When it comes to food, Cuenca is definitely not New York, or London, or Toronto. But Cuenca restaurants do provide a variety of menus that will satisfy just about any palate.
Whether you're looking for a cheap bite (lunch (almuerzo for $2.50, anyone?) or an exquisite meal and fine wine in a beautiful location, Cuenca provides it!
Below you'll find a growing list of restaurants, hotel dining rooms, and eateries where you can enjoy meals for as little as a couple of bucks, to as much as $100 for two (with wine).
We list them by price range so that you can find a location that matches your budget and desires. Our price ranges are for meals for two diners.
Always check your bill before paying it, and definitely before leaving. Some restaurants in Cuenca will add on something you didn't order, or not serve something but still have it on the bill (not uncommon). Whether it's by design or by accident, if you don't catch it, it's money in their pocket. So check your bill.
And if you're charged a 10% service charge, you don't need to add a tip. If you do want to tip, make it small. Perhaps another 5% of the cost of the food and drinks (not the total bill, which already includes the 12% tax and 10% service charge).
If you're a permanent resident of Ecuador (you have a cédula), and you're 65 or older, you're entitled to receive a rebate of the 12% IVA tax (to a maximum of about $160 a month). But only if you have a bill (called a factura) that has your name and cédula number on it.
Every restaurant will give you one, but you have to ask for it, and give them your cédula. If you're in the market for an extra $1,900 or so a year in your pocket, ask for a factura.
All listings are in alphabetical order only.
Be sure to read the small print on the menu. Many of the lower-priced Cuenca restaurants include the 12% IVA (tax) in the cost of your meal.
The menus at the higher end locations don't include the tax, or a 10% service charge that they'll tack on to your bill.
We'll start with the mid-range Cuenca restaurants, since most of them fall into this category, and most visitors to the city, and most expat residents, are looking for meals in this price range.
For lunch, we consider $15 to $20 for two diners to be mid-range. For dinner, $20 to $35 for two, which could include a glass of wine for each of you, and the tax and service charge.
Café Eucalyptus, Tastes You Won't Find in Cuenca
El Maíz Restaurant, Rescuing Ecuador's Heritage Cuisine, including corn and quinoa dishes.
El Pedregal Azteca Restaurant, Serving Up Authentic Mexican Food. Food you won't find elsewhere in Cuenca.
Frutilados in Cuenca, Cakes, Ice Cream and Cookies, plus their famous frutilados
Inca Lounge and Bistro, Expats by Day, Locals by Night
La Fornace Pizza and Ice Cream, The Best Chocolate Ice Cream in Cuenca
Mangiare Bene Restaurant, A Pasta Lover's Delight! Thin pasta and delightful sauces.
Mediterraneo Ristorante, A Wide Variety of Authentic Italian Dishes
Tertulia Bar Restaurant, A "Musical" Restaurant in El Centro
Zóe Restaurant Café Bar, Serving What Expats Like
There are a lot of very inexpensive places to eat in Cuenca. Some are tiny holes in the wall. Others are well known and very popular.
For lunch, we consider $5 to $15 to be inexpensive for two diners. For dinner, $10 to $15 (as high as $20 depending on how much you want to eat) for two people, including the tax and service charge.
Good Affinity Vegetarian Restaurant, Meatless Lunches, Very Inexpensive
Moliendo Café, Delicious Colombian Food
San Sebas Café, North American Portions, North American Food
Taj Mahal Bar Restaurante, Cuenca's Indian and Shawarma Restaurant
Tutto Freddo, Ice Cream, Pastries, and Meals
There aren't too many expensive restaurants in Cuenca. The ones that are have great decor, fine wines, and excellent service. Plus the little extras, like an aperitif after dinner, or sorbet between dishes, or constant refills of bottled water from a pitcher, not a bottle! Or they're just completely unique in all of Cuenca.
Expect to pay over $20 for two for lunch, and at least $35 for dinner (usually more), including a glass of wine, tax and service charge, for two.
California Kitchen, Serving It Fresh in Cuenca! Great food from a family of California expats.
Casa Alonso, A Taste of Ecuador in Nouvelle Cuisine
Creta Restaurante, Excellent Food in a Hidden Location
Las Monjas Restaurant, Fine Dining in a Spectacular Setting
Tiestos Café Restaurant, A Unique Restaurant and a Unique Chef
Villa Rosa Restaurant, Fine Dining in a Delightful Setting
Click the Like button to share this page with your friends...
Click the Like button to share Captivating Cuenca with your friends...
I just want to thank you both soooo much for creating this web site. I am originally from Cuenca but moved to New York 11 years ago and have not being back since. My husband and I are planning on visiting Cuenca over the Summer and this web site has helped me a lot.
When I came to the US we still had the "sucre," the bus ride cost 1,000 sucres and a pack of trident gum would cost 3,000 sucres. I am very nervous to go back, but thanks to your web site I now know what to expect.
My husband is American and Captivating Cuenca has taught him a lot about what my great city has to offer, things that I had forgotten about myself! :)
Thank You both so much! I cannot wait to visit Cuenca!!