Ecuador has eating options for most palates, especially in Guayaquil and Quito, where international cuisine, fast food and most styles of South American dishes can be found. Ecuadorian specialties vary depending on which region you find yourself in, but one thing’s for sure – the whole country loves plantain. Typical plates include meat or fish, with a choice of carbs plus vegetables or salad. It’s common to be served double carbs (commonly rice, with beans, lentils, plantain or potatoes) with most meals.

Eating Customs & Tipping

Buen provecho is what Ecuadorians say before a meal, directly translating to 'good appetite', but meaning 'enjoy your meal'. (It's also polite to say this to other diners as you exit a restaurant.) Top end restaurants will commonly add a 10% service charge to your bill, plus tax. In this case there is no need to leave a tip. In most other restaurants, tax will be included in the bill, and tips are not expected but welcomed – for good service use a ballpark figure of 10%, and 15% for outstanding service.

The Basics

Ecuador has a diverse range of local and international dining options. Booking a table on the day is usually fine, with the exception of holidays and festivals. Book top end restaurants in advance.

Restaurants Range from streetside vendors to plush air-conditioned, security-guard-fronted venues. Mostly South American options, plus international cuisine in bigger cities.

Cafes Many places disappointingly serve instant coffee, so ask if they use real ground coffee beans before you order. Most cafes have wi-fi and are open early morning to early evening. Mostly, be patient: coffee often takes time here.

Hotels Many hotels do have restaurants, only the international brands will have superior restaurants.

Essential Food & Drink

Canelazo Aguardiente (sugarcane alcohol) with hot cider and cinnamon, distilled and warmed, just right for Andean nights.

Ceviche Ecuador’s take on sushi, but cooked a bit.

Chifle Because who doesn't love banana chips?

Chugchucara Too much pork for just one fork?

Pajaro Azul Herb-infused aguardiente (sugarcane alcohol) that will have you seeing stars.