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Jun 8, 2006 01:51 AM

Dining suggestons in Quito, Otavalo, Cuenca, Guayaquil, Ecuador

  • j

Will be traveling in Ecuador July 1-15, and have approximately 3-4 days in each city. I'm interested in recommendations for great places to eat, moderate to high prices as well street vendor type locations. Possible cultural events with food as part of the experience??
Thanks in advance.

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  1. I just got back from 5 months in Ecuador but I don't have too many recs for high end or even midrange places since I barely went to any. Whenever I could, I ate lunches and often dinners in small places with set meals. Usually a lunch cost between 1 and 3 dollars, including soup, main dish, juice and sometimes dessert. Where will you be staying in Quito? There is one simple lunch place that I liked in the Mariscal Sucre, on Foch between JL Mera and Amazonas. If you are staying in other neighborhoods (like Old Town or higher up in New Town) there are tons of other places...look for ones with lots of people.

    Also in Mariscal Sucre I tried a place called Xacao, which in a little plaza at the corner of Foch and Reina Victoria. They serve all sorts of chocolate drinks and desserts. I tried the iced chocolate, very very rich and good. Definitely worth trying. My friend tried it made with coconut ice cream, which was also very good.

    In both Guayaquil and Quito (but especially Guayaquil) look for small chains that sell yogurt and pan de yuca. They even have two chains at Guayaquil Airport, Naturissimo and Yogurt Persa. There are other chains too, and also non-chain places.

    Walking down Av 10 de Agosto in Guayaquil the other day, we noticed that EVERYONE was eating fried empanadas, which seemed to be sold on every corner...we tried a chicken one and a meat one, the chicken one was better.

    I never went to Cuenca, but I have a friend who spent some time living there who recommended a few places:

    Tutto Freddo's Ice Cream (Main plaza next to Cathedral)
    Moliendo Cafe: Colombian food
    El Paraiso: Fruit cups, smoothies, next to iglesia San Blas
    Tres Estrellas: Apparantly a good place to try cuy (guinea pig) if you are interested in that

    Cacao y Canela Cafe: Good place for chocolate drinks and snacks.

    I haven't been to Otavalo in a super long time so I don't really have too many recs.

    In general, food in Ecuador isn't incredibly interesting (in my opinion), but there are some good things to try. Definitely drink lots of juice (melon, mora, strawberry, pineapple, passion fruit, guiaba, Quaker (made with oatmeal), naranjilla, tomate de arbol (unless you hate it like me). A common thing to buy on the street or on buses is salchipapas, french fries with little hot dogs which assuming they are freshly fried should be fine to eat. Pinchos (meat and veggies and plantains on a stick) are also popular, although beware of the mayonaise they often use...feel free to email me if you have any more questions, although hopefully others will post about more upscale places, esp in Quito and Guayaquil. david AT j p c R DOT c om

    Dave M.P.

    1. Here are some more Quito thoughts, and my mention of Otavalo.