Ecuador has one of the most diverse
ecosystems of the world, from the Andes Mountains to
the Rainforest and
all the way to the coast with the stunning Galapagos Islands. This ecological variety provides for an incredible
selection of produce, meats and fish. This diversity is reflected in Ecuador’s
culinary scene where centuries-old traditions combine with the newest trends in
the capital. Eating out in Ecuador is a true cultural experience, especially in
these ten great restaurants in Quito.
Fried BananasIt might take some effort to find this restaurant hidden behind plaza Mariscal Foch, but those who endure are rewarded with delicious food and a lovely atmosphere. Fried Bananas offers all the traditional dishes of Ecuadorian cuisine: ceviche, fresh fish, soups and obviously fried bananas, a staple dish in local kitchens and dining rooms. With its expertly made specialties, generous portions and reasonable prices, Fried Bananas is the perfect choice for those who wish to take a break from the busy streets of Quito.
Fried Bananas, Mariscal Foch E4-150 y Av. Amazonas, Pichincha, Quito, Ecuador, +593 223 5208
ZazuAfter a brilliant career in the United States, Peruvian chef Rafael Perez brought his experience and unique talent to Zazu. The cuisine here can be described as contemporary with Latin influences: snow crab chevice, octopus parrilla and the excellent Pisco Sour cocktails are only some of the highlights of the menu. Chef Perez pays particular attention to using only the freshest fish and meats for his dishes and during August, lobster season in Ecuador, he prepares this crustacean delight in a number of different ways ranging from carpaccio to risotto and all the way to tempura. Another stunning feature of this venue is the wine cellar which, with its eight-metre-high glass ceiling, is one of the most beautiful in the country.
Zazu, Mariano Aguilera 331 & La Pradera, Quito, Ecuador, +593 2254 3559
Octava de CorpusOctava de Corpus is a one-of-a-kind dining experience. Situated in a colonial house in the historic centre of Quito, this restaurant surprises with its cuisine and incredible atmosphere. Owner Jaime welcomes his guests to his own house-cum-restaurant and, as the most refined of hosts, offers succinct and helpful advice on what to eat and drink, making the evening an incredibly memorable and personal experience. Jaime’s charisma transpires both through the cuisine and the eccentricity of the décor: every inch of Octava de Corpus’ walls is covered with artworks. At the end of the meal, Jaime will be more than glad to show his guests the incredible wine cellar and his private collection of more that 230 vintages.
Octava de Corpus, Calle Junín E2-167, Plaza de San Marcos, Quito, Ecuador, +593 295 2989
Cafe Dios No MuereCafe Dios No Muere is perhaps one of the most unexpected culinary surprises of Quito. Nestled behind the 400-year old monastery of Santa Catalina, this restaurant could easily be mistaken for one of New Orleans’ finest. Shrimp po-boys, Cajun-style yucca fries and jambalaya are all present on the menu as well as a wide selection of more traditional Ecuadorian dishes. Owner Matt brings his unique charm to the restaurant and always makes his guests feel at home, while Cafe Dios No Muere’s surprising blend of cultures brings Louisiana’s flavour to Quito.
Cafe Dios No Muere, La Esquina de Flores y Junin, Quito, Ecuador, +593 2257 1995
Chez JérômeChef Jérôme Monteillet’s love for Ecuador is apparent even in the meticulous attention he pours into every single dish he creates. Having spent more than 20 years in the country, chef Monteillet considers Ecuador his second home and describes himself as the most Latin-American French chef. Chez Jérôme is characterised by a sophisticated and elegant décor, complemented by the delicious food on offer. A wide selection of quality champagnes and wines, as well as the thought put into presentation and preparation, makes Chez Jérôme the ultimate French gourmet experience in Quito.
Chez Jérôme, Whymper N30-96 y Coruña, Quito, Ecuador, +593 2223 4067
Cosa Nostra Trattoria PizzeriaCosa Nostra Trattoria Pizzeria offers a taste of Italy in the centre of Quito. Although known mostly for its excellent oven-baked pizza Cosa Nostra’s menu is rich with traditional Italian delicacies. Perfectly al dente pasta alla Bolognese, olive ascolane, caprese salad, fried calamari and tiramisu are only some of the most popular dishes on the menu. Friendly service would be expected from an Italian restaurant but the owner of Cosa Nostra Trattoria Pizzeria goes above and beyond to make his guests feel welcome.
Cosa Nostra Trattoria Pizzeria, Baquerizo Moreno E7-86 y Almagro, Quito, Ecuador, +593 2224 4767
LuaAlexander Lau is somewhat of a celebrity chef in Quito, and his restaurant is one of the most renowned in the entire country. Lua is only a short walk away from La Mariscal, Quitos nightlife district, and specialises in Peruvian fusion cuisine. Dishes like the Italian-inspired Peruvian specialty tiradito parmesan (raw grouper fish served with a light Italian cheese sauce) or the soy-glazed tuna steak with ginger and pisco, are an expression of chef Lau’s Italian-Chinese heritage. The décor is pleasant and minimalistic enough not to steal focus from the dishes; at Lua, it’s the food that speaks for itself.
Lua, Pontevedra N24-422 y Francisco Salazar , La Floresta, Quito, Ecuador, +593 2511 2570
Mercado CentralShopping at the Mercado Central is the best way to feel like a local. This bustling market showcases the best that Ecuador has to offer in terms of fresh produce, fish, meats and even flowers. The three floors of the market are filled with stalls that sell some of the tastiest and most affordable dishes in Quito and it is here that one can enjoy the homemade flavours of traditional Ecuadorian soups, sausages and seafood. All these characteristics make Mercado Central a mandatory stop for all those wanting a taste of Quito’s authentic food scene.
Mercado Central, Ciudadela, Quito, Ecuador
Casa GangotenaCasa Gangotena is a luxurious hotel in a beautifully renovated colonial building in the centre of Quito. Ranking among the top hotels in the world, Casa Gangotena is an example of elegance and class, and the hotel’s restaurant mirrors these qualities perfectly. The art deco furniture and the gorgeous ceiling mural painted by Ecuadorian contemporary artist Lucía Falconí are only two of the elements that characterise this beautiful restaurant. From the Andes to the coast, Casa Gangotena’s menu showcases the fantastic variety of traditional Ecuadorian cuisine. Chef Andrés Dávila leads the kitchen, delighting his guests with the traditional flavours of his childhood, re-elaborated and re-invented with a contemporary flair.
Casa Gangotena, Simon Bolivar, Quito, Ecuador, +593 2400 8000
Naranjilla MecànicaWith a name that paraphrases Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, Naranjilla Mecànica (A ‘Little’ Clockwork Orange) is Quitos’ new place to be. This hip new restaurant attracts young crowds with its fun menu, live band performances and easygoing vibe. The décor is edgy and radical-chic, with red velvet chairs, metal tables and unique artwork displayed on the walls. The menu is printed on comic books and offers a number of delicious and expertly prepared cocktails. Naranjilla Mecànica is the perfect place to stop for a meal or to have drinks while mingling with Quito’s trendiest crowds.
Naranjilla Mecànica, Tamayo N22-43 y Veintimilla, Quito, Ecuador