Ecuador does not necessarily have a reputation for fine dining, unlike its South American neighbor, Peru. However, you won’t be disappointed by the foodie possibilities in the Southern Ecuadorian town of Cuenca. In recent years some really excellent restaurants have sprung up here, and there are options to suit people looking for all kinds of different cuisines. There is a lot of choice and with little time you’ll want to pick out the best places to each while in Cuenca on your vacation. We hope that our recommended list of restaurants for dining in Cuenca will be helpful in deciding where to go. Note, most of the fine dining options detailed below have been chosen for their high standard of local/Ecuadorian menus, but there are also plenty of other possibilities in Cuenca.
El Mercado is an obvious choice for one of our top fine dining restaurants in Cuenca. El Mercado means “the market”. While we would recommend you take a visit to the actual market, this restaurant is something different and is not to be missed. The culinary selection here is Ecuadorian and contemporary and the food is of an excellent standard, and vegetarians can find options to suit the here. Ingredients are fresh, local and seasonal. Some of the tables have views over the river, and the aesthetic that the restaurant is going for is described as “retro-chic but at the forefront of elegance and sophistication”. Enjoy a camembert fondue to start, or a seafood board, followed by goat stew, beef steak, rock sea bass or orange salmon, and perhaps an ice cream tasting for dessert. As you might expect from a place like this, the service is top notch too.
Casa Alonso is widely considered to be one of the best restaurants in Cuenca. It is part of the Mansion Alcazar hotel, which is renowned for luxury. The menu here includes a range of different Ecuadorian dishes including options such as shrimp ceviche and smoked trout. The restaurant is high class, with an atmosphere, furnishings and cutlery to match. Every plate is delightfully presented, and the service is outstanding. The restaurant is accommodating in terms of different kinds of diets, and visitors have praised the help they have received in getting gluten-free options, among others. The wine list also deserves a mention. Instead of having a full meal here you could also consider swinging by for tea and sweets in the afternoon.
Dos Sucres is recommended for its delicious flavors that incorporate healthy eating. The cuisine is Ecuadorian but with a modern interpretation. The restaurant is tireless in investigating local food and ingredients and bringing them onto the menu in new and innovative ways. Care is taken with every dish and the fusion style appeals to many visitors. The menu changes every day, but there is a good selection of dishes and there is also a tasting menu. If it happens to be on the menu when you go here, the encebollado is highly recommended here. This is tuna which comes with corn, onion, plantain chips and tomatoes. There are options for vegetarians and even vegans.
Tiesto’s offers great cuisine made from local ingredients and in a delicious, and at the same time, no nonsense way. The Ecuadorian food may be considered fine dining and includes traditional and vegetarian options. Tiesto’s has a reputation for excellent homemade salsas. The chef is friendly and welcoming and will make recommendations to diners. This is one of the factors that visitors enjoy over and over again at this friendly restaurant. The service is superb from the rest of the employees here as well. For those looking for a simpler meal, options like burgers are available as well. Save space for a dessert at this place!
If you fancy a taste of something a bit more familiar looking from your meal, you might want to consider checking out sophisticated and very highly rated Restaurant El Jardin. Both the food and the service can be described as elegant. Located in Hotel Victoria on the ground floor, this place offers European food with some good vegetarian options. You could have a delicious onion soup, followed by a salmon, pork or chicken entrée, or perhaps even some ravioli. The desserts here are delicious. This is a good spot for a romantic dinner, if that’s what you’re looking for.
This list is just a starting point – there are plenty of nice places to eat in Cuenca and indeed in Ecuador too. If trying out the best restaurants in the country is what you’d like to do on your trip, we can organize a customized trip to suit your needs. Why not get in touch with us to investigate how we can help you plan mouth-watering tour of the best food the country has to offer.