strange enough, isn'it?).
Restaurant “El Mirador” - VILCABAMBA: home made food
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!
1 more photo...Related to:
- Food and Dining
- Family Travel
La Terraza restaurant & Natural Yogurt-VILCABAMBA
La Terraza: What kept me going to this restaurant is the avocado salad with corn chips, called Aguacate! But the owner proudly claims he offers every kind of dish you can imagine, both local and international. They specialize in Mexican and Oriental food. The local meat dishes are extremely popular with locals.
Also try 'fahitas de pollo', 'tacos churrascos' and chicken on the grill.
Natural Yogurt: This a small bar-restaurant also in the Central Square. It serves several dishes but I only went there for a crepe or a good breakfast with natural yogurt and fresh fruit.
It is very popular both with locals and tourists.. The few tables outside are always full.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Food and Dining
Don Pan Panaderia - Mindo: Simply tasty!
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 awesomeRelated to:
- Budget Travel
Bandera is an Ecuadorian meal with rice, different ceviches (shrimp, fish and concha) and guatita, a stew made of tripe (cow stomach).
The Bandera in the 1st photo is from Cevicheria El Sol de Manta in Latacunga. It was served with half an avocado and a bowl of popcorn. The Bandera and an orange juice was $8.50 (August 2011).
The Bandera in the 2nd photo is from Ceviches Pedro y Pablo in Quito. With this bandera only one ceviche was served, a mix of shrimp and concha. The Bandera was served with a bowl of popcorn and mote (maize) and a lemon drink. It was $5.00 (June 2011).
See below - Voir ci-dessous: Mompiche : Same range of prices - Les memes prix
Many "casas" sell some food, around the same prices : between 2 (filete de pescado)-3 (camarones) -4 or 5 (langostina) USD
-> In calle Fosforera :
- Resaurante Los Dos Hermanos (left when watching the beach)
- Florecita (right when watching the beach, close to the Gabeal)
-> In the main street :
- Comedor Margerita ("far" from the beach)
- Comedor Economica ("close" to the beach)
I tested all of them : they are OK !
Plusieurs baraques servent quelques plats, pratiquant les memes prix : 2 (filets de poisson), 3 (crevettes) et 4/5 (langoustines) USD :
-> dans la calle Fosforera :
- Resaurante Los Dos Hermanos (a gauche en regardant la plage)
- Florecita (a droite en regardant la plage, pres du Gabeal)
-> dans la rue principale :
- Comedor Margerita ("loin" de la plage)
- Comedor Economica ("proche" de la plage).
Je les ai testes : c'est bon !!
Favorite Dish: Filete de pescado, camarones fritos/en ajito, langostina.... !!Related to:
Humitas is a traditional dish from the highlands. They are often served together with coffee for breakfast or as an afternoon snack. Humitas are made of ground corn which is mixed with eggs, and often cheese and onions as well. The dough is then wrapped and tied in a corn husk and steamed. The humitas are often a bit sweet.
I have tried humitas three times, twice at Café Chapineros in Quito and once for breakfast at Santa Lucia Eco Lodge. I’m not very fond of humitas, but think it is something I will like better if I eat it more often.
Set lunch - Almuerzo
At lunch time many restaurants have a set lunch menu including a soup (sopa), a main dish (segundo) and a small dessert (postre). For the main dish there is often a choice, but not always. A fruit drink is also included. For the set lunches (almuerzos) I usually paid $2 - 3 (June, July, August 2011). The quality of the food can vary.
The first photo is from Pumapungo in Cuenca. For $2 you get a soup, a main plate, a desert and a juice. The first time I ate here I also got a bowl of Mote de Maíz and the second time I had lunch here (yes, I came back another day because it was a good lunch) I got a bowl of popcorn.
Photo 2 is from another good lunch restaurant El Copihue Rojo in Latacunga. Before the soup a small starter was served. Then I got the soup and the main course. The main course was rice, chicken and some vegetables. For dessert there was a small piece of canned fruit. It was a good set lunch and absolutely worth the money.
I usually keep notes of my expenses just to see how much money I spend during the holiday (and it is also good when writing tips on VT). But this lunch I have forgotten to write down. I can’t remember how much it was, but it was not more than $3.
Photo 3 is from a not so good restaurant. On Espejo, down from Plaza Grande in Quito, there are three neighbouring restaurants with outdoor tables on the pedestrian street. It was a nice day and I wanted to sit outside eating lunch, so I headed here. I found a table at the restaurant advertising almuerzos (lunches) for $2. The soup was okay, but the main course with a piece of leathering meat didn’t taste good at all. All set lunches I have eaten in Ecuador ,before this and after, have tasted better. The food was not good but the location was good for people watching.
Photo 4 is from a small restaurant on Av Amazonas in Quito. There were two different soups to chose from and I had the chicken soup. For the main course I chose carne de res (beef), but there was also chicken and pork available. For desert there was a small piece of watermelon and to drink tamarind juice. For $2 dollars it was a good meal!
Photo 5 is from Puerto Villamil in Galapagos Islands where I had almuerzo at one of the restaurants on the west side of Parque Central. First I got a soup (sopa de carne) and then a plate with fried fish, rice and some salad. Included in the price was also a juice. The price for the lunch was $3 and it was so much better than the lunch I had had the previous day (a sandwich and coca-cola for the same price).Related to:
- Budget Travel
Traveled thur Quito on a Eco Tourism trip. The Marriott was unforgetable. Beautiful hotel in every...more
Have stayed here several times - always recommended by my wife's family. It's easy to get to and...more
Av. de las Amazonas, Banos, 2000, Ecuador
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