I am so excited to be returning to Quito this June….I can’t wait, in fact. Ecuador is my very favorite country on the planet. (While I am no longer living in Ecuador full time because of family obligation, I hope to do so again some day in the future.)
As far as I am concerned, there is no better place than Ecuador for the great weather and even better scenery…mountains and waterfalls, volcanoes and rivers, lakes, and amazingly lush forests…beautiful, historic cities that will have you feeling as if you’ve stepped back in time…
And the Ecuadorians themselves are as kind and gentle and caring…and respectful…as any people anywhere could be…
And don’t even get me started on the low cost of living in Ecuador. As a couple, it’s hard to spend more than $1,500 to $2,000 a month…and that’s with eating both lunch and dinner out a couple of times a month…and maybe even a salon appointment or two…
But getting back to Quito…It’s been called the “most beautiful big city in South America.” And in my opinion, that’s true.
It’s a huge city, with all kinds of interesting neighborhoods (each with their own personality) to kick around in. My favorite neighborhoods are historic Old Town, the touristy La Mariscal, upscale Gonzalez Suarez, La Carolina (and specifically a street called Republica de Salazar), and Bellavista with its beautiful views (hence the name).
Being able to pop into one of my favorite restaurants is one of the things I enjoy most about visiting Quito.
It’s hard to recommend just one or two. Mostly because I’m a very fickle girl and I never know what will suit my fancy food-wise at any particular moment. And my tastes in food are varied. When I hit Quito, I’m in search of taste treats that are difficult to get in the small-town Ecuador village where I live. Ethnic food, especially, is on my mind.
So the restaurants I’d recommend to a tourist would be far different than those I’d recommend to an expat who’s out to satisfy a yearning. Also, my favorites tend to be in proximity (walking distance) to whichever of my favored hotels I happen to be staying at.
But here goes:
If I’m spending the night at Hotel Quito, I’ll opt for dinner at Hunter’s, just across the street. It’s a very modest place with a sort of hunter’s lodge feel—and one of the only places where I can get a grilled ribeye steak or a slab of ribs that reminds me of the taste of Nebraska, where I’m from. And don’t pass up the huge and very cold pilsner draft beers. Located at 12 de Octubre 2517, directly across from Hotel Quito.
If I opt to stay in La Mariscal neighborhood, you’ll find me for lunch at a little hole-in-the-wall that serves authentic Indian fare. Called Chandani Tandoori, you’ll need to look beyond the atmosphere (none) and focus instead on the food…dal, tikka korma, curries, and more. And nothing on the menu costs much more than $5. Located at Juan Leon Mera No1312 y Luis Cordero, about two blocks from Hotel Sebastian.
Just across the park from Hotel Sebastian is Cosa Nostra, an authentic Italian trattoria and pizzeria. They sell house wine by the carafe and half carafe and the pizza is so good I’ve never been able to bring myself to order anything else…beside the tiramisu, that is. If you like mushrooms, try the pizza norcina, with a sauce of black truffles imported from Italy. It’s simply the best. You’ll find Cosa Nostra at Baquerizo Moreno E7-86 y Almagro. As mentioned, it’s directly across the small plaza from Hotel Sebastian.
Maybe the best thing about dining your way through Quito, though, is that in the Andes Mountains where the city is located—and where you’ll spend more time outdoors—you tend to burn off those calories a little easier.
In other words, it’s okay to have dessert. What could be better than that?
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