Ecuadorian food is a necessary and enjoyable part of life in Ecuador. In Ecuador's Andean region (La Sierra), expect mainly meat dishes.
In the coastal region people eat more yucca (casave) instead of potato and, of course, sea food instead of meat.
The best places to eat typical Ecuadorian meals are huecos. These small restaurants that may not look that cosy, but the food is really good. Prices for these typical dishes vary between $4 USD and $8 USD.
Most pf the best restaurants are located in the following neighborhoods: La Floresta, La Mariscal, Carolina, Gonzalez Suarez and El Batan. Some of them serve typical Ecuadorian food, others have an internationally orientated kitchen.
For lunch, most Ecuadorians go to a typical almuerzo restaurant, where a lunch menu with one or two options is served for $2.50 USD to $5 USD, generally including soup, a main course and glass of juice or lemonade.
Check the website of Ecuador Gourmet Company for the best restaurants in your neighborhood.
Vegetarian restaurants are up and coming in North Quito and the valleys, from cheap places with almuerzo for approximately $5 USD to restaurants with more upscale dining. A selection of vegetarian restaurants in Quito:
Besides globally known fast foods, like pizza and hamburgers, you can also find local fast/street food, like tripas, tortillas de maís, and empanada.
Fast food from other South American countries also form a good, quick meal. For example, the Venezuelan arepas.
Although some Ecuadorians drink it, it is best to not to drink tap water. Bottled water is a solution, but a more environmental options is a water filter. Boling water is another solution. Make sure you boil it for at least five minutes before drinking it.
Ecuador has an amazing diversity of fruits and vegetables, and you can buy fresh juices at many places (check if they are prepared with bottled water).
Although coffee beans of great quality grow in Ecuador, the country is not famous for its coffee, like Colombia. Nowadays, however, cozy coffee shops with good quality coffee are located all over Quito.
Most cafes are located in the neighborhoods in North Quito, like La Mariscal, La Floresta, and La Carolina. La Mariscal is the area with most bars and cafes, making it the center of Quito's nightlife. However, the old town also has some nice cafes and the main square of Cumbaya has a range of restaurants and bars.
Alcohol is not difficult to purchase; people 18 years and older can buy it in supermarkets and shops all over town, even at night in 24/7 shops. Drinking on the streets and public spaces, like parks, is not allowed.
Ecuadorians like to drink local beer, of which Pilsener and Club are the most popular.
After beer, strong drinks like tequila and rum are most popular. Wine is pretty expensive and not a traditional drink, although it is getting more popular.
In most cases, a 10% service fee is already included in the total price on the bill (not in the menu prices) and you can choose to leave an extra tip or not. If service is not included, a tipping fee of 5% to 10% is common.