Ecuadorian cuisine is not entirely mainstream, but it’s definitely the kind of cuisine worth exploring. Ecuador is known for its exotic fruits and incredible seafood, but the country can offer so much more on a plate. While there’s plenty of Ecuadorian dishes to be had while visiting the beautiful South American nation, Ecuador does offer options for those that are less adventurous when it comes to food. Either way, it’s safe to say that food tripping in Ecuador will be a good time for anyone. Here are the 10 best places you could eat at while spending some time in Ecuador.
1. Fried Bananas
First off, we’re already in if a restaurant is called Fried Bananas. As you might expect, Fried Bananas is a restaurant that serves Ecuadorian dishes, but that’s not all. They also serve Italian too. It’s basically the best of two worlds in one delicious fusion. The ceviche here is excellent, of course, as well as the fresh seafood. Of course, you can’t ever leave this restaurant without trying their namesake dish: fried bananas. They’re simply the best in Quito.
We love a great return to origin story, and Zazu is one excellent example. Chef Rafael Perez spent a great deal of his successful career in the United States, but he eventually decided to go back to South America and add flavor to the Ecuadorian plate. Zazu serves up contemporary Latin dishes with a tasty flair. Freshness is the highlight in Perez’s menu, and the Pisco Sour is a must to order with any dish.
3. Octava de Corpus
Located right in the heart of Quito is this amazing restaurant find. Octava de Corpus is one unique find. The food is more than excellent here, but it’s the staff that’s going to make you want to go back for more. Every dining experience at Octava is personal and memorable, and Octava’s owner Jaime designs it all. He also offers up his impressive vintage wine collection that boasts of over 200 bottles. Octava de Corpus serves up some American favorites, so it’s a must to visit if American is what you’re craving.
4. Café Dios No Muere
You probably never thought that you’d find New Orleans favorites on a menu in Quito, but here it is. Café Dios No Muere is in an outstanding location just behind the Santa Catalina, a 400-year old monastery. At this restaurant, you’ll find everything that New Orleans is famous for—po-boys, jambalayas, and other Cajun delights. It’s a totally unique experience to eat NOLA-centric dishes in Ecuador.
5. El Jardin
There’s no denying that Ecuador is one romantic country. The streets here are filled with historical buildings that tell of Ecuador’s rich history. If there were restaurant that evokes Ecuador’s romance, it would be El Jardin. Its name alone is quite dreamy. Located in Puyo, El Jardin serves up some of Oriente’s best ingredients, including Eastern Ecuador’s native cinnamon. El Jardin is the perfect place to feel nostalgic or feel magical—the food will certainly inspire you to do so.
6. Café Mariane
If you’re looking for another Ecuadorian fusion option, Café Mariane will give you fusion and more. French food in Baños, Ecuador is not easy to find, but Café Mariane has French and options. Fondues, pastas, and elegance are what come out on plates in this restaurant. Truly, there’s no other place like it in all of Ecuador, and many patrons come back for exactly that distinctive experience.
7. Delfin Magico
Located in Salango, Delfin Magico is known for plating up come of Ecuador’s finest seafood dishes. Ecuador has some incredible seafood, and Delfin Magico certainly knows what they’re doing. Featuring Ecuadorian seafood and Spanish flavors, Deflin Magico takes it all to another level complete with an entire underwater décor scheme. You can order anything from the menu—from the sea bass to the octopus—and you won’t be disappointed. Make sure to have some coffee at the end of your meal too. Delfin Magico serves up its own brand of Ecuadorian coffee, Café Salango.
Ceviche is not just a dish in Ecuador; it’s almost a way of life. Many people—even those that have to drive far—tackle the distance all the way to Bahia de Caraquez to visit this famous and much loved ceviecheria, Hermanacho. It has stood the test of time simply because it has the best ceviche hands down. This is saying a lot, also, considering that Ecuador is full of homes that have excellent ceviche recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation.
9. Lo Nuestro
If you’re going out for dinner, why not dine in a centuries-old Guayaquil mansion? You’ll enjoy the ambience, but you’ll love the food. Lo Nuestro’s specialty is seafood, and seafood is served here in pure Ecuadorian style. Lo Nuestro has become a local favorite over the years because of the variety of flavorful dishes they offer to guests. There’s even an entire section dedicated to rice and typical food for the less adventurous eater.
10. El Oasis
For the ultimate dining experience in Ecuador, the best place to go to would be El Oasis. This is a reservation-only restaurant, with just one seating reservation available per schedule. You wouldn’t even have to order from a menu, as the chef decides what to serve you and your party with a tasting menu. El Oasis serves ancestral ingredients local to the Andean region. If you want to taste the best Andean flavors out there, reserve a spot at El Oasis. The menu here changes regularly as well, so you’ll want to come back for another experience for sure.