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Ethic Food Restaurants in Quito

There’s another thread which reviews restaurants but the reviews are conflated with fast-food, casual dining and ethnic restaurants. So, this one will be dedicated to ethnic food.

El Mariachi Taco Factory, located down the block from Plaza Foch and on the corner of Mariscal Foch and Juan León Mera.

This was the second time I went, the first for takeout, but this weekend dined-in with a friend and I liked it even more. The ambiance is tranquillo as the locals would say, and despite a loud party atmosphere outside on weekends this place isn’t affected by the madness because it’s located on the second floor. Their menu is just right with about a dozen main dishes. They start you off with nacho appetizers which are served with jalapenos and three dips, guacamole, salsa, and sour cream. The main dish was Fajitas which was an assortment of meat and chicken atop veggies on a hot plate. One plate is $11 but more than enough for two people, and with leftovers, yes, the portion was huge. This came with tortillas, and same condiments as appetizer. Very satisfied with the flavor, and the service was prompt. The total cost was $16, which also included two large pilsner. 

Overall, definitely will go there again because it's centrally located, nice ambiance and of course delicious reasonably priced food.

Hello, VS,
What is considered an appropriate gratuity in such an establishment? Is it possible to request vegetarian fajitas? Sounds delish. Gracias.

PS

peripatetic_soul :

Hello, VS,
What is considered an appropriate gratuity in such an establishment? Is it possible to request vegetarian fajitas? Sounds delish. Gracias.

PS

Hey PS, you’re in luck as the place serves vegetarian fajitas, and we actually decided between that and the meat version. I think other Ecuadorean restaurants will accommodate your request for vegetarian dishes. These are helpful and accommodating people without attitudes.

As for tips, I normally tip 10%, and sometimes round off, so if a bill is $27, I’ll tip $3. An Ecuadorean friend in the food and beverage industry said Ecuadorean aren’t customarily a tipping society. And I think maybe there’s some truth to that because some places I frequent waitresses hand write on the bill something like “su propina motivar mi trabjo” (your tip motivates my work). 

Ecuador or elsewhere I always tip, and if some/many Ecuadorean elect not to tip well that’s their prerogative.

Mizu Sushi Bar, on the corner of Naciones Unidas and República del Salvador

Sushi/Japanese cuisine is quite popular in Quito as there are more than a dozen places to choose from in centro-norte. I think there is something for everyone, from Sushi/Sashimi purists to others who enjoy American/European variety like Futomaki/Uramaki. The choices of restaurants also range from gourmet style to casual dining to simple.

Mizu falls under casual dining, it’s located in a building that houses 4 different restaurants which includes Buskers (American type food), Fritada (Ecuadorean), and Pez (Seafood). It has a good ambiance with indoor and outdoor terrace that has views of the stadium and Quicentro on NN.UU.

The food is definitely the western type of sushi and primarily consists of rolls. They do have a small offering of sashimi but haven’t tried it there despite being a sushi/sashimi purist. This place is good to hangout, relax and enjoy a few drinks. It’s not a place with an extensive menu or an Itamae like Shibumi. However, what they do serve is delicious, and the service is pleasant. To give you an idea of prices an Acevichado roll is $5.89 and a beer is about $3. They have a website online with menu, and if you notice that the prices are higher than what I stated then I think the reason is that the online menu includes the 14% tax, and 10% service charge whereas the actually menu in the restaurant doesn’t.

It's a nice place if you are in the area, a cool place to relax enjoy some California rolls, and afterwards if you’re inclined you can just walk across to Buskers to extend the evening as it’s a lively bar themed joint.

In the Quito vs Cuenca thread a discussion about Chinese restaurants somehow arose and consequently I made a pledge to find a decent one in Quito. A good place to start was on Amazonas around Tomás de Berlanga as there is concentration of Chinese restaurants. So, about a month and half ago I ate at Chifa Jao Fau and ordered Chop Suey and Seafood soup. The presentation was nice as they served the Chop Suey on a sizzling hot plate but the taste for both dishes didn’t appease at all and tasted similar as they probably used the same base. Anyway, that’s that with Jao Fau.

A couple of weeks ago ordered from LAI LAI, they offer 24/7 delivery and have a nice website. I ordered Sesame chicken and seafood fried rice. The sesame chicken was barely okay, the seafood fried rice was not good as it was too greasy, and had clam residue, and seafood lovers will understand if clams are not thoroughly cleaned they’ll be some sandy residue that is awful to chew on. Thumbs down overall.

Yesterday after we had a little break from a downpour I decided to walk to 6 de Diciembre and try Mei Lai Wha, across the street from Ecovia’s Naciones Unidades station on Supercines side. I would always walk past this place but it was never busy so never tried it before as I have an aversion to eating at places that seem dead. Upon Walking in and immediately to the left there is a counter where they take your order. Looked at the menu and realized the place was pricey but it was also active so I said why not. I placed an order for Primavera Rolls (Spring rolls) $5 for 4, Mariscos fried rice $10 (seafood) and Lomo Tomate $8 (beef with tomato sauce). I chose the lomo tomate because they had a little picture of it on the menu and it looked good.

Alright, so after 10 or so minutes my order was ready and I headed back home, but by this time the down pour resumed, but no fret I had on a breathable raincoat, and at least half of me was dry. Upon opening the food containers on my kitchen counter the sight of the seafood rice was pleasant and after taking a spoonful my reaction was Mmmmmmm. This Mmmmmm was the first Mmmmmmm of its kind in Ecuador with regards to Chinese restaurants. Despite being a little pricey for fried rice it was justified as they used good quality seafood ingredients, including fish, shrimp (both unshelled and fried shelled), calamari, and clams. What’s most important was that the taste was good. The lomo tomato despite only a small taste assured me it was also delicious. The spring rolls were good too. It’s a lot of food, but I have all weekend to finish it off.

Great thread, V ! :top:

Thanks for sharing your gastronomic adventures.

cccmedia in Quito

vsimple :

El Mariachi Taco Factory, located down the block from Plaza Foch and on the corner of Mariscal Foch and Juan León Mera....

The main dish was Fajitas which was an assortment of meat and chicken atop veggies on a hot plate. One plate is $11 but more than enough for two people, and with leftovers, yes, the portion was huge. This came with tortillas.... Very satisfied with the flavor, and the service was prompt.

I used to order fajitas in San Diego, CA, using the tortillas to wrap the food bits in, then eat it like a well/stuffed egg roll.

The Taco Factory restaurant is in the heart of Gringolandia.  For years, during the evening hours, they have been posting a barker wearing a big Mariachi hat outside the entrance on Calle Foch.

cccmedia in Quito

vsimple :

I think other Ecuadorean restaurants will accommodate your request for vegetarian dishes.

That is certainly true in areas where Gringos usually go.

In Quito, the only places that may not accommodate the Gringo or vegetarian palate might be some of the two-dollar almuerzos and a couple of backwater places in El Centro where even semi-fluent Gringos may have trouble getting a modified dish or a substitution.

cccmedia in Quito

vsimple :

Yesterday after we had a little break from a downpour I decided to walk to 6 de Diciembre and try Mei Lai Wha, across the street from Ecovia’s Naciones Unidades station on Supercines side.

This chifa is just a stones throw from the best supermarket in Quito, Megamaxi Six.  It is between the Ecovia stop closest to Megamaxi, namely Benalcazar, and the stop V mentioned, Naciones Unidas.  The Naciones stop is a stones throw from QuiCentro mall, making this Chinese restaurant super-convenient for Expats on their main shopping day of any week.

cccmedia in Quito

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