Otavalo

Taco Bello, Bolivar y Mejia 5-23: This is still our favorite place. His margaritas are still the best, his Mexican food still delicious and reasonably priced. And he still serves a 2nd bowl of guacamole when your first bowl empties. Now he serves oven roasted jalapeño peppers, which he learned how to do from his wife’s native Mexico. (He lived in Los Angeles for many years and visits each year).–updated 06/2017 

 

This place was recommended by visiting friends from Durango, CO, so we tried it. Although the Mexican food is no where near as good as it is in the Southwest. I got the enchiladas, Fred got the burrito (rice and beans included) and those meals included a plate of nachos–their version–along with a healthy portion of freshly made guacamole. Their tortilla chips are homemade and delicious. After Fred tasted my margarita he decided to order one himself and he never orders that drink! It was gringo-cold and just right. Then after our meals came, we were served a 2nd bowl of that good guacamole. A friendly place, and the entire bill came out to $12.50.

–We went again and for four people the bill came out to $22.50 — three of us had a margarita and one had a large beer. I happen to really like his margaritas. Our number one Mexican restaurant in Imbabura thus far.  –2014

 

SISA cafe: We stopped in recently to have an Americano and some tiramisu and must say that they have done an awesome job with their cafe on the third floor. The building has an elevator, and their restaurant is on the 2nd floor which we have not eaten at. We have enjoyed their food in the past, such as their burgers, desserts and espresso when their cafe/restaurant was on the ground level. But for some time now, their cafe has been on the top level and it has been done up beautifully. 06/2017

 

Cava Caran on Plaza de los Ponchos, under La Cosecha Cafe. Great place for great burgers, grande loaded nachos, wings, crazy fries and more in an adorable setting. They serve their own craft beers brewed in Caranqui, Ibarra–called Caran. They are available on tap. We had the Caran IPA which I most enjoyed. The prices here are not bad either. And a mug of beer is only $3.50. –6/14/2017  

An FYI: The owner informed us that craft beers are really growing in Ecuador. Currently there are 80 micro breweries throughout the country.

 

Incazen Tea House at 12-04 Sucre, near the corner of Sucre and Morales. For teas, cocktails and foodVegan items are also available. Haven’t tried this place yet, but it got good reviews from a friend. American owned. Update: We stopped in and Monique said that she is open from Thursday to Sunday, starting at 11am. Get a cup of tea for $2.50 and it includes either a cupcake or a gluten free vegan brownie. –03/2017

 

Sumac Restaurant — New location: Quito and Sucre in Otavalo. They are open Tuesday to Saturday from 1pm to 10pm. You can make a reservation at 099-423-7153 or 06-292-3808 or private message him through Facebook.  —12/2016

This Quichuan chef knows what he’s doing. Fabulous food served elegantly –from the shrimp & patacomes appetizer, the potato soup, the main course, to the desert, were all presented exquisitely, and everything was scrumptious when he was in Cotacachi. He has studied at the Culinary Institute in Quito. A Gringo lady highly recommended this place to us. $9.50 for a four course meal (the menu of the day) Fantastic service. — reposted 12/2016

 

Carbón De Palo — On one of the principal streets not far from the main park. When I saw the burgers come out for another table, my jaw dropped. They were American-style meals. However, my friend and I spilt a salad for $7.00 that was amazing–very large and quite flavorful–loaded with very tasty chicken, plenty of bacon, eggs, corn, avocados, tomatoes, & more. I mean, we’re talking an Applebee’s salad here. Before our meal came out we were served small roasted potatoes served with a cheese sauce. That appetizer was not expected. Very cute place, small and very busy. Must go back. –09/2016 Update: Hope they’re still open, but I could not find this place again. 03/2017

SaladinOtavalo

 

Balcón de Imbabura – In Plaza de los Ponchos, a door or two down from La Cosecha. While I enjoyed the large chicken burrito for $5.00, my friend had a humongous veggie omelet for 3.50 which came with bread. It comes flat like a large pancake with the veggies on top, then you fold it. My friend says that the blueberry pancakes are excellent also. –09/2016 Update: I’m unrecommending this place now. Went again and was not so impressed that time around. 03/2017

 

Cafe Plaza S.I.S.A For coffee on Plaza de los Ponchos, we like this place. She, the owner, dumped three Americanos because the drinks were not hot enough, as their espresso machine was not quite ready. When the machine was ready, however, what she did serve was perfect. Quaint and reasonable. Her husband owns the restaurant that is called S.I.S.A (in a different location).CAFE PLAZA S.I.S.ACafe Plaza S.I.S.A

 

La Cosecha. Owned & run by friendsIt’s been quite awhile since we’ve been here for a bagel and coffee. The atmosphere is quite nice and right on Plaza de los Ponchos. A bit on the pricier side, however. Heard that they have good sandwiches. Friends from the States just recently raved about this place because of the atmosphere. They stated that they had 2 ice coffees, a tea, and a shared ciabatta bread with cream cheese — around $12.00. We live here, so we think that that’s a bit on the high side. For vacationers, maybe not so much. Who knows?

 

Oskar Pizza. Giant pizza slices for cheap. We, and visiting friends from Florida, have really enjoyed their pizza slices at their Atuntaqui location too. This Oskars is open during the day.

 

Tako, (I think, someone else called it Jalapeños?) on Salinas, 1/2 block from Plaza de los Ponchos, in the other direction of Sloppy Joes. Great little taco place! Good size soft tacos for 2 bucks, came with juice, guacamole and chips. Very popular place too–very busy. The chicken and beef tacos were very good. There’s also chorizo, chicharrones,  and championes tacos. Only open in the evenings.  21 of us gringos showed up at once and they filled all of our orders well.

 

G & M Cafeteria Restaurant on Bolivar y Estados Unidos Simply put, we were impressed! Owned by a trained Ecuadorian chef and it showed. This restaurant–sometime in 2013–was highly recommended by a gringo. Then shortly thereafter, the place was badly bashed by a different gringo. So, we chose to forget about the it. However, when we saw that Sloppy Joes–below–was closed for lunch, we chose to check out G&M, since not only was it open for lunch — albeit a small eatery — it was packed out!

For $2.75 our taste buds did a dance over the large bowl of soup we were each served. Then we had a choice of chicken, corvina, or shrimp. We chose the shrimp. Glad we did, because that shrimp was exquisitely seasoned. The meal also came with 3 potato cakes, a radish salad, a serving of rice, and a large glass of juice — a not so typical Ecuadorian almuerzo. The aji was perfectly spiced, as in HOT — the way aji should be!  

 

Sloppy Joes  Wasn’t sure if I could even finish my burger and fries! It was a large meal for just 3.25. With David being particular about his meat mixture, the burgers come out perfectly juicy. They have a great flavor, plus the bun gets grilled. The fries were also done well. The meal comes with a pop, and there’s also free lemonade. New seating in the back is almost complete! He also has other items, such as chicken wings. It’s a popular place and I can see why. –June 16, 2016

 

The Daily Grind — Great espresso stand at Parque Central. –Hope they keep it up, because at one time the espresso was nothing more than tea-like.  

 

Puerto Lago Country Inn on San Pablo Lake lagoinn A beautiful dining experience on San Pablo Lake. I enjoyed the Cordon Blue (not the best I’ll admit, however), while my husband enjoyed his T-Bone. Their empanadas de verde appetizer was excellent; and their aji is to-die-for, and so was their herb butter. The Swiss Chocolate Torte was heavenly. A good place for a special occasion, with fantastic views. PS: Others have had complaints. Would not recommend the fish.   

 

El Taberna Bar and Grill On Morales y Sucre. We really liked El Taberna. The Hamburquesa Especial was huge and excellent, which came with a large portion of thick steak fries–$5.00. My Mojito was ice cold and tasted great–$4.00. We enjoyed the cozy atmosphere as we listened to great American dance music playing over the sound system. The kitchen did not open until 15 minutes after we got there, around 5/5:30 on a Tuesday evening in May, and we had the place to ourselves.  

 

Dulce Nevada (either no longer in business or they moved) On Sucre. Their ice cream is creamy and delicious. We were impressed by the mint ice cream with chocolate chips — the best mint helado in mainland Ecuador thus far. And the cafe flavor contained small bits of coffee beans. The owner’s father apparently makes the ice cream, and either he or his partner, perhaps spouse, is Italian.  

 

Chimichangas Located on the 2nd floor. Cute place. The burritos were huge–the guys enjoyed them. And the chimichangas were flavorful and fried just right. Although, not a very filling meal at the time, delicious Mexican food, nonetheless. They have a full bar. Open from 1 to 10.  

 

Cviche 593 (Ceviche 593) Simon Bolivar y Jose Joaqquin Olmedo A small, colorful & cute Cevicheria. The fried shrimp with it’s dipping sauce was delicious. Our shrimp took a while to come out, but it was worth the wait. We’re willing to go back and try their other seafood dishes.  

 

Buena Vista Next to Plaza de Ponchos. Each time I’ve eaten here I have enjoyed their food. They claim their food is organic. Their burgers are quite good, and so is their chili, & their soups. 

Update Oct/2015: Decided to go again, since I enjoyed this place in the past. Well…….a while back, a friend said that their nachos were United States good–as in loaded. So we decided to try those nachos. All we have to say is……that, will not happen again! A tiny plate of nachos for $6.00? True, they were loaded–Ecuadorian style that is–but seriously? And, $12.00 for a meal with 2 BBQ pork chops, or $12.00 for 2 chicken fillets with a pesto sauce — are ya kidding me!  Yes, in the past I did enjoy some of their food, but honestly, while the food may be good, it ain’t that good. Sorry, but this place is for tourists who may not know any better.  

 

Empanadas Argentinas (We believe they may have moved to Sucre y Morales next to the Incazen Tea House as there is an an Empanadas Argentinas restaurant there now.

Empanadas Argentina

Empanadas Argentina

A place for empanadas. Their crispy little empanadas were pretty good. And, we guessed it, these folks are from Argentina. Two different types of salsas were served, one was a leafy green salsa, and the other, a milder form of an aji. They had chicken, beef, apple, pineapple. On Antonio Jose de Sucre, just up from the end of Calle Neptali Ordóñez, around the corner from the fire station.     

 

 

 

 

Honourable Mentions:

Ali Micuy — mas o menos, and their chicken sandwich completo for $4.50 should have come with fries.

Deli Cafe Restaurant — I like it just fine, while my husband was not impressed. Good Bolones de Verde.   

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