In the past, vegetarians and vegan travelers in Ecuador had little to choose from aside from heaping plates of rice, beans, eggs, potatoes, and whatever vegetables were at hand. Luckily, in Quito, there is a growing crop of goto restaurants that are filling the void. Keep reading for a few favorites spanning a spectrum of culinary standards to find when in the city.
If you are looking for cheap, cheerful, and hearty vegetarian and vegan food, Mile Time’s set lunch menu is a fun find in the heart of the Mariscal district of the New Town. Asian menu items including tofu dishes, savory soups, spring rolls, and a choice of healthy juices take it out of the ordinary. The friendly, English-speaking owners are often on hand help to navigate the menu if worried about ingredients and preparation.
Baquerizo Moreno and Reina Victoria
For a well-crafted vegan menu that indulges in delicious food from falafel and risotto to filling soups, chickpea burgers, empanadas, calzones, and thin crust pizzas, Tandana hits the spot.
The hip hotspot sits at the top of the Guapulo neighborhood-overlooking the picturesque church below and the neighboring valley of the city in the distance. It’s a great spot for a night enjoying the surroundings both inside and out. It also serves as the public front of Libera, a non-profit group dedicated to protecting wildlife and preserving the environment in Ecuador.
Mirador de Guapulo Camino de Orellana
A local favorite for steaming plates of vegan Taiwanese food served cafeteria style, Formosa has the right mix of flavor and creative options for a cheap and cheerful meal. Set lunches hit the right notes with soups, noodle and vegetable dishes, dumplings, wantons, juice, and a desert.
Jeronimo Carrion y Juan Leon Mera
A vegan spot where the food is an innovative take on dishes including burgers, sushi, soups, and wraps using fresh ingredients and house-made sauces and cheeses, Ahimsa is a great find. The owners and chefs are on hand for help with the different plates and a casual conversation. Salads and ceviche are also on the menu for new twists on Ecuadorian cuisine.
Update: This restaurant, unfortunately, closed its doors in December 2018
Reina Victoria y Juan León Mera
Committed to sustainable and local agriculture and permaculture, Flora delivers when it comes to good food and fun company. The small, revolving a la carte menu has included burritos, ceviche, soups, stews, salads, and the house specialty-raw food. Daily menu items are often lasagna, pasta, pizzas, omelets, and roast veggie plated using garbanzo beans, quinoa, zucchini, sautéed mushrooms, and hummus. Events take place regularly, as do daily specials.
El Maple stands out as one of the longstanding and staple go to places for good, filling, vegan and vegetarian food that puts the flavor back into Indian, Chinese, Thai, and Ecuadorian plates inspired from traditional recipes of the mountains.
Starters include nachos with vegan cheese, and daily set menus combine hearty vegetable and quinoa soups, bean stews, seitan, natural juices, and homemade desserts into a delicious meal made with care.
Joaquín Pinto E7-68 y Diego de Almagro
Other considerations when looking for good vegetarian food in Quito are some of the places that serve a wide variety of tasty food that includes different dishes and meals that are meat-free.
These include Indian from Tandori on Mera and Cordero, pizza and Italian from Cosa Nostra in the Mariscal neighborhood, Middle Eastern from Baalbek on 6 de Diciembre, Oriental and stir fry from Wok to Walk-wraps, bowls, and soups, from Freshii chains around town, and tacos from Fridas in the La Floresta neighborhood. Other honorable mentions include Ati Korean for Korean BBQ and Donde Gopal in the La Floresta neighborhood for buffet-style vegetarian fare.