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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

Chilanga, on República del Salvador and Portugal, adjacent to Juan Valdez Café

Last weekend while walking around a part of my neighborhood that I haven’t walked in a while I noticed a new Mexican restaurant, Chilanga. So I peeked in, deliberated for a few seconds and decided to go in to check it out. I was pleasantly surprised to see the menu which was simple and the counter which was similar to Subway (sandwiches). They basically sell Burritos, Tacos and Quesadillas, and have all kinds of toppings including 2 types of beef, 2 types of pork and chicken. 

I opted for the tacos which were 3 for $6.50, the combo was $8.50 which includes chips and soft drink. I chose the $6.50 and asked for two Micheladas, one while I waited and another with the meal. The cashier informed me that they have happy hour promotion and I can get 3 for 2.

Sure, why not.

The Micheladas were good, and the soft-shell tacos were absolutely delicious. I was stuffed after finishing my meal, and had 1.5 Micheladas left, and what did the staff do? They brought over a generous plate of Nachos with tomato and onion dip. Oh my gosh!

I’ve lived in countries where it’s polite to finish one’s plate, and I did that happily, but then I had these Nachos. Resigned, I relaxed, and took my time with the free nachos and the extra happy hour Michelada.

During the entire time that I was there which was over an hour, there was only one other customer and that was as I was leaving, but there was take-out activity.

So yesterday I decided to invite a friend to this place that has delicious tacos, and we walked there, and upon getting to the place, my friend looks in and notices no one inside, and immediately says “Oh you have to learn something.” I started to laugh immediately, because I knew what was going to be said.

Some Ecuadoreans have this fear of restaurants that are not busy with activity. But I ate there before and it was delicious and my friend missed out on some good Mexican food.

Lucia Pie and Grill

Cuisine: American

They have three branches in Quito, two in Centro Quito and one in Cumbayá. Yes, they’re successful with a good reason the food tastes good and they have a strong brand. They also have excellent service and while pricey it’s nevertheless a good place to enjoy and take one’s time eating. The menu mainly consists of Grills, Burgers, Pies, and other sweets.

I visited before for pancakes which were good but this review is about a dinner I had there recently. The platos fuertes (basically a plate with either meat/chicken/seafood and 2 sides) are basically between $20-$30, I had medium rare salmon which was accompanied with a veggie and mushroom skewer and potato with sour cream. The salmon was perfectly grilled topped with butter and herbs and tasted delicious. They also have delicious fresh pies that they serve with ice cream, but that’s not my thing as I don’t mix sweet with beer. It’s definitely a casual dining restaurant but on the higher end in terms of quality of food and price. The total was $65 for two which included two platos fuertes, 2 beers, 1 dessert and 1 juice. Will I eat there again, absolutely because it’s very friendly, comfortable, quiet, and the food tasted good.

Sushi Noe, Quicentro.

Today I felt like Jack Nicholson from the Shinning, "All work and no play, makes Jack Vsimple a dull boy."  :lol:  So I decided I needed to get out and treat myself to some Sushi and headed to Quicentro, something I would never usually do on a weekend.

While there I decided to get their lunch promotion of 1/2 Samurai salmon roll, 1/2 Samushi soup, and a soda for 10 bucks. Delicious would be an understatement. However and quite frankly I would have needed two of these promotions to be satisfied, but I didn't want to be too full as work beckoned and didn't want too tired from overeating.

I also wanted to save some space in the stomach for a grande coffee that I had on my mind. Now despite stating in another thread that I am exclusively drinking Ecuadorian coffee, Juan Valdez Café was right next the food court, and Sweet and Coffee was two flights down and on the other end of the mall. There was no chance at all that I was going to navigate through the hordes of Sunday mall-goers to get there , so Juan Valdez it was, and boy was it good.

Post removed by poster due to possible incoherence.

Tough crowd.

Alright before I review the next restaurant I’d like to share some restaurant news from my sector, an area that probably has no-less than 200-300 restaurants and cafes in a 1 mile radius. A new place, Burrito Republik (yes with a k), is officially open on República del Salvador near the corner with Suecia. I haven’t eaten there yet but while walking by this weekend it was packed. The news that I want to share however is that Gyroville which is right next door to the burrito place will open any day now. I spoke to the manager/owner a couple of weeks ago and that’s what he told me. As soon as they’re open I’ll give them a visit and write a review. I do hope the food is good and they do well because we need a gyro joint in Quito. I have a good feeling about them because they have branches in Florida and my understanding is that they are doing quite well.

http://gyroville.com/



Ok now to my review.

American Deli

This is perhaps one of my favorite restaurants and a place I frequent at least twice a week. It’s a very successful restaurant chain in Ecuador with branches in Quito, Guayaquil, Ambato and other cities. What’s good about this place is that you can eat a good lunch and dinner for $10 or less. The portions are also generous. Their menu includes burgers, sandwiches, grills, chicken wings, fajitas, etc. For dessert, they have a simple but delicious selection too for instance cheesecake, brownie, chocolate cake and shakes. The same with beverages they have a mini Juan Valdez café selection (basically ground coffee and not whole beans), a bar area with juice, booze and beer.

My favorite dishes are the chicken wings which come with delicious fries and dips for $6 (excluding IVA and service charge), and also the burgers which are also around $6. They also have set meal lunches, and different promotions from time to time.

Maradentro Marisquería  (Seafood Restaurant)

This is a popular Ecuadorian seafood restaurant especially with the lunchtime crowd of office employees and engineers from nearby construction projects. It’s popular for two reasons, delicious food and reasonable prices. If you’re into appearances you’ll probably walk by and miss it but don’t be fooled by appearances because what they have cooking won’t disappoint.

I ordered the arroz náutico which was a generous plate of seafood rice, clams, fried shrimp, french fries with a large grilled shrimp on top that took several bites to finish. This dish was generous enough that I couldn't finish it, perhaps that was due to eating all the popcorn and fried plantain chips appetizer that they served beforehand. Hey I was hungry and it takes about 15-20 minutes to get your order during the busy lunch hours, but well worth it as the food is cooked fresh.

Their menu is simple but the seafood dishes are excellent. To give you an idea of prices, the arroz náutico was $10.50 and other dishes starting at $5, but those are Milanesa dishes, but why eat Milanesa ata seafood place. They also serve about 6-7 types of seafood soup which cost $3.50-$8.50.

If you’re in La Carolina area during lunchtime and want delicious local cuisine seafood high up in the Andes then give them a try. They’re located on Japón street just off of Naciones Unidas and from Quicentro walk about 200 meters west towards Amazonas. Keep in mind there is major construction in the area at this time so it’s a bit dusty.

We definitely need a pizza post. In Ecuador there are various types of pizza. There’s Italian pizza, foreign brand e.g.  Pizza Hut, local brand e.g. pizzeria el Hornero, individual pizzerias e.g. Quito Pizza which serves New York style pizza, and street food pizza.

I will review Via Partenope which is located on República del Salvador y Suecia.
Via Partenope is about as good a pizza you’ll get in Quito. They have two Italian style brick ovens and indoor and outdoor seating or al-fresco, and if it gets a bit chilly, no worries because they have flames to keep you warm. What makes Via Partneope unique is that it looks like a trendy café and in part it is but it’s also an excellent pizzeria.

This is a place to take a wife or girlfriend to for a nice evening out. They serve delicious food made from absolutely fresh ingredients. The dough of their super thin pizza is to die for and their beverage selection is impressive. Sip a glass of wine and enjoy a Macchiato after your meal café style.

Pizzas with cheese range from $10-$17. A margarita is $10, a vegetarian is $12. Café prices are comparable to other cafes. A glass of Chianti is $9.

The service it’s friendly and prompt but this is true throughout Ecuador.  And btw if you’re expecting gobs of cheese then Italian pizza is not for you.

Via Partenope

Oh we need one of these threads for Montañita!
Just saying!

Susan_in_Ecuador :

Oh we need one of these threads for Montañita!
Just saying!

You are more than welcome to start a new thread, and I'm sure members and lurkers will be appreciative especially those visiting Montañita.

Rincón Manabita

Cuisine: Manabí (Ecuadorian) 

This lovely casual restaurant which sells fresh and select seafood is located on Tomás de Berlanga in North Quito. This is an area that is undergoing gentrification and some nice restaurants are appearing.

The menu at this place is simple with about 15 dishes covered with saran wrap are laid out on a counter just before the cashier. It's nice because you can see exactly what you're buying. They have a few fried seafood platters, viche, ceviche ( shrimp), rice dishes, about 3 or 4 desserts and small selection of beverages which consist of soda, water, and beer. 

Each dish is about $9-$13. We had two main dishes, with 2 ceviche and 3 drinks for $45. The ambiance is relaxing and you can eat indoors or outside. This place is perfect for a Saturday or Sunday brunch.

Here are a couple of casual ethnic food restaurants in North Quito where you can order delicious food with a drink for about $10.

Persia Shawarma on 6 de diciembre just opposite the ecovia naciones unidas station. This place is very simple and the best plate on the menu is the shawarma platter. You'll get a good amount of Shawarma, fries, salad, a little bit of hummus and two thin pita breads. Considering a decent Shawarma costs $3.00 in the capital this is a good deal. Their hot salsa sauce is awesome BTW and the owner is cool guy. They also have great cheladas and use natural lemon/lime juice. 

Korean Restaurant at NNUU commercial center, just off Japón street. I don’t know the name of this place because their outdoor seating protrudes and covers the sign. So you can’t see it, and actually I didn’t even know about this place until one day while walking by I saw some dude eating with chopsticks.

Nevertheless they have authentic Korean food, and owned and managed by a friendly Korean couple. Their menu is limited and that’s okay because what’s important is authentic taste. Don’t think this place is like the finer Korean restaurants in town. But if you want some quick Korean food this place will suffice for cheap. What’s also good about this place is that their portions are generous. Their bulgogi, ramen noodles, and seafood plate are good.

During lunch hour it's very popular with Ecuadorian office workers.

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