Ecuador may not yet be on the radar as an international foodie destination, but there is no doubt that this small country has a lot to offer for even the most intrepid gourmet travelers. At the center of this foodie revolution is the capital city of Quito, with an array of restaurants to suit all the taste buds and budgets, it’s no surprise that Quito was voted South America’s Leading Destination in the 2018 World Travel Awards. Read on to find out 5 of the trendiest restaurants in Quito; travel the world without ever having to leave Quito.
El Laboratorio – Pop-up culinary experience
This experimental gastronomic concept has featured monthly pop-up restaurants, with different chefs and cuisines from around the world since 2015. At El Laboratorio, you can try everything from Mexican-Ecuadorian fusion to Scandinavian delicacies using local ingredients, to this month’s “Ssambal,” Indonesian and Korean fusion, loaded with flavors and aromas, from two of the hottest cuisines from recent decades. El Laboratorio is one of the 5 trendiest restaurants in Quito, especially amongst the hip young crowd, adding a fresh spin to the local food scene.
Quitu Identidad Culinaria – Go back to Quito’s roots
Quitu Identidad culinaria is a restaurant exploring Quito’s culinary roots, which date back to the Quitu Pre-Colombian indigenous people who inhabited what is today known as Quito before being conquered by the Spanish in 1524. The restaurant focuses on innovative high-end cuisine, using top-quality local products, and promoting sustainable development, farming and fishing practices. You can travel through the flavors of the four regions of Ecuador by enjoying one of four tasting menus offered for a limited number of people from Monday to Friday at both lunch and dinner.
Zazú restaurant – Creative Ecuadorian cuisine
Zazú, founded by Chef David Picco, was the first restaurant from the Z group, a gourmet restaurant group specializing in fine cuisine. Zazú with its quiet ambience and impeccable design offers seven-course tasting menus, as well as a la carte options such as ceviche, soups, fish and more. This contemporary creative cuisine inspired by Ecuadorian culinary traditions, is not only one of the trendiest restaurants in Quito, but it also has been internationally acclaimed, featured in CNN and Andrew Harper Traveler, amongst other top publications as a must-try when visiting Quito.
Z-food – Dine at a Quito fish market
The Z Group stuck gold again with this restaurant, a reference for fresh seafood and fish in Quito with its commitment to responsible fishing and fair trade, using fishing techniques that do not damage the marine ecosystem. Z-food is set up like a fish market with an open kitchen; you can watch as the chefs prepare the fish and seafood, and even pick out your own fresh fish. With its relaxed ambiance, it is a Quito favorite amongst families on the weekends, and perfect for a delicious lunch during the week, with a great selection of white wine and champagne.
Osaka – Nikkei cuisine at its finest
What happens when two of the finest cuisines in the world combine? It’s called Nikkei cuisine, and it’s the fusion of fresh Peruvian ingredients with the perfectionism of Japanese cuisine, born from the descendants of Japanese immigrants who moved to Peru. Quito’s Osaka restaurant offers fine Nikkei cuisine, with minimalistic Asian design and dedicated service from the staff. Osaka can also be found in other cities in South America such as Buenos Aires, Asunción, Sāo Paulo and Bogotá, among others.
Thanks to these five restaurants, Quito is putting itself on the map as a must-visit culinary travel destination. Exploring the flavors of these restaurants is yet another reason to visit the capital city on your next trip to Ecuador.
Carlos Beate is the Commercial Manager at Andando Tours. Andando Tours offers exclusive traveling experiences, specializing in sailing around the Galapagos Islands and overland along the magnificent Avenue of Volcanoes on the Ecuadorian Andes.