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The JT Insider Food Guide: Quito, Ecuador

Executive chef of Casa Gangotena and a champion of Ecuadorian cuisine, Andrés Dávila gives us his insider tips on the food of Ecuador and where to experience Quito’s dining scene.

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Food of the nation

Ecuador is a country known basically for its soups. We are a soup country. There are some dishes that identify each region of Ecuador. For food from the coast, a really good place to try a nice Cazuela or Encocado is El Esmeraldas in Quito, and for traditional Ecuadorian food from the highlands, go to La Choza in Quito. The variety of the ingredients our cuisine has is what makes it unique, you can find really good shrimp, chocolate, 150 different kinds of potatoes, more than 9 different bananas and plantains, corn, and fresh fruits all year long.’

El Esmeraldas, Isabel La Católica, N24-560 y Cordero, Quito. La Choza, 12 de Octubre, N24-551 y Cordero, Quito. 

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Three to try

‘The top 3 local dishes every Quito visitor should try, in my opinion, are Locro de papas [potato soup] with side dishes of avocado, roasted corn and pork cracklings, Fritada, which is fried pork, and Ecuadorian style ceviche. The best restaurant to try a really good variety of Ecuadorian food in the middle of the downtown area is Casa Gangotena.’

Casa Gangotena, Bolivar, Oe6-41 y Cuenca, Quito.

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Foodie neighbourhood

‘La Floresta is a nice neighborhood to eat in Quito because there you can find more than 40 restaurants that offer a great variety of food.’

Authentically local dining experience

‘Casa Gangotena is definitely the best place to try Ecuadorian food and authentic cuisine.’

Casa Gangotena, Bolivar, Oe6-41 y Cuenca, Quito.

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Blowout dining experience

‘Ciré in Cumbaya – this restaurant has a very creative menu and the chef Erik has an avant-garde style of cooking. The waiters are nice and the decoration unique.’

Ciré, Garcia Moreno, Manabi, Cumbaya, Quito.

A lazy Sunday hangout

‘The best option is to visit Cumbaya’s Central Park. There are very good restaurants for everyone in this area.’

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A stellar setting

‘Hacienda Rumiloma is a restaurant located in the Pichincha Volcano, with an amazing view of Quito.’

Hacienda Rumiloma, Obispo de la Madrid, Quito.

Where you’d take a friend

‘I think the Zfood is a very good place to go as it offers great fresh seafood and fish.’

ZFood, Coruna n30-135 y Whymper, Quito.

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Latest food trend

‘Cuisine that’s made with ingredients from the local areas to the restaurant is the boom nowadays. People are trying to appreciate the food from our grandmas and our culture.’

A chef worth checking out

‘There’s chef Enrique Sempere of Patria Restaurante [fine dining, using local ingredients with modern techniques], chef David Pico of Zazu [another fine dining spot for Peruvian influenced tasting menus], and chef Felipe Rivadeneira of Felipe Restaurante in the city of Riobamba [modern Ecuadorian cuisine].’

Patria Restaurante, Carcia Moreno y Juan Montalvo, Cumbaya, Quito. Zazu, Mariano Aguilera, Quito. Felipe Restaurante, Los Alamos, Juan Chiriboga y Segundo Rosera, Riobamba.

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Andrés Dávila is the celebrated executive chef of Casa Gangotena, championing traditional Ecuadorian cuisine in a fine dining setting.

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