When you think of Ecuador, its delicious cuisine might not be the first thing to spring to mind. Yet Quito (and Ecuador more generally) boasts a massive range of restaurants and dining options suited to a wide variety of palates. Choosing a restaurant can be a challenge, given that there is so much choice in Ecuador’s capitol. We want to help, so here is our recommended list of best restaurants for dining in Quito. Note, most of these places are selected for their excellence in the Ecuadorian menu that they offer.
URKO prides itself on the opportunity it offers for you to “travel around the four regions” of Ecuador by trying the different cuisines from each at its fine restaurant. It is very proud of having been selected as one of the 50 best discovery restaurants worldwide. A visit to this place is fascinating as the menu is based around the concept of “Raymis” which are tributes to nature in the Andean agricultural calendar. With this in mind, the tasting menu is not to be missed, and it is packed with ingredients from the Andes, Coast and Amazon region, such as plantain, cheese, strawberries, avocado, soursop, egg, kale, pumpkin, yogurt and brioche. The staff offers excellent service and has a good command of English, which makes a visit here a less intimidating experience for those that have not yet mastered vacation-level Spanish.
Café Plaza Grande is named for its fabulous location, smack bang in the middle of Quito’s delightful historic center. The restaurant claims to be “dedicated to the pleasures of the traditional Ecuadorian cuisine, offering selections from every region, accompanied by traditional music and colors of the country”. The setting is tasteful, and the menu very extensive. As well as a fine selection of Ecuadorian favorites, there are also a handful of decent vegetarian options, for those that don’t enjoy such a meaty diet. From light snacks to fuller entrees, and delicious desserts, Plaza Grande has it all.
Ila is a small but delightful boutique hotel set in the heart of the old town of Quito. The restaurant is renowned for its superb food. Its chef trained under Gaston Acurio in both Quito and Peru, and this place offers a gastronomic experience not to be missed. Local specialties are what is to be enjoyed here, and you can try roast pork with potatoes and avocado (hornado) or maybe coconut and shrimp stew (encocado de camerones). The restaurant uses ingredients savored since ancient times, and from the Amazon, Andes and coastal regions of the country. Spend the morning in the old town and pop in for a treat of a lunch or wander the area in the afternoon and drop in for dinner.
Stylish but cozy Zazu is a wonderfully aesthetic place to spend an evening, as well as having the chance to enjoy some amazing treats. It offers an array of Latin food, sea food, international options and Ecuadorian specialties in tasty and original varieties. The restaurant has an excellent reputation and offers some exquisite Peruvian meals as well as those more local to Ecuador. This may be a good place for you to try the Andean specialty of guinea pig, which is very well served here. Alternatively, if you want to try a range of bits and pieces, why not go for the tasting menu? The service is quite simply, outstanding. You can find this place in the new town area of Quito.
Pims has a few branches to choose from in Quito, with one in Parque Itchimbia and another at the Panecillo (the angel on the hill, overlooking Quito’s old town. There is also one in the valley part of Quito, in the suburb of Cumbaya. The location at the Panecillo has tremendous views, which is one highlight of a visit here. Ecuadorian food is the name of the game here, and you can enjoy a feast of local cuisine. Try a tamale or empanada to start with, or a thick potato “locro” soup. You can also opt for mixed platters, and main dishes include beef, chicken and superb fish options such as trout and salmon. If you want something simple, burgers are available, and there is a small children’s menu as well. While meat eaters will find something they want here, it may be a bit trickier for vegetarians who do not have too many options on this extensive, but meat-heavy menu.
If what you’re looking for is something from a bit closer to home, La Burguesa may be the spot for you. Given the restaurant’s name, it will probably come as no surprise to you that one of the very best options on the menu here is the out-of-this- world delicious burger. Ecuadorians love this place in the new town of Quito, as it offers by far the best burgers country wide. The burger menu is fairly extensive, and you can get fries and salad too. You can choose how your burger is done, as well as the bread type and the flavors. Vegetarians will also not miss out as there are some tasty options for those that don’t eat meet. Visitors here rave about the sides, which include onion rings as well as Ecuadorian favorites of choclo and yuca ajo. Go on…give them a try!
Pepe Botella is a firm favorite among visitors in the know. The place has a great reputation for its atmosphere, and the interior is fun and funky. This is a great eatery in which to try out some of Ecuador’s signature dishes. Start with mixed “carnitas” or the restaurant’s local take on nachos, and continue with a choice of cervices, empanadas, bolones, and more. You can get sandwiches, or a more substantial entrée with fish or meat, depending on what you fancy. The service is also outstanding. The place is also known for its entertainment, and if you choose your night right you might get to enjoy some great live music too.
Dining is a real treat in Ecuador. We can offer customized trips that not only visit the most interesting sights, but also the best restaurants too, either in Quito, or country wide. Get in touch with us to investigate how we can help you plan your ultimate Ecuadorian culinary tour.