Outside seating!

Outside seating!
Enjoy your day with us

jueves, 30 de julio de 2015

Quito's 10 Best Cultural Restaurants: Ecuadorian Eats and Fine Dining

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 Bananas

It 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


After 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 Corpus

Octava 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 Muere

Cafe 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 Jérôme

Chef 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 Pizzeria

Cosa 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

Cosa Nostra
© Cosa Nostra


Alexander 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 Central

Shopping 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 Gangotena

Casa 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 Mecànica

With 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
By Oreste Giorgio Spinelli

Ecuador’s Dark Secret: World Class Coffee



When you think of coffee and where it’s grown, countries like Brazil and Colombia are usually what come to mind. And why not... Brazil is the world’s largest coffee exporter with up to one third of all coffee produced in a good year. Colombia is also a major exporter, and has benefited from a series of successful marketing campaigns (can you say “Juan Valdez”?) to boost their coffee’s reputation. Not many would mention Ecuador, yet this small Andean country was once one of the world’s leading coffee exporters.

That was then, and this is now. Other producers, blessed with greater amounts of arable land and better processing, transportation and shipping systems, have outpaced little Ecuador. Even so, Ecuador’s coffee-growing tradition stretches back to the early 19th century and the country’s best coffee ranks with the best in the entire world. The mountainous province of Loja is where prized Arabica coffee is grown, while the lowland provinces of Manabi, Guayas, and the eastern jungle province of Amazonas produce Robusta coffee. Robusta is usually sold to large commercial roasters for processing into name brand blends. The upland Arabicas display that distinctive Ecuadorian taste that coffee aficionados treasure: slightly acidic with overtones of cocoa and cardamom.

Some of the things that have until now kept Ecuador’s coffee out of the limelight are now being turned to its advantage. Most Ecuadorian coffee is grown on small farms. Fertilizer and pesticides are used in relatively low amounts compared to growers in other countries. In the past, this has restricted the volume of coffee grown in Ecuador, but today’s specialty buyers see these practices as being good selling points. Organic coffee sales are on the rise, as is the popularity of coffee grown on “estates” as opposed to anonymous blends. The higher prices these types of coffee bring helps farmers improve their processing methods, and at the same time the Ecuadorian government is steadily improving roads and ports so that coffee grown in the uplands can get down to the shipping ports without losing its quality and freshness. Next time you’re shopping for a specialty coffee, try one from Ecuador... you’ll find that Juan Valdez isn’t the only one who knows the secret of growing great “mountain grown” coffee!

jueves, 23 de julio de 2015

Perla Negra – How a Specialty Estate in Ecuador Transformed the Lives of a Community

In 2010, Magda Zabala traveled from La Perla, a tiny community in the Northwest of Quito, to the Ecuadorian capital. The trip was about two and a half hours. There she went to a bank to acquire a loan. As a farmer, she needed a little credit to provide for her family until the next harvest. In a largely rural country like Ecuador, providing loans for farmers isn’t uncommon, and the creditor went about assessing Doña Zabala’s credit potential.
“Where is the farm located?” he asked.
“In La Perla,” she responded.
“And what do you cultivate there?” asked the banker.
“Coffee,” said Zabala.
The banker paused and looked up from his computer. “Are you sure?”
Perla Negra is proof that you don’t need the most high-tech equipment, just a commitment to quality.
A hidden gem
Communities like La Perla, which is one of many small coffee farms in the Northwest region of Quito, are a bit of a hidden gem. Coffee has been cultivated in Ecuador for generations, but only recently—in the past five years or so—has it been grown in the metropolitan district of Quito (otherwise known as Pichincha). Even now, many Quiteños aren’t aware that specialty coffee is being cultivated a short distance from their city, despite the fact that in the few short years of production the region has racked up numerous national prizes and even made a few international appearances in barista competitions.
So if back in 2010, that banker wasn’t aware (despite being a person supposedly familiar with the agricultural tendencies of the country) that coffee was planted a short distance from his office, he might be forgiven; at that point there was only one farm with the stuff: Perla Negra.
The first seeds of a movement—how coffee farming began in La Perla
Magda Zabala and Olger Rogel arrived from Loja to La Perla in 1994. Although Loja has long been a coffee-producing region in Ecuador, the couple hadn’t worked with the plant before. Yet in La Perla, Orgel began working at an experimental coffee lab run by Nestlé and learned the ins and outs of managing the crop. Then in 2007, as coffee prices were rapidly heading north, they decided to take a risk and plant some of their own. They were the first farmers in the region to do so.
From the beginning, quality was the priority. Instead of cultivating in the traditional style—lower quality, disease-resistant varieties, ad hoc fertilization and pest control, and disorganized processing—the family took the specialty coffee route, planting only quality varieties such as Bourbón, Tipica, and Caturra. They followed rigorous care schedules for their plants, and employed precise processing methods with an emphasis on traceability—individual lots, even of the same variety, were kept separate throughout the entire process.
Coffee lots
Lots are spread thin and kept separate
It’s little surprise, then, that soon after their plants had matured to the point of producing coffee, they entered and placed in the national cup competition. It’s also not surprising that their neighbors, after seeing the success of Perla Negra’s coffee—and the higher prices it attained—soon planted their own coffee. What is surprising is how much impact that change has brought to the little community.
Cultivating a community, cultivating an industry
La Perla is small and somewhat isolated in the Northwest Region, but it’s also clean and healthy, thanks to coffee. Walking down the road you pass well-kept, well-built houses instead of the smoky, ramshackle huts that characterize some coffee-producing regions—and La Perla, before the arrival of coffee. With the higher income that coffee brings in, local people have been able to rapidly and completely transform their lives. All this was done independently, as the government has only recently taken an interest in the region and the commercial possibilities coffee presents.
Indeed, Perla Negra’s biggest achievement is not its award-winning coffee. Rather, it’s introducing coffee to hundreds of families, proving that coffee is a viable option for local farmers, and demonstrating proper methods for the care and processing of coffee. In fact, Olger and Magda run a nursery and distribute young plants throughout the region, so either directly or indirectly, all of the coffee plants being farmed in the Northwest Region can trace their origins back to Perla Negra.
Still, it’s one thing to cultivate coffee; it’s another thing to cultivate a world-class reputation, which is the goal of Perla Negra and the region’s producers. You might expect that the very recent introduction of coffee production to the area would lead to growing pains. However, the couple has been able to turn the youth of this movement into an advantage. In historically coffee-producing regions it can be difficult to make the switch from engrained concepts and habits of tradition to the higher quality and traceability demanded by specialty coffee. in the Northwest Region of Quito, however, the blank slate status meant that sound practices have been the norm from day one. Coffee education is easier than coffee re-education.
Coffee plants in Ecuador
Perla Negra has literally seeded the entire region with specialty coffee plants
Keeping it local
While Magda and Orgel’s attention is never far from the communities that they lead, as more producers emerge for newer farmers to go to for advice and support, they are now turning their focus back to their own coffee.
Forming long-term, international partnerships to export your coffee is key to any producer’s success as a specialty coffee farmer, and Perla Negra is no exception. Still, the pair are also cognizant of their role in developing the nascent Ecuadorian coffee market and have invested themselves in supplying the local market as well. You can now find Perla Negra coffee in cafés around Quito. Some of it is roasted by veteran specialty roasters, such as Café Velez, but increasingly Orgel himself is roasting the coffee out on the farm.
All of this is supported by their daughter, Lupe. As an experienced cupper, she helps evaluate the farm’s coffee from start to finish. As a barista, she makes use of her family’s coffee as when, for example, she placed third in the 2014 National Barista Championship of Ecuador. This total integration of the coffee process, from seed to cup, is only possible in a coffee producing country, and Perla Negra has taken full advantage of it.
Espresso in Perla Negra
Don’t let the smile fool you—Lupe is a true competitor. Her espressos are plenty sweet though
A region transformed
These days, it’s difficult to imagine Magda Zabala sitting in that banker’s office, being told she must be mistaken about growing coffee in La Perla. Now the area is lush with the dark green leaves of coffee. As both farmers and cuppers have discovered, the climate, altitude, and soil are ideal for the plant. Furthermore, the government has noticed the success Perla Negra helped to foster and is stepping in to help promote the coffee with its Cafe de Quito initiative as well as assisting farmers with subsidies and technical support.  And while Ecuadorian coffee still doesn’t have the international recognition of countries like Guatemala or Kenya, it is fast developing a reputation for its high-quality and unique varieties, like Cidra and SL-28.
It’s doubtful that Orgel and Magda could have imagined how much Quiteñan coffee would grow when they planted those first seedlings back in 2007. Now, a short eight years later, other producers from the region are carrying the coffee to international fame. But Orgel and Magda will always have the satisfaction of knowing that they planted the first seed, right here in Perla Negra.
coffee harvesting in Quito
Doña Zabala shows off this year’s harvest
Written by Z. Latimore and edited by T.Newton

Learn About Organic and Fair Trade Chocolate

Ecole Chocolat


miércoles, 22 de julio de 2015

Papa Francisco in Ecuador........

The Pope comes to visit Café Dios No Muere for all of us sinners here....Mea Cupla Mea Culpa MEA Maxima Culpa