Discover the Best of Ecuadorian Cuisine

Quito restaurants Old Town

Ecuadorian cuisine is a fusion of flavors, ingredients, and traditions that reflect the cultural and geographical diversity of this beautiful South American country. From the Andes mountains to the Pacific coast and the Amazon rainforest, Ecuador offers a wide range of delicious and authentic dishes that delight the palates of locals and visitors alike.

This means that the best dishes come from different regions of Ecuador. However, it’s in the capital, Quito, where the most culinary traditions come together.

But the gastronomic experience in Ecuador is not limited to just food. You can also immerse yourself in the comfort of exclusive accommodations. That’s why we can’t talk about restaurants without mentioning the best hotel to stay in Quito Ecuador.

Must-Try foods during your visit to Ecuador

Ecuadorian cuisine is a true celebration of fresh ingredients and unique culinary techniques that have been passed down through generations. From the highlands of the Andes to the coastal areas bathed by the Pacific Ocean, each region offers a variety of dishes that reflect the geographical and cultural diversity of the country.

Seafood delights at the altitude of Quito

Although Quito is located in the highlands of Ecuador, a considerable distance from the coast, this does not prevent the city from offering an exceptional seafood gastronomic experience. Thanks to the efficient transportation network and the freshness of the ingredients, it is possible to enjoy exquisite seafood dishes without leaving the city.

Quito’s restaurants have perfected the art of preparing fresh and delicious seafood dishes that capture the essence of the Ecuadorian coast. From ceviches to grilled fish dishes, the seafood cuisine in Quito offers an unforgettable culinary experience.

Ceviche is an emblematic dish of South American cuisine, consisting of fresh fish marinated in lime juice, mixed with red onion, tomato, cilantro, and other fresh ingredients. The combination of citrus and fresh flavors makes ceviche a refreshing and delicious option, perfect for enjoying at any time of the day.

In addition to ceviche, you must try other popular seafood dishes such as “shrimp encocado”, seafood rice, and seafood stews. These dishes will transport you directly to the sunny beaches of Ecuador and allow you to enjoy the richness and variety of sea products.

The tradition of “empanadas de viento”

In Ecuador, empanadas de viento are much more than just a snack: they are an icon of the country’s culinary culture. These empanadas, distinguished by their light and crispy dough, are filled with authentic and traditional flavors that will transport you through Ecuador’s landscapes and aromas.

The history of empanadas de viento dates back generations, when the skilled hands of Ecuadorian grandmothers began shaping the dough and filling them with a delicious mixture of fresh cheese, which melts with heat, and a touch of cilantro and chopped onion. Over time, this simple snack became a landmark dish found everywhere, from street stalls to the menus of the most exclusive restaurants.

What distinguishes empanadas de viento is their peculiar name, which refers to how the dough inflates during cooking, creating a light and airy texture that melts in the mouth with every bite. This distinctive characteristic is the result of careful and precise preparation technique, involving frying the empanadas in hot oil until they are golden and crispy on the outside, while the cheese melts gently inside.

Once you taste a freshly made empanada de viento, it’s hard to resist its irresistible combination of flavors and textures. They are ideal for enjoying as a quick snack on the street or as part of a more elaborate meal.

Traditional tour of Quito’s beverages

One of the most emblematic beverages of Quito is the canelazo, a hot drink served especially during festivities and celebrations. This comforting beverage is made from cane liquor, orange juice, brown sugar, and spices such as cinnamon and cloves. The canelazo is perfect for warming up on the cool nights of the city and is a true expression of Quito’s hospitality and warmth.

 

Another beverage you must try is the colada morada, a traditional drink consumed especially during the Day of the Dead in November. This drink is made from blackberries, pineapple, babaco, mortiño, and other fruits, cooked with spices like cloves and cinnamon, and sweetened with panela. The result is a thick and slightly sweet beverage that is full of flavor and cultural significance.

 

For those who prefer something more refreshing, Quito offers a variety of natural fruit juices from tropical fruits such as passion fruit, soursop, and tree tomato, which can be enjoyed at local markets or at the city’s numerous juice bars. These juices are an excellent way to cool off and enjoy the abundance of fresh fruits that Ecuador has to offer.

Ecuadorian desserts you must try

From traditional sweets passed down through generations to modern creations with an Ecuadorian twist, desserts are a delight for the senses and an essential part of any culinary experience in the country.

One of the most emblematic desserts you must try is the “queso de bola“, a delicious blend of fresh cheese, sugar, and eggs baked until it achieves a smooth and creamy texture. This dessert is popular throughout the country and can be found in bakeries, pastry shops, as well as in markets and street fairs. Its sweet and slightly salty flavor makes it a perfect accompaniment for a cup of coffee or hot tea.

Another dessert you can’t miss is the “helado de paila” a frozen delight prepared by hand in a copper pot with fresh fruits and natural juices. From mango to soursop, helado de paila comes in a variety of exotic flavors that will delight your taste buds and refresh you on hot days.

Additionally, you must try the “manjar blanco“, a classic dessert made with milk, sugar, and vanilla, cooked slowly until it reaches a creamy and caramelized consistency. This decadent sweet is commonly served with cookies or bread and is a popular choice for special occasions and family celebrations.

Finally, for those looking for something lighter, the “espumilla” is a must-try. This sweet treat is so special that it deserves its own section.

Espumilla and other sweets to delight Your palate

Combine the lightness of foam with the sweetness of tropical fruits, creating a unique experience for the palate. Prepared with beaten egg whites, sugar, and fruit puree such as guava, pineapple, or passion fruit, espumilla is a soft and fluffy delight traditionally served in small cups or paper molds, adorned with a touch of cinnamon or nutmeg.

In addition to espumilla, Ecuadorian cuisine offers a wide variety of sweets and desserts that will delight your palate and satisfy your craving for something sweet. Among the most popular are “melcochas,” a kind of caramel made from panela and sugar cane juice, which is stretched and molded into different shapes before being enjoyed as a traditional sweet. There are also “fig sweets,” which consist of dried figs stuffed with nuts and cooked in panela syrup, creating a sweet and sticky treat that is irresistible for sweet lovers.

Additionally, “peanut cookies” are a popular option for those seeking a crunchier sweet, as these small cookies are made with peanut flour and sweetened with cane honey, creating a unique and addictive flavor that will leave you wanting more.

Where are the best places to eat in Quito?

Undoubtedly, the best spots are found in the historic center, where you’ll discover a wide variety of restaurants offering a unique gastronomic experience, where tradition and innovation merge to delight even the most discerning palates. We can mention some of the best restaurants in Quito’s historic center:

  • Zazu Restaurant: Located in a restored colonial mansion, Zazu offers a top-notch culinary experience with creative dishes that fuse local ingredients with international techniques. Its elegant ambiance and innovative menu make it a must-visit for food enthusiasts.
  • Theatrum Restaurant & Wine Bar: Situated in the majestic Sucre Theater, this restaurant combines impressive architecture with signature cuisine that highlights Ecuadorian flavors. With a wide selection of wines and a sophisticated atmosphere, Theatrum is perfect for a romantic dinner or a special celebration.
  • Café Plaza Grande: Overlooking the iconic Plaza Grande, this charming café offers an authentic gastronomic experience with traditional Ecuadorian dishes and a cozy atmosphere. From traditional breakfasts to light lunches and freshly brewed coffee, Café Plaza Grande is ideal for enjoying a meal while watching life go by in the heart of Quito.
  • El Ventanal Café & Restaurant: Located in an old colonial mansion with panoramic views of the historic center, El Ventanal offers a unique culinary experience with contemporary Ecuadorian dishes and an extensive wine list. Its cozy atmosphere and high-quality cuisine make it a popular destination for both locals and tourists.

Combine your gastronomic journey with unique accommodation

A complete gastronomic experience isn’t just about enjoying delicious meals; it’s also about immersing yourself in an environment that complements and enhances your culinary experiences. In Quito, you can combine your gastronomic trip with a stay that meets your expectations.

Many visitors choose boutique hotels in the historic center because they are located in restored historical buildings, offering architectural charm and authenticity not found in conventional hotels. These properties preserve original elements such as wooden floors, high ceilings, and decorative details, immersing you in the rich history and culture of the city.

Ecuatreasures: Best Hotel to Stay in Quito, Ecuador

If you’re seeking a unique and memorable accommodation experience in the heart of Quito Old Town, look no further than Hotel-Casa Ecuatreasures. We pride ourselves on being an eco-friendly option focused on providing authentic experiences to our guests.

Strategically located within walking distance of Independence Square, museums, colonial churches, and other tourist attractions, we aim to place you at the epicenter of Quito’s rich history and culture. From the moment you step through the doors, you’re immersed in an ambiance that celebrates Ecuadorian Andean identity, with original architectural details blending seamlessly with modern comforts.

Additionally, for those eager to further explore Ecuador’s rich gastronomy, we offer our own kitchen where you can sample the best of local cuisine in a cozy and relaxed atmosphere. Don’t forget that at our hotel in Quito, we provide our guests with a complimentary breakfast that’s hard to match elsewhere.