While Paseo de los Niños was making its way through much of Cuenca on December 24, we found ourselves outside Villa Rosa restaurant.
We were surprised that the doors were open, and since we'd been heading for a restaurant, we changed our minds and went inside.
We've eaten there a couple of times now, and Lulie's son Isaac, who was with us that day, has been talking it up to everyone he met in Cuenca, and some back in the US, since that meal.
He was very impressed with the atmosphere, the owners, and the food.
Patricia (who has since moved on to El Jardín Restaurant), recognized us from a previous shopping trip to Coopera, where we first met her. She came right over and greeted us during our lunch. She was working in the kitchen that day, preparing meals to go for the special Christmas Eve dinner that Ecuadorians enjoy.
She told us that she was preparing a turkey, turkey gravy and stuffing, and a sweet potato casserole. Lulie asked her where she found the bright orange sweet potatoes that she'd never been able to find in Ecuador (all we ever find are purple ones).
Patricia said they were called camotes in Spanish, and were from Perú, but that some were grown in this area. She had found hers at Coopera.
She ran off to the kitchen and returned with a bag of these gems for Lulie to turn into part of our own feast that we would celebrate with her visiting son.
Villa Rosa has been open for business in the same location for over 19 years. So the owners have the decor done right.
Bertha's brother owns the house, and way back when, asked his Bertha and her sister to rent it from him. So they opened the restaurant.
As with many other restaurants in Cuenca, its main dining area is the stained-glass-covered courtyard.
Four tables sit under the glass, with more tables along the two sides of the room. There's also a room in back for larger groups.Upstairs, there's a large area, including a private room, where groups can meet and dine.
The flowers (roses, of course) are magnificent and always draw Lulie's attention, since she's a gardener and flower lover.
If you've eaten at many restaurants in Ecuador, you've learned that the service is something you put up with.
But at Villa Rosa, you're treated as someone special.
There are three waiters who all, at some point during your meal, will serve you a dish or clear away the table before the next course.
It's also a pleasure to have a waiter who speaks English, even though we both understand and speak Spanish well enough to order, and receive, what we want.
As nice as the decor and the service are, it's the food that makes Villa Rosa a restaurant that you want to return to.
They serve national and international dishes, including some traditional ones. Lulie's favorite meal is the steak (lomo fino). The chicken teriyaki is also very good.
There are pastas, beef and chicken dishes, as well as several seafood and fish dishes. The salad is one of the best Jeff has ever had, anywhere.
But it's the maracuyá (passionfruit) mousse that Jeff will long remember. One of the best non-chocolate desserts he's eaten in Ecuador.
Most passionfruit desserts have much of the tartness removed. The tang in this mousse was delightful!
And the presentation (as you can see in the image above) was spectacular.
As Patricia told us with passion that day, "We always serve the freshest and best of everything. We started the restaurant that way, and even as we have changed many menu items, we still maintain this standard—fresh and delicious!"
Villa Rosa has a fully stocked bar, with some very nice wines. If you prefer, they'll prepare you a cocktail or serve you a beer.
Also available are juices, sodas and bottled sparkling water. The waiters serve bottled water throughout the meal, filling your glass several times.
It's the little touches that really make Villa Rosa a great restaurant.
The always full water glass, the fresh rolls served with butter, and then the little bite-size items served with ají, with a chocolate served to you before you leave—they're all things that will keep you remembering Villa Rosa long after you leave.
For what you receive, which is a very enjoyable meal served in a beautiful location, with attention paid to your needs, the prices are very reasonable.
Dinner for two with a drink or glass of wine, including tax and tip, will run you in the $30-$40 range, depending on what you order (some dishes are quite a bit more than others).
Villa Rosa restaurant is located at Gran Colombia 12-22, just a few blocks from Parque Calderón. Note: in the map above, the pin should be on Gran Colombia, not on Juan Montalvo, and closer to Tarqui.
The restaurant is open for dinner nightly, except, usually, Saturday night. And you may also find it open for lunch, as we did.
To make a reservation, call 07-2837944.
You owe it to yourself to enjoy what Villa Rosa Restaurant has to offer. It could even become habit-forming, as it has for us.
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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!!