If you have a hankering for North American cooking for breakfast or lunch in Cuenca, San Sebas Café is the place you're looking for.
This café, on the southwest corner of Plaza de San Sebastian/Parque San Sebastian (now you know how it got its name), at Calle Sucre, has quickly become popular with expats from all over Cuenca.
An even more impressive sign of its popularity is the number of Cuencanos we find there every time we visit.
San Sebas is operated by someone you wouldn't expect to see running a restaurant in Ecuador, a twenty-something from Texas named Lindsay Burton.
Lindsay had lived in Cuenca for a while with her parents. When she decided to go out on her own, after going back to the US for a short while, she went big!
The cafe boasts a terrific menu of delicious breakfast and lunch dishes, along with all your favorite coffee drinks. There's a daily lunch special as well.
The Vanilla Cinnamon French Toast is fabulous (or try the French Toast Sandwich, with 2 eggs and 2 strips of bacon between slices of french toast).
The Big Breakfast, Lulie's favorite, lands in front of you with three eggs, rosemary hash browns and crisp meaty bacon, and one pancake, enough to fill even a Texan. That's the most expensive breakfast on the menu. Price? $5.50.
There's also a choice of Oatmeal Banana Nut Pancakes and Sourdough Pancakes.
If you like scrambled eggs, the Mexicano won't leave you feeling empty. It's made with three eggs, black beans, onions, peppers and cheese, with sliced avocado on the side. It comes with a side dish (your choice of hash browns, a pancake, a cup of fruit, and several more items) and white or multigrain toast). This one stuffed Jeff to the gills just yesterday!
Other scrambles include Veggie and Greek, plus a create your own option.
Choose from four sandwiches, five burgers, three salads, and three polish dogs. Plus the soup of the day.
Sandwiches include a BLT with basil mayonnaise on rosemary focaccia bread and the California Chicken, made with chipotle grilled chicken, cheddar, avocado, lettuce, bacon, tomato, red onion and basil mayo. There's also a Caesar wrap. All the sandwiches come with gourmet veggie chips.
All the half-pound burgers include the Mexi-Burger, which comes with avocado, chipotle mayo, lettuce, tomato, red onions and jalapeños, and the BBQ Burger, with smoked cheddar, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato and BBQ sauce.
And good news for vegetarians! You can have any of the burgers with a black bean veggie patty.
All the burgers come with seasoned fries.
Jeff highly recommends the Chipotle Chicken Salad. It comes with avocado, corn, black beans, grilled peppers, cheese, with a delicious cilantro lime vinaigrette. Blue Cheese and Greek salads are also available.
We probably shouldn't tell you this, but we will. Lindsay sells some of the best desserts you'll find in Cuenca. People rave about the cheesecake, and we've heard a couple of moans of delight from the carrot cake as well.
Not all the desserts are available every day, though, so you may just have to settle for a brownie.
San Sebas Café has a bright glassed-in courtyard area, and a smaller second room.
Unusual for a restaurant in Cuenca, there's also a second floor, built around the courtyard. It's used for lunches, when the first floor is (often) filled to capacity.
The smaller room is decorated with art from local talent. This art is often for sale.
There are also a couple of tables outside if you prefer to people-watch in the plaza.
Occasionally, there's entertainment as well.
And just as you enter, on the left, there's a great little gift shop with Ecuadorian jewelry, clothing and special things collected by Maureen.
The most expensive breakfast is $5.50. The most expensive lunch is $5.75.
These prices include the 12% tax.
This definitely puts San Sebas Café in the Inexpensive category of Cuenca restaurants.
At this time, Lindsay accepts cash only for payment.
San Sebas Café is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
It's located at Calle Sucre and Parque San Sebastian (also called Plaza de San Sebastian). On the map below, it's on the bottom left corner of the green area where the thumbtack is.
You can reach them by phone at 07-284-3496 (drop the 07 if you're calling from a landline in Cuenca). Or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And after you eat, why not visit the Museo Municipal de Arte Moderno, just across the street on Calle Sucre?
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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!!