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Sep 10, 2008 05:37 PM

Quito, Ecuador suggestions .. also Guayaquil

Heading to both cites during Thanksgiving week. I'm looking for any and all suggestions: upscale? Street food? Surprises? Thanks!

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  1. Ok - I'm scared now. NO ONE has responded???? Better bring cereal.

    6 Replies
    1. re: foodie08

      Have you searched for earlier threads? There seem to be a couple each year. have you check the Bizare Foods web site for notes from Andrew's visit?
      Laylita's web site won't give you ideas about restaurants, but will give you an idea of what 'tipico' (typical) Ecuadorian food is like.

      1. re: paulj

        Hi, we were in Quito in April before I trip to the Galapagos. The breakfast buffet at the Swissotel is amazing. We are still talking about it. The restaurant is called Cafe Quito. We stayed at the hotel and thought the service and food were just terrific. There is a restaurant across the street from the hotel which is frequented by business people. It is called La Choza.
        They serve excellent Ecuadorian food. Have a wonderful time in Quito. Take it easy once you get off the plane...the altitude adjustment really hits you for about 24 hours.

        1. re: paulj

          I just flew in from Ecuador today and will create reviews of our trip soon but we had meals at Zazu, Alma Concina and lunch at El Ventenal. We had lunch but I recommend dinner. The views at EV were stellar and a great menu. We had an app and drinks at Cafe Mosaico. I recommend CM for drinks around 6:30 PM. . ....dinner at Zazu was pretty amazing..The Peruvian flare of Chef Alex was imaginative and unique. This place was HOPPING. We were treated the best at Alma Cocina where were seated at the chef's table andhad too many special extras onumerous to mention. I had 6 course tasting menu and my teen managed 7 courses. I am posting soon here and on

          A must is Cafe Valez to buy coffee and chocolate..more info to come..we landed at 1 today..

        2. re: foodie08

          I was in Quito for a few days in July but didn't manage to hit anything terribly Chow-worthy (too tired and busy sightseeing, really) - had delicious pineapple margaritas with enchiladas/tacos etc at a small place close to my hotel (Hotel Rio Amazonas), but can't recall the name for the life of me. Enjoy Quito though, it's dead cheap by North American standards (if that's where you're from), and good, cheap drinks (like excellent caipirinhas) were easy to come by.

          1. re: foodmaven

            Whew! Thanks to all for your input... How was the Rio Amazonas?

            1. re: foodie08

              Having spent 2 1/2 weeks in budget hotels before my arrival, Rio Amazonas was amazing. Very much a business class hotel, and the (included) hot and cold buffet breakfast was fantastic.

        3. Guayaquil is not a foodie destination. But we enjoyed lunch at La Canoa in the Hotel Continental. It seemed to be a big destination for locals at lunchtime. Inexpensive, good Ecuadorian food and great people watching.

          People had suggested Lo Nuestro to us as the best upscale restaurant, but we never made it over there. I'd be surprised if you found any memorable food in Guayaquil, but if you do, please post about it!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Shawn

            I'm from Ecuador, and although I cannot recommend any particular spots (I tend to stuff myself on my grandmother's cooking while there!), Guayaquil is a HUGE food city! There are huge differences between the coastal cuisine and the mountain cuisine, with the former (Guayaquil) focused on fresh seafood and fruits. If you are going all the way to Ecuador, please don't bypass this wonderful opportunity!

            To the OP, have fun! Ecuador is a great country to visit!

          2. For street food in Guayaquil, try the salchipapas - an odd combination of french fries and hot dogs, stuff I was never fond of, but somehow on the street, they're great.

            Be sure to try some naranjilla juice, it's absolutely yummy!

            I lived in Guayas province from 1988-90, so any restaurant I went to is likely gone by now.

            Enjoy your trip, I'm jealous!

            1 Reply
            1. re: tracylee

              I was just there for work last week (my mom is also from there). In Guayaquil, I just ate at homes of friends and family, so no restaurant recommendations. However, just by the quality and diversity of ingredients I ate in these homes (not to mention the impecable preparation), I can assure you that Ecuador is most certainly a food destination.

              In Quito, try these: Lo Nuestro (Ecuadorean -- same restaurant as the original in Guayaquil), Zazu (Peruvian), El Rincon Frances (French style, Ecuadorean ingredients), Cafe Tianguez (old city cafe and art gallery on Plaza San Francisco is a good place for canelazos -- Quito's version of the hot toddy that warms you up on the city's chilly nights), Cafe Los Mosaicos (more for the view than the food). Other than the two cafes, my suggestions are mostly upscale but still a good price compared to US restaurants. Entrees top out at $20 US. Service, ambience, food are excellent at these places. Just remember that lunch is the main meal and starts around 2:00 PM. That's when the best people watching is. Also, just like in your city, some of the best restaurants do not necessarily cook regional fare, so don't be afraid to try non-Ecuadorean restaurants.

              That being said, here are some traditional Ecuadorean foods:
              --Tropical fruit ice cream (all of the flavors at any ice cream stand at least twice a day)
              --Pangora (stone crab)
              --Pan de Yuca and Yogurt smoothies (at any of the stands around the city)
              --Soups (locro de papa especially)
              --Encocado de pescado o camaron (a coastal dish that you will find in Guayaquil -- kind of like a Thai coconut curry but not spicy)
              --Cuy/Guinea Pig (it's worth saying you ate it although it's not especially interesting; probably better to eat it in the highlands outside of the major cities, which is where the guinea pig farms are; order it deep fried)
              --Salchipapas (I agree that these are surprisingly delicious)
              --Bolon de Verde
              --Carne asada con menestra de lentejas

              Enjoy! And use your hotel concierge. In my experience they have always been very knowledgeable and helpful. And they'll give you addresses because I don't have any. Sorry.

            2. Hi, I hope you had a good trip and that you bring back recs for us Chowhounds! I would have resoonded prior to your trip if I had come across this posting. On a recent trip to Quito I tried various Ecuadorian restaurants, all good, and definately not stingy on the lime as many places here in NYC. One of my favorites restaurants which happended not to be Ecuadorian, but rather Greek, was Cafe Mosaico. It was so weird eating Greek in Quito, especially since I live in Astoria, a neighborhood filled with Greek cafes and restaurants. The view from Mosaico is amazing as it overlooks Quito. The food was authentic and the service could not have been more warm and professional.

              I will be going back to Quito in the near future since we loved it so much. Any suggestions?


              1 Reply
              1. re: MellieGal

                I grew up in Ecuador and have been there recently quite a bit and I must say I love the view at Cafe Mosaico. However, I really have to disagree with your review on the quality of food. I've been there quite a few times and I believe that lunch is the best time to go (lunc his a big deal in Ecaudor, hence I'm assuming that good cooks prefer that shift). The last time I was there (october 2009) the food was absolutely terrible. I am usually able to finish something as simple as a burger or a pita, but I could deal with it. Everything was undersalted. To make it even worse the drinks were terrible as well. Also, I see the owners around all the time and they have an all-round douchebaggery aura. Which is so sad because the restaurant itself is gorgeous and, as we've mentioned, the view phenomenal! Hope the food and service has gotten better.

              2. While I`m too late for OP, maybe this will be helpful to others. In Quito, we enjoyed the following restaurants:

                - Zazu Quito: modern south american food, Peruvian influences. Quite enjoyed the tequenos and the desserts, among other good dishes

                - Cafe Mosaico: great view and nice cafe food with a Greek touch

                - Vista Hermosa: rooftop restaurant, the food is nothing special but the view is spectacular!

                SOme foods to try: tropical juices, llapingachos (potato pancake type thing with a host of sides), ceviches, empanadas... guinea pig if you`re into it!

                1 Reply
                1. re: bunnylicious

                  we went to Cafe Mosaico for drinks before Alma Cocina. We had a small app and did not love it..also the diners around us did not have anything that looked is more a drink kind of place IMHO..