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A Tour of Cuenca’s Culinary Delights

LiveTheLifeinEcuador  | October 26, 2016

Cuenca is synonymous with stunning colonial architecture, colorful festivals, and artisanal goods. Food might not be one of the first things that enter your mind when you think of Ecuador’s third largest city, but the local dining scene is fast evolving – and the city’s gastronomic landscape is as fascinating as its storied past.

From fine dining restaurants in hotels to stylish sushi joints, a tour of the city’s culinary delights will leave you hankering for more.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

1. El Jardin at Hotel Victoria

Calle Larga y Presidente Borrero

One of Cuenca’s most iconic restaurants, El Jardin serves continental food using only fresh local ingredients. Their numerous offerings include everything from prawns and heart of palm to vegetarian plates and pastas. An attentive staff and a sophisticated interior puts it on par with the world’s top restaurants. 

2. Casa Alonso Restaurant at Mansion Alcazar 

Calle Bolivar 12-55 y Tarqui

Casa Alonso prides itself on being the only gourmet restaurant in Cuenca, offering Ecuadorian and international cuisine to satisfy both local and foreign diners. As far as menu, presentation, and ambience goes, eating here feels like dining at a fine restaurant in New York, Paris, or London.

3. Tiesto’s

Juan Jaramillo y Mariano Cueva 4-89

Cuencana and traditional fusion cuisine make up Tiesto’s bold menu. Food is prepared and served in traditional clay pots, while hand-decorated dessert dishes add a personal touch to your dining experience. Try the potato soup with avocado garnish, or the flavorful chicken curry.

4. La Quinua

Benigno Malo

Quinoa salad, potatoes Bombay, and gnocchi in tomato sauce are just some of the vegetarian offerings in this restaurant. The colorful interior exudes a warm and welcoming atmosphere that you and your company will surely enjoy.

5. Good Affinity

Gran Colombia 1-89 y Capulies

Vegetarians and meat-eaters alike have professed their love for this Taiwanese restaurant, where the menu revolves around soy and wholesome produce. Hot noodles, chao fan, and spring rolls are served alongside local fare like fried plantains and corn patties.

Highly recommended are their affordable almuerzos, or lunches, that include soup, an entrée, and drinks. 

6. NOE

Padre Julio Matovelle 2-25 y Federico Proaño

Hailed as the leading Japanese-Ecuadorian restaurant in the scene, this trendy sushi joint is getting rave reviews left and right. Come here for expertly-cut sushi and sashimi, followed by fried ice cream and lemon cream for dessert. Every dish is a visual treat – the presentation is always exquisite. 

7. Moliendo Café

Honorato Vasquez 6-24 y Hermano Miguel

Sit down for a lovely meal at the city’s historic center. Moliendo Café offers the best of Colombian cuisine, from hearty arepas to simple but tasty empanadas. Wash it all down with some Colombian coffee and admire the décor, which includes photographs of other cities, different currencies, and wooden dioramas.

8. Mediterraneo

Honorato Vasquez 7-64 y Luis Cordero

If you find yourself longing for authentic Italian cuisine, this restaurant serves steaming plates of pasta, pizza, and risotto in the midst of historic Cuenca. Feast on freshly baked bread, flavorful dipping sauces, and sumptuous mushroom ravioli.

An attentive staff makes for a memorable dining experience, while generous portions will satisfy your craving for excellent food.

Ready to explore Cuenca’s food scene? Feel free toCall us at 239-848-5876 (USA), 098-316-0067 | 097-994-7640 (Ecuador) or send an email to