So my journey through Ecuador has finally come to an end and it’s time to reflect upon one of my favorite parts of the entire trip, the FOOD! I am the biggest food lover and I’m excited to share with you eight of my favorite eats and treats from the beautiful country of Ecuador.
Ecuador is a wondrous country filled with lush land and thriving agriculture. It’s common to drive past banana plantations with acres of banana trees ripe for the picking. Their variety of fruits and vegetables help give them a cuisine that is uniquely their own. And if you get tired of Ecuadorian fare, there are plenty of other international options to try too! I’ve rounded out my 8 favorite dishes, treats, and restaurants in different regions of the country. Prepare to salivate (and hopefully book a plane ticket to try them out for yourself).
8. Pollos Al Carbon in Downtown Quito
A little hole in the wall that stole my heart. The ladies running this restaurant were so sweet and hospitable and the food was delicious and inexpensive. It’s no wonder this spot is frequented by school aged teens needing a quick bite to fill their stomachs. My group and I shared a whole rotisserie chicken, a family style bowl of rice, a liter of soda, individual chicken soups, and munched on yucca con queso (these delicious potato-like balls made from yucca root stuffed with cheese and fried). This spread cost us a total of $20 bucks including the tip! Split between 5 people that’s a $4 meal. Yummy traditional and inexpensive Ecuadorian fare.
On my group trip, we had one person that was strictly vegetarian. It worked out well for me because I love fresh vegetables and food. He did an amazing job at scouting out vegetarian friendly restaurants like La Cuchara de San Marcos. Located is located near tourist spots in Quito, it’s in close proximity to clubs, popular cafes, and this restaurant even has it’s own gift shop.
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6. Cafe Good in Banos
Not be confused with Casa Hood which found a spot on my list, this is another vegetarian hotspot. This popular tourist cafe is located in Banos, Ecuador. They feature fresh vegetarian dishes with inspiration from all of the world. I honestly thought their food was mediocre compared to some of the other restaurants we visited. But I really enjoyed the live music. One big no-no I can’t help to mention is that they served salsa with Doritos instead of tortilla chips. No bueno. Good Authentic Mexican food is few and far between in Ecuador.
5. Hope Resto Bar & Grill in Montanita, Ecuador
Hands down my favorite destination of the entire two week Ecuador adventure was Montanita beach. This tourist gem is filled with good vibes, friendly people, and lots of sun. We dined at Hope Resto Bar & Grill on our second night. The menu has a large variety of crepe options (crepes are very popular in this town), vegetarian options, and of course ceviche! This made the #5 spot for having the best queso we experienced during the entire trip. Yum!
4. Breakfast at Dharma Beach in Montanita, Ecuador
Dharma Beach Hotel is probably the fanciest lodging on the beach in Montanita. It’s middle eastern architecture stands out among the sea of backpacker lodges. And even if you can’t afford their $100 per night stays, you can still relish in the awesome beach front view at their restaurant. It’s open to anyone and we ate breakfast here two mornings in a row. They offer filling breakfast options that are in the $5 range but most of the plates cost a few dollars more. I settled for the American breakfast which comes with eggs, hash browns, fresh fruit, bread, coffee, and juice. They also offer great vegetarian options as well. Check out their menu here.
4. Central Food Truck Park in Quito, Ecuador
I never expected food trucks to be a thing in Ecuador. To my surprise, a friend introduced us to Central, a covered food truck park that features internationally inspired cuisine. With it’s modern aesthetics and socially inviting ambiance, it’s easy to see why Central is such a hot spot. Situated across the street from Hotel Quito, expect a mixture of Ecuadorian fare among Italian, and Mexican. This spot also features foosball, a pool table, and a bar. The food is just ‘ok’ but if you are looking for a place with a more modern feel, Central is the place!
3. Plantas y Blanco Restaurant in Banos, Ecuador
This made the list as much as for it’s ambiance as for its AMAZING Happy Hour Special. We dined here on our first night in Banos and were stunned by the hookah lounge feel. It was so cozy and relaxing. The perfect place to end your day. Expect to take off your shoes upon entering as it is the policy. Seating is on the floor with pads and the furnace in the center of the room keeps everyone quite toasty so dress lightly. The Happy Hour gets you some of their signature cocktails at a two for 1 price of about $4-$5. And the drinks are good!
2. Zumo in Banos, Ecuador
There’s a reason why Banos keeps showing up on this list. This small town caters to tourists and is filled with activities any adventure lover would die to experience. We ate at Zumo as part of a Canyoning excursion we did with travel agency Imagine Ecuador (highly recommend this company). The menu is fresh and features a array of sushi options. The owner is a charismatic fellow who speaks several languages (self-taught) and he’s happy to chat you up during your travels. This restaurant is an absolute must try for fresh delicious cuisine made with heart.
- Casa Hood in Banos, Ecuador
Owner Ray Hood is a long time resident of Ecuador but he’s originally from the states. This restuarant was so good we dined here TWICE during our stay in Banos. The first night I had the Nasi Goreng a thai flavored dish of rice, chicken, and mixed vegetables. This dish is almost too good. Other staples on the menu are the fajitas, chicken soup, and any of their wonderful fresh pressed juice combos.
There were so many tasty treats to experience on this trip that I wanted to give a nod to some other stand out eats.
It was shocking how popular fresh pressed juice was in this country. It’s a staple at most restaurants and they even sell it on street corners. I will warn to only drink juice from places that use purified water.
Fries in Cone from Poutin
I ate here solo in between shopping trips at Otavalo market. This fun fast food-esque restaurant is the perfect street food. Select your size and watch them top you cone of fries with toppings of your choosing. A small cone (pictured) is $1 and you can choose between carne (pork), or chicken, guacamole, and queso. Yum!
A traditional Ecuadorian meal, this dish is loaded with huge Shrimp and a heft portion of rice with veggies thrown in. It’s like a seafood fried rice. It’s tasty, gives you plenty of carbs to fuel your day of travel and it’s relatively cheap. I paid $4 for a plate and a bottle of water. Not bad at all.
This trip was such a culinary experience. And I only got sick once! Woohoo! If you are headed to Ecuador be sure to stay tuned for my next travel post where I’ll touch on some of the highlights of our trip! That post should be up later this week. Stay tuned! What’s been your favorite travel dish thus far? Please share in the comments section.