What is Cocina Mestiza?

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● 6 minutes read

When perusing the Casa Gangotena Restaurant menu, you may wonder what is implied by the phrase cocina mestiza. This is the name we use to describe our distinct style of cuisine—a reimagination of traditional Ecuadorian fare prepared with fresh, regionally-sourced ingredients. Modern culinary techniques inform our approach to creating memorable dishes that feature incredible colors, flavors, and textures in every bite.

In essence, cocina mestiza is a singular gastronomic experience that you can enjoy by sampling the various dishes on our menu. The sensational offerings are delivered with an attention to detail and presentation that have become synonymous with Casa Gangotena’s Restaurant.

New offerings from Casa Gangotena's Restaurant
Slow-cooked for 24 hours, the Pancetta is accompanied by a pea and mint glaze, and a variety of maize.

What does cocina mestiza mean in English?

Luckily, we can easily translate cocina to “cuisine;” however the word mestiza is a little more complicated. A direct translation would imply “of mixed origin”—probably not the best translation for food! Think of it like this: Mestiza is to Ecuador what Creole is to the Caribbean. Therefore, cocina mestiza is the combination of indigenous- and European-influenced cooking traditions, envisioned anew through modern techniques while celebrating fresh, native, and locally sourced ingredients.

tuna cocina mestiza
The Red Tuna features a chulpi corn crust accompanied by a chili, plantain, and coconut purée

What is Ecuador’s gastronomic history?

Ecuador has four distinct geographical regions. Culture and food vary quite a bit between each of these. Historically, the journey from the highlands to the coast or from the highlands to the Amazon was long and arduous. The Galapagos were even more difficult to reach, as they were only accessible by plane or via a very long voyage by sea. Prior to the advent of engines, roads, and all the corresponding infrastructure, people settled in a specific region and rarely ventured far from it. This resulted in the evolution of specific traditions, distinct cooking styles, and varied diets suited to their particular environment, topography, resources, and climate.

locro cocina mestiza
A local favorite, the Locro Quiteño features potato, paico, fresh cheese, avocado, pork rinds, and chulpi corn.

Indigenous tribes made good use of root vegetables, like cassava, and grains, such as quinoa, readily available in their region. They primarily ate fish and the occasional animal successfully hunted. In the 16th century, the Spaniards arrived and conquered the Inca Empire and, by extension, several local indigenous tribes. Along the way, they introduced culinary dishes from Europe, which included a lot of meat and poultry: beef, lamb, pork, chicken, and duck. This influential event would forever change culinary styles, concepts, and food preparation throughout Ecuador.

Cocina Mestiza-style Duck
Our cocina mestiza-style duck comes cured and is served with an apple sauce, fennel, and vanilla glaze.

The world has become infinitely smaller thanks to the accessibility of air travel, and the vast sharing of information via the Internet. Many people from all over the world have relocated to Ecuador, bringing with them recipes for dishes and cooking techniques from places like Europe, North America, and Asia. Conversely, in today’s day and age, there is an endless amount of information and media available online, focusing on exciting new culinary ideas. The introduction of these new concepts has led to yet another new dynamic in Ecuadorian cuisine.

Grilled Salad - Cocina Mestiza
The Grilled Salad features lettuce heart, asparagus, mint, and fresh cheese.

Our cocina mestiza expertly combines the largely vegetarian diet and cooking styles of the country’s first indigenous tribes with the more diverse European cuisine and premium cuts that were introduced along with it, creating an unparalleled dining experience that meshes many cultures together with unique ingredients sourced from different parts of Ecuador.

What is Casa Gangotena’s Restaurant dress code? – At Casa Gangotena, we don’t have a dress code! We strongly recommend you dress as comfortable as possible in order to enjoy the wonders of Quito’s Historic Center before or after your visit to our restaurant.

What are some examples of cocina mestiza?

Casa Gangotena’s cocina mestiza is a unique culinary adventure.

Prawns Cocina Mestiza
Cocina mestiza-style Prawns, marinated in butter and served over a coconut sauce with shallots and notes of lemon verbena.

While sitting in the comfort of the magical Casa Gangotena Restaurant, you can enjoy a selection of delicious items such as Prawns from the Ecuadorian Coast, prepared in a traditionally inspired coconut, or encocado, sauce from Esmeraldas Province. This delicious dish, prepared with lemon verbena, shallots, and fresh butter, spotlights some of Ecuador’s most recognizable ingredients as they shine with every bite.

Cocina Mestiza-style Lamb
The Lamb loin features a pistachio coating and is served over fig sauce alongside grilled pumpkin and white oyster mushrooms.

Another sought-after dish on the cocina mestiza menu is the Lamb. This delicious Andean chop is wrapped in an unforgettable pistachio crust, and served alongside a tangy fig sauce, with white oyster mushrooms and grilled pumpkin. This incomparable treat will have your taste buds begging for more!

Andean Salad - Cocina Mestiza
The Andean Salad features regional ingredients like red and white quinoa, crispy chickpea, and grilled cebollitas, with dollops of naranjilla and red currant dressing, plus puréed lupini bean.

Some menu items may be a little hard to explain as the herbs and vegetables used are native to the area and aren’t commonly found outside Latin America. One example of this is the Andean Salad featuring red and white quinoa, crispy chickpeas, lupin hummus, grilled vegetables, and a naranjilla-infused dressing.

Ceviche Cocina Mestiza
The Citrusy Fish Ceviche bathes fresh catch-of-the-day in a mixture of lemon juice, cucumber, and basil.

At Casa Gangotena, regional flavors come alive in some of our more traditional dishes. Take, for example, our Citrusy Fish Ceviche. This Quiteño-style favorite offers the chance to try the catch-of-the-day (fish) in a refreshing citric lemon and lime base, with cucumber and basil. Homemade plantain chips, freshly popped corn, and toasted corn nuts provide the perfect complement to this popular offering.

Beet Tartare - Cocina Mestiza
The Beetroot Tartare is a quenelle prepared with taxo, amaranth, pickled radishes, and walnut.

The chefs at the Casa Gangotena Restaurant are constantly finding ways to celebrate typical ingredients found throughout much of the country. Take, for instance, the Beetroot Tartare appetizer, which features beetroot quenelle, taxo (fruit), amaranth, pickled radishes, and walnut. Or, if you want to enjoy something familiar in a whole new way, try the Red Tuna appetizer, covered in a delicate crust prepared from toasted corn nut, served alongside an exciting chili, plantain, and coconut purée.

What other aspects distinguish Casa Gangotena’s cocina mestiza from every other restaurant?

In addition to the perfect blend of local ingredients, traditional recipes, and cultural influences, cocina mestiza also employs incredibly unique plateware. Calling upon Ecuador’s volcanic origins, the dishes used at Casa Gangotena’s Restaurant are partially made with basalt and granite. Each one contains a graphic representation of the San Francisco church in homage to Casa Gangotena’s iconic neighbor. Incredibly enough, no two plates are the same, resulting in cocina mestiza’s stunning visuals.

Additionally, our servers are delighted to guide your palate through the optimal combination of components that make up each dish. Allow us to help you experience the greatest blend of complementary flavors in a single bite. Think of it as an extension of your journey through Ecuador—without having to leave your seat!

pesca cocina mestiza
The Fish is a delicious sole served over a fried yucca, tangerine, and ginger purée.

Casa Gangotena’s cocina mestiza is an authentic gastro-sensorial experience of the best local and regional ingredients prepared with exquisite culinary expertise. Guests can experience Ecuador’s rich culinary traditions through a modern lens, in an elegant and comfortable atmosphere. Every flavor, every sauce, and every spice has been expertly chosen to represent the very best of Ecuadorian gastronomy. More than just a menu, cocina mestiza is an intricate blend of traditional flavors and the very essence of a truly mouthwatering dining experience.

How do I get to Casa Gangotena’s Restaurant? – Though it’s fairly easy to get to Casa Gangotena from any point in Quito, here you can find directions that will help you reach our restaurant:

Travelers exploring the unique landscape near Finch Bay, showcasing the luxury experiences offered by the Gangotena Boutique Hotel network in the golden triangle.
Our Premier Ecuador Experience: The Golden Triangle
A Complete Experience that brings you the very best of Ecuador and The Galapagos Islands. With a stint in the Heart of Quito, The Mashpi Reserve, and a stay at The Galapagos Islands most lauded Hotel, Finch Bay.


5 Responses

    1. Buenas tardes, para más información contactarse al Restaurante Casa Gangotena a este número (+593) 979 999 995

    1. Yes, at Casa Gangotena, we pride ourselves on offering an inclusive dining experience that caters to all our guests.

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