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17 September, 2021 José Ayerve
Reading Time: 10 minutes

The cocktail: that classic concoction that unites and relaxes us, helps us celebrate momentous occasions and enjoy the company of friends, family, and colleagues, alike. At Casa Gangotena, our team of bartenders and beverage specialists have created an exciting series of cocktails that pay tribute to Ecuador’s unique towns and provinces by celebrating native regional ingredients.

In this blog we’ll show you why Casa Gangotena’s Bar is where you can find and enjoy some of the best cocktails in all of Quito.

Best drinks in Quito? FIESTA by Casa Gangotena

Introducing FIESTA by Casa Gangotena. This line of cocktails was conceived to take our guests on a mixological tour through some of Ecuador’s loveliest provinces and towns, celebrating the wealth of unique native ingredients commonly enjoyed in each of these regions:

Here’s a quick preview of the best drinks you’ll enjoy as part of this new collection:

FIESTA by Casa Gangotena presents The Maize Festival cocktail
FIESTA by Casa Gangotena presents The Devil's Dance of Pillaro cocktail
FIESTA by Casa Gangotena presents the Guaranda Carnival cocktail
FIESTA by Casa Gangotena presents La Mama Negra cocktail
FIESTA by Casa Gangotena presents the Carnival of Flowers and Fruits cocktail
FIESTA by Casa Gangotena presents the Corpus Christi in Pujili cocktail
FIESTA by Casa Gangotena presents the Carnival of Flowers and Fruits cocktail

Fiesta del Maiz cocktail by Casa Gangotena
FIESTA by Casa Gangotena: Fiesta del Maíz
Diablada de Pillaro cocktail by Casa Gangotena
FIESTA by Casa Gangotena: Diablada de Píllaro
Carnaval de Guaranda cocktail by Casa Gangotena
FIESTA by Casa Gangotena: Carnaval de Guaranda
La Mama Negra cocktail by Casa Gangotena
FIESTA by Casa Gangotena: La Mama Negra
Carnaval de Flores y Frutas cocktail by Casa Gangotena
FIESTA by Casa Gangotena: Carnaval de Flores y Frutas
Corpus Christi en Pujili cocktail by Casa Gangotena
FIESTA by Casa Gangotena: Corpus Christi en Pujilí
Carnaval de Flores y Frutas cocktail by Casa Gangotena

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Fiesta del Maíz (The Maize Festival)

Maize (corn) grown in the northern province of Imbabura is as varied and as colorful as you can imagine. Yellow, purple, and black are just some of the hues that appear in many distinct recipes; one of which is a popular fermented beverage called chicha. Casa Gangotena’s mixologist has designed the Fiesta del Maíz to include bourbon, hominy, redcurrant, IPA, and gin.

Diablada de Píllaro (The Devil’s Dance of Píllaro)

Ecuador’s past is an important and contentious part of the nation’s history; one that provides insights into the rebellious actions of indigenous groups that used imagery, art, and dance to amplify their protests against the injustices of Spanish colonial rule. This concoction features a devilish mix of rum, apple, ginger, hot pepper, hominy juice, and goldenberry.

Carnaval de Guaranda (Guaranda Carnival)

In Bolívar Province, the municipality of Guaranda is famous for its celebration of Carnival. The region’s own blend of moonshine, called Pájaro Azul, features alongside vodka, hops, figs, white truffle, and turmeric in this festive and tasty libation.

La Mama Negra (The Black Mama)

Just about an hour south of Quito, in the city of Latacunga, the Virgin of Mercy is believed to have stopped the eruption of nearby Cotopaxi volcano in 1742. She is the colorful embodiment of the indigenous, African, and Spanish peoples who inhabited the area. In her honor, rum, toasted butter, purple sweet potato, cocoa mucilage, and sherry-cask whisky combine in celebratory tribute.

Carnaval de Flores y Frutas (Carnival of Flowers and Fruits)

Just a short distance from Latacunga, Ambato’s bountiful lands produce a wealth of flowers. These are revered with an exuberant beverage comprised of gin, roses, quince, lavender, and tequila.

Corpus Christi en Pujilí (Corpus Christi in Pujilí)

The Inca Emperor Huayna Capac, who ruled over these lands centuries ago, is referenced in the exuberant and dynamic costumes and headdresses that inspire today’s cultural celebrations of mestizaje in the small town of Pujilí. This tradition is captured in a delicious and quality blend of whisky, sugar cane, rose water, carrot, and coconut.

 

Homage: Where Familiar Flavors Meet Their Match

Another new addition to Casa Gangotena’s bar menu is Homage, cocktails with flavors you’ve come to love in unique new combinations that we’re certain will entice your palate!

Caña Manabita: Accommodating and Adventurous

One of the unique spirits found in Ecuador is caña, a liquor produced through the distillation of sugar cane juice. The coastal province of Manabá enjoys a splendid reputation for its heavenly caña manabita. Let’s look at how Homage creations extol the virtues of this regional favorite.

Sangorache

Beginning with Sangorache, caña manabita is the fuel that turns this seven-herb Andean tea blended with pineapple, key lime, egg whites, and syrup (made from lavender and chamomile) into a light, sweet, and tangy mosaic that provides plenty of refreshment and just the right punch.

Alquimia

Similarly, the Alquimia also includes chamomile, this time, as part of a rose-infused gin combined with pineapple extract, cucumber, and passion fruit, taking to the proverbial dancefloor with the ultimate tangerine-infused caña manabita. The result is astounding!

Mashpi

The Mashpi, named for Casa Gangotena’s sister hotel and reserve in the heart of the Chocó rainforest, is all about adventure. Imagine a smooth Chardonnay dressed in ginger, lemon leaves, and just the right amount of basil syrup. Now, transform it with the star ingredient—a pineapple- and nut-infused caña manabita! Invigorating doesn’t begin to describe the magic of this concoction!

Flor de Jamaica

In keeping with this theme, Homage presents this simple and exotic beverage that takes caña manabita infused with coconut and the Flower of Jamaica (hibiscus) and combines it with lemon verbena, blackberry, Sauvignon Blanc, and ginger. It provides the perfect little pick-me-up to get your afternoon or evening off to the right start!

Nuestro Canelazo

Quito’s Old Town is steeped in tradition and well known for being the place where you can find the country’s best Canelazo. This tried-and-true recipe takes an already perfect drink and makes it even better! Our bartenders blend the same hibiscus- and coconut-infused caña manabita with naranjilla, cinnamon water, gala apple purée, and chamomile syrup to produce Nuestro (our) Canelazo, an unforgettable drink we’re certain you’ll enjoy as much as any local!

Stylish Comfort never tasted so good!

Next up, we have a set of signature cocktails that highlight and transform familiar flavors like vodka, gin, rum, and whisky into delightful iterations that we hope will become your new favorites!

El Guardián

To create a beverage that embodies the profound and hearty traits of strength and confidence, Casa Gangotena’s mixologist has drafted some rather unique ingredients, which, on their own, may not seem so formidable, but when combined, feel centurion; pineapple-infused rum, jalapeño, cantaloupe, and cured ham sauce meld with Aperol and syrup made with ylang ylang (a fragrant, tropical, star-shaped flower) to form El Guardián.

Homage by Casa Gangotena presents The Ahumado
Casa Gangotena offers some of the best drinks in Quito. For instance, their Homage series features The Ahumado, a smokey and mysterious cocktail.

Ahumado

Rhubarb and pineapple bring a touch of sweet—and perhaps just the right amount of tart—to a rather austere encounter between vodka and mezcal. Add to this a little liquid smoke, and you’ve captured the essence of a fascinating noir film in an irresistible and sophisticated cocktail.

Zarza de Monte

Along the ridges of the rolling hills in the impressive mountainous region of Ecuador’s snow-peaked Andes, berry bushes grow both eagerly and vibrantly. This bramble, or zarza, is honored in a reinterpretation of the classic gin and tonic; one that welcomes the addition of tangerine, raspberry, currant, Meyer lemon, and sunflower syrup.

Licoroso

Cardamom, with its intense aroma, is a spice commonly associated with Indian cuisine. However, did you know that Latin America has become one of the most important producers of this highly sought-after ingredient? The Licoroso takes full advantage of it in this pairing with both sherry and sherry-cask whisky.

Homage by Casa Gangotena presents The Cremoso cocktail
Homage by Casa Gangotena presents The Cremoso, a straightforward and elegant cocktail.

Cremoso

Sometimes, it’s hard to decide on the right drink. Perhaps you just need a simple, straightforward, and silky concoction that will hit the spot and wet your whistle. The Cremoso may be just what you desire: vodka, sesame seed, and sherry brandy.

 

Margaritas: Sunshine in a Glass

As adventurous as our cocktail selection appears, when it comes to margaritas, you’re in for an even more exciting treat! Our resident mixologist has created four variations on this theme that are sure to scratch any tequila-driven itch!

For instance, our Mestiza Margarita combines white tequila with ginger- and pear-infused pisco, triple sec, coconut syrup, and Meyer lemon. The rim of the glass is bedazzled in a fun and spicy chipotle salt.

The Apple Strudel Margarita by Casa Gangotena
Casa Gangotena takes it to a whole new level. Presenting the Apple Strudel Margarita!

Our Apple Strudel, on the other hand, features an aged Corralejo Tequila and aged Diplomático Rum, plus a little triple sec, and, of course, apple strudel and coconut syrup. Sweet and serious or seriously sweet? You be the judge!

For those who merely wish to be transported to a beautiful tropical paradise, may we interest you in the Mango Tropical? This mix of vintage tequila, mango, pineapple, passion fruit, and orange liqueur will surely do the trick!

The Melón y Menta Margarita
Casa Gangotena takes it to a whole new level. Presenting the Melón y Menta Margarita!

Finally, for those who want a blast of summer sunshine, we recommend the Melón y Menta, which takes white tequila, naranjilla, melon, and mint and bathes this lovely combination in a healthy shot of orange liqueur.

Botanicals – Flowers at Their Tastiest!

Grosellas y Girasoles Botanical by Casa Gangotena
Grosellas y Girasoles: goldenberries and sunflowers shine in this delicious new botanical by Casa Gangotena.

New to the stable of Casa Gangotena bar drinks are a pair of beverages that reflect the essence of Ecuador’s tremendous flower culture. Roses and sunflowers are often combined in readily available bouquets around almost every street corner in Quito and other cities. Here, each one takes center stage.

Manzanilla y Rosas Botanical by Casa Gangotena
Manzanilla y Rosas: chamomile and roses harmonize in this delightful botanical by Casa Gangotena.

A trio of gin, chamomile, and parsley is the perfect complement to the beauty and aroma of roses in our Manzanilla y Rosas botanical. Similarly, an orchestra formed of gin, goldenberries, apple, and dill performs a charming concert with the smooth and bright taste of sunflowers in our Grosellas y Girasoles.

Mocktails – All the Fun; None of the Booze

Some folks may not wish to experience the alcohol of our signature cocktails. For them, we have prepared a special list of mocktails designed to focus on the ingenious combinations of flavors that will most definitely put a smile on their face!

The non-alcoholic Contemporáneo mocktail by Casa Gangotena
The non-alcoholic Contemporáneo mocktail by Casa Gangotena.

In our tangy and aromatic Floresta, tangerine from the region of Patate features alongside raspberry, pineapple syrup, lavender, chamomile syrup, and Meyer lemon. Pineapple syrup is also a key ingredient in El Santo, which oversees the melding of blackberry, green tea, mango, and Tahiti lime. Finally, our Contemporáneo is a sophisticated blend of chamomile, rosebuds, cucumber, banana, ginger, and lemon peel. Each of these options is worth enjoying on its own or with an appetizer from our restaurant’s innovative food menu.

CG Classics vs. The Classics

Not everyone is a fan of mixology. Some folks just want to enjoy their time-proven staples. We refer to these as The Classics. They include your standard offering of martinis, Manhattans, cosmopolitans, and more. Not to worry, our bartending team is well-versed in each of these and will adapt their preparation to your taste!

The Forest Negroni by Casa Gangotena
This classic gets a seriously delicious upgrade at Casa Gangotena!

Now, keep in mind that Casa Gangotena has been serving up delicious alcoholic beverages and cocktails for a good long time; long enough to have developed a quality reputation for their own staples—what we call the CG Classics. These include our interpretations of favorites, such as the Smoked Old Fashioned, Chilcano (which features aged multivariate pisco made from goldenberries, raspberries, Persian lime, yuzu, currant, sunflower, and ginger ale), our Aperol Spritz, a pair of unique Negronis (Smoked or Infused), as well as Our Mojito, which takes pineapple-infused rum and blends it perfectly with lime, spearmint leaves, simple syrup, and sparkling water.

Mimosas!

Of course, we have to talk about a universal favorite—a true classic, if you will—because, what’s a delicious weekend brunch without a fantastic mimosa? Casa Gangotena has three variations to offer you: our House Mimosa, which combines cava with a tangerine-infused agua fresca; our Royal Gala Mimosa, which, like the name, blends cava with gala apple purée; and our Punch Mimosa, which pairs cava with celery, melon, and pineapple syrup!

Juices and Lemonades

Our beverage selection also includes juices and specialty lemonades, like our Hibiscus & Coconut Lemonade, our Tangerine & Lemongrass Lemonade, in addition to iced Andean herbal tea, seasonal fruit juices (keep in mind that Ecuador is a nation with very rich soil and an abundance of delicious fruits that are almost always in season), and something you may or may not have tasted before: Cocoa Mucilage, an incredibly delicious byproduct of the fermentation process of one of Ecuador’s most important exports, cocoa beans!

The excitement that awaits your palate—no matter your beverage preferences—is palpable! When you visit Casa Gangotena’s Restaurant and Bar in the heart of Quito’s Old Town, be prepared for an experience like no other in the Capital. Elegance resonates throughout, not just in the stately dining room or retro-sleek bar but in each drop of our unforgettable libations you’ll be sure to enjoy!

 

Important Note

For aficionados of fine cocktails, we always recommend designating a driver before venturing to any bar. Thankfully, Quito has a wealth of transportation options: taxi, Uber, and Cabify are readily available. Also, keep in mind that Casa Gangotena is a hotel and often can accommodate last-minute reservations of rooms. Be sure to drink responsibly and you’ll enjoy the experience all the more!

Location and Hours

As always, should you elect to drive to Casa Gangotena, the concierge will be more than happy to assist you with information about where to park. The hotel also has a very convenient Valet Parking service that allows guests to enjoy their time without worrying about parking.

Here is a map of Casa Gangotena’s location, in addition to some coordinates you can input into your navigation app of choice.

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:

Casa Gangotena’s Bar is open daily beginning around lunchtime and extending late into the evening hours. If you’re worried about space or would like to guarantee a sitting area for you and your party, or maybe even reserve a table for dinner and drinks, you can reach out to our team and reserve your spot by clicking on the link below.


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3 September, 2021 José Ayerve
Reading Time: 6 minutes

The best brunch you can find in Quito, Ecuador is available every Saturday and Sunday at Casa Gangotena in the city’s beautiful historic center, along the southwest corner of the popular San Francisco Plaza. This boutique hotel’s excellent restaurant welcomes visitors and locals to the finest multi-course brunch in the capital.

Just as the term brunch combines two favorite meals in one, weekend brunch at Casa Gangotena combines international and regional favorites into one fascinating gastronomic experience. For breakfast lovers and lunch fans alike, there is so much to enjoy and celebrate! Taking your time, savoring every bite and every morsel in an elegant yet impactful setting makes it even more special. So, just why is this the best brunch in Quito? Let’s break down all the reasons.

casa gangotena brunch selection
Weekend brunch at Casa Gangotena showcases elegance, variety, and classic Ecuadorian flavors and ingredients.

Multiple Courses, a Cornucopia of Flavors

Weekend brunch at Casa Gangotena is more than just a meal, it’s an event. For one reasonable price, you can experience an exciting 12-course tasting menu (accompanied by juice, coffee or tea, and an additional alcoholic (or non-alcoholic) beverage) in a one-of-a-kind setting, overlooking one of the most photographed plazas in all of Quito! 12 courses may seem overwhelming, but the portions are just the right size so you can savor every dish without feeling like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.

One other thing to keep in mind is the concept of a “fixed” menu. Think of the selection of dishes as a sample collection of Casa Gangotena’s most popular breakfast and lunch dishes. Remember, our chef and their team are constant innovators, creating new variations to include and feature among the dozen courses. So, for repeat brunch-goers—and there are plenty—there are always some exciting new treats to savor.

casa gangotena serrano ham toast
The weekend brunch menu at Casa Gangotena features an assortment of elegant toasts including serrano ham! (reference image only, actual brunch may include different items)

Working with seasonal ingredients to create the most delectable dishes means carefully selecting those ingredients that are primed ready to consume. If an ingredient isn’t in season, the chef’s team focuses on one that is. And, since Ecuador has such a wealth of fresh vegetables, fruits, grains, and proteins, there is always an abundance of fresh and flavorful options!

Let’s look at some of the items you might encounter as part of weekend brunch at Casa Gangotena.

Breakfast Champions

For many people, the day really doesn’t begin until they’ve had their morning cup of coffee. For others, tea seems to get their day started off on the right foot. As part of weekend brunch at Casa Gangotena, guests are greeted with the charming aroma of Ecuadorian coffee and a lovely selection of caffeinated and decaffeinated teas and herbal infusions. Add to this a natural juice or soft drink of your choice, plus a special alcoholic (or non-alcoholic) beverage, and voila: thirst quenched!

Now, let’s talk about bread. Ecuador’s capital city is famous for having some of the most wonderful bakeries in all of South America. Ecuadorians tend to enjoy fresh bread throughout the day, but one type of bread is relatively new and fiercely devoured by fans of oven-baked goodness—brioche! Casa Gangotena does their brioche right, and you’ll get the chance to enjoy it with butter and jam, just how it should be!

Depending on the menu on offer, your eggs may be over-easy or over-medium. You may even get to taste some incredible deviled eggs!

Eggs over easy at Casa Gangtoena
Eggs feature as part of Casa Gangotena’s Weekend Brunch

Of course, this is just scratching the surface. Let’s talk about how to balance out your breakfast with a sample of some additional favorites you may encounter on the menu.

Nutritious and Delicious!

One of the items you may come across on the menu is avocado toast! Avocado trees are quite common in Ecuador. These green favorites have tremendous nutritional value and contain healthy fats and fiber. Slices and chunks of avocado are combined with chopped walnuts and served over a perfectly toasted slice of locally baked bread.

Avocado toast at Casa Gangotena
Avocado toast is just one of the elegant and delicious signature Casa Gangotena toasts.

Another really healthy dish you will likely get to taste is the ever-popular ceviche. Imagine freshly prepared shrimp or octopus bathed in a lime-based sauce with other ingredients like tomato, pepper, and cilantro, just to name a few. Newcomers to this dish may just fall in love with ceviche, as so many visitors have.

Ceviches in two different styles
Ceviches will vary on the day. They all come in different presentations, like the lime-based Octopus Ceviche (left) or the tomato-infused Shrimp Ceviche (right), pictured above.

And, how about a salad? Envision a bed of fresh greens mixed with grilled pear and brie cheese, or maybe some yogurt bites and sliced raspberries. Eating right never tasted so good!

Yogurt and Raspberry Salad center and Grilled Pear and Brie Salad top right
The Yogurt and Raspberry Salad features fresh greens tossed with sliced raspberries and yogurt bites (bottom center). Also shown, the Grilled Pear and Brie Salad (pictured top right)

It Came from the Sea!

For some, seafood may sound like an odd thing to incorporate into a brunch, but rest assured, it’s more exciting than you could possibly imagine! The international and regional inspiration behind the weekend brunch menu at Casa Gangotena offers the opportunity to explore delicious options like tuna tartare, steamed mussels, and shrimp tacos! Tuna, mussels and shrimp are all sourced from Ecuador’s rich coastline.

mussels in white wine sauce brunch item
casa gangotena weekend brunch tuna tartar
Shrimp taco with pickled shallots and cilantro
Bravo-style shrimp served over a fried plantain biscuit, with onions, tomato, and cilantro

Mussels in a white wine sauce
Tuna Tartar at Casa Gangotena
Shrimp Taco
Patacón y Camarón Bravo

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Speaking of Locally Sourced Ingredients…

For meat lovers, you may come across some of the most delicious tenderloin steak you’ve ever tasted! The cognac sauce that accompanies these delicious morsels of perfectly cooked steak is simply to die for.

Locally sourced tenderloin prepared in the chef’s special cognac sauce

And, to go with this dish, one item that is both a local favorite and a perfect complement, is the choclo (maize) with fresh farmer cheese.

Just Desserts!

No meal is complete without a little something sweet! As part of the 12-course weekend brunch menu at Casa Gangotena, you will certainly receive dessert. Some items you may come across include a coconut and raspberry fruit bar, a scrumptious apple crumble, or a popular Latin American favorite, arroz con leche. So, yeah, you may want to ask your server to top off your coffee just before you hit this final course.

Apple crumble and Arroz con Leche
Two dessert favorites: Apple Crumble and Arroz con Leche

Important Note

The images shown in this blog are examples of menu items that may or may not appear on any particular weekend. They are meant to be references and examples of the variety of ingredients and haute cuisine-inspired offerings available as part of Casa Gangotena’s weekend brunch. For more information about the 12-course brunch tasting menu, please contact one of our sales associates.

Location and Hours

As always, should you elect to drive to Casa Gangotena, the concierge will be more than happy to assist you with information about where to park. The hotel also has a very convenient Valet Parking service that allows guests to enjoy their meals without worrying about parking.
Here is a map of Casa Gangotena’s location, in addition to some coordinates you can input into your navigation app of choice.

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:

Weekend brunch is served every Saturday and Sunday between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Brunch consists of a 12-course meal, plus three beverages (two soft and one alcoholic) We have a full-service bar, from which you can order any additional signature cocktails or beverages. (Keep in mind that these are extra and not included in the fixed price for brunch.)
It is a good idea to make a reservation to guarantee a table for you and your party. You can reserve your spot by clicking on the link below.


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19 November, 2018 Isabel Espinoza2
Reading Time: 6 minutes

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.

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.

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!

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:

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23 April, 2018 Christopher Klassen0
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Desserts at Casa Gangotena
Our desserts are made from local exotic fruits!

There’s something about the desserts at Casa Gangotena that feels like a true indulgence, the most special of treats in all their childlike glory. It’s the setting: the elegantly restored townhouse full of gorgeous antiques, staffed by attentive and stylish waiters. It’s the sensory delight: pastel-colored or vibrant, scattered and steaming, smelling and tasting like something you can’t quite put your finger on from a long-forgotten memory, fizzing, crunching and crackling. And it’s the story: the carefully developed concept that is so very unique yet so entirely, authentically Ecuadorian. If you’re itching to try some of the best desserts in Quito, Casa Gangotena is the place to be.

Taste the flavors of Ecuador’s most traditional desserts!

Diners don’t come to restaurants for culinary philosophies, they come for good food. Yet the one in play at Casa Gangotena’s restaurant, in both the dessert and main menu, adds a deeper understanding, a deeper flavor even, to each of the delicious dishes. Developed by Metropolitan Touring’s Gastronomic Director, Byron Rivera, and Casa Gangotena’s Head Chef, Andres Robles, Mestizo Cuisine takes “a mixture of distinct cultures that gives rise to a new one” as its starting point.

The gastronomic approach embraces all periods of Ecuador’s history, from indigenous and Incan communities to Spanish colonizers and later European influences. It is inspired by Casa Gangotena’s location among the museums, plazas, churches, and markets of the Quito Historic Center and the mansion’s own illustrious history as the home of presidents and intellectuals. And finally, it puts faith, value, and pride in real Ecuadorian products, emphasizing local ingredients, and the stories from where they came.

“We are Ecuadorian cooks making Ecuadorian cuisine,” Rivera told one magazine.

Theorizing is all well and good, but it doesn’t exactly make the mouth water. So what does Mestizo Cuisine look like on a plate? The chocolate volcano with mandarin helado de paila with lemon verbena is a textbook example.

A visual feast as well as a culinary one, the helado de paila (“dish ice cream” would be its literal translation) is created on a cart before your eyes. In homage to the beloved helado de paila vendors who are such a part of the Quito Old Town landscape (and its soundscape with their echoing yells), the Casa Gangotena version is made in a shiny bronze bowl on a bed of straw. Mandarin juice is poured in and then – the magic – liquid nitrogen is poured on top, billowing with enchanting ‘smoke’ as it is whisked into the juice, freezing it into a solid form. It is pure, fabulous wizardry in a beloved Quito tradition, reloaded with jaw-dropping execution. And that’s only the half of it.

Watch the video of the helado de paila magic trick.

Figs with cheese
Figs with cheese is one of Ecuador’s most traditional desserts.

The helado de paila is the sideshow to a most deserving megastar: the chocolate volcano. Perhaps inspired by the most quiteño of geographic phenomena (or, perhaps not), the oh-so-rich dessert is made from a top-quality, socially, and environmentally responsible Ecuadorian chocolate. Pacari is multi-award-winning biodynamic chocolate that celebrates the finest Ecuadorian cacao and techniques, sourcing the beans from small-scale farmers in the Amazon region. It’s an incredible story in itself. And it’s just one ingredient.

Aside from the normal dessert menu, the restaurant also serves seasonal classics. Traditional to the Easter period, higos con queso is one of these, a seemingly innocuous combination, but one that makes Ecuadorians misty-eyed with nostalgia for their grandmother’s home cooking. The Mestizo Cuisine incarnation sources local figs uses a lovingly homemade syrup, and the lightest, fluffiest cheese from nearby markets. No smoke and mirrors here: Casa Gangotena knows that you don’t mess with the classics.

Desserts, sweets, puddings, and treats are two-a-penny in Quito. But at Casa Gangotena they’re given special status. Only here will you taste hundreds of years of culinary tradition in one mouthful, and have each one of your five senses delighted. Don’t leave dessert as an after-thought: at the Old Town’s finest hotel, it’s the main event.

Casa Gangotena restaurant table
Prepare yourself for Casa Gangotena’s most delicious and traditional desserts!

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8 November, 2017 Christopher Klassen
Reading Time: 8 minutes

At Casa Gangotena’s restaurant, every dish is the result of centuries of culinary traditions both pre-Columbian and Spanish, revitalised with maverick new techniques. It is the meeting place of various Ecuadorian regions and their local produce. It is the hard graft and passion of small, local producers cultivating artisanal, heritage ingredients. It is so much more than the sum of its parts.

This is one of the core pillars of Casa Gangotena’s cocina mestiza concept: a strong emphasis on Ecuador’s highest quality, iconic ingredients.

“Our philosophy is that corn and potatoes have the same value to us as say, lobster. To us, if it’s an Ecuadorian product we appreciate it,” explains Casa Gangotena’s head chef, Andrés Robles.

Scratch at the surface a little to reveal both the cultural significance and sometimes extraordinary stories of the producers of these key ingredients, and each morsel of each dish takes on new meaning.

  • Paiche
  • Langoustine
  • Lamb
  • Fish of the day
  • Corn
  • Fruit
  • Herbs
Paiche

Until recently, paiche was a relatively unknown fish, even within Ecuador. That is because as a river fish found deep within the Amazon region known as the Oriente, it is illegal to fish it.

But a few years ago, some of the Cofán tribe (among the oldest surviving indigenous cultures in the Ecuadorian Amazon) came up with the idea of farming the fish in pools. This was no easy feat: paiche are pre-historic-looking beasts, measuring up to three metres and weighing in at around 250 pounds (around the weight of a small pig). What’s more, they are carnivorous.

But once the tribe perfected the art, the advantages were twofold. First of all, the new trade created sustainable employment within the Cofán community. Then, there came the re-introduction of an authentically Ecuadorian food into the national diet. The project has been so successful that the fish will soon be stocked by supermarkets.

Incorporating paiche into the menu was a new challenge for Andrés.

“It’s really weird, it looks like a dinosaur, and the fillets are like no other fish. Working with paiche was a completely new ball game for me, it has bones everywhere, and we’re not used to that,” he says.

“But the meat is delicious. It has two types of meat, from the belly and the steak, which are both really different. And the flavour is neutral, almost like alligator sometimes: really weird, but great.”

On the Casa Gangotena menu, paiche is used in a take on encocado, a traditional coconut seafood dish usually found on the coast.

Paiche fish
Paiche has a unique taste and texture.

“Our way is a white encocado,” says Andrés. “That’s a white sauce with a yucca puree, and we decorate it with a crisp of cuttlefish ink to give it a bit of crunch.”

Preparation is meticulous: the fish is first marinated in a sal muera, a mixture of water with salt seasoned with orange peel, pink pepper, coriander seeds, and other things to give it more of a marine taste. “Because it is from the river it doesn’t have iodine; all sea fish have iodine,” says Andrés.

The fish is cooked sous-vide, placed in a plastic bag and cooked at 58.6° Celsius for precisely 18 minutes.

Served in a bowl of black, volcanic rock, the encocado de paiche is a star dish.

Langoustine

“In the restaurant, the concept with the langoustine is to mix up regions. So we serve it with a puree of chaucha potato, which is totally Andean. And it comes with a garlic foam, which is an adaption of what we have learned from Spanish colonial cuisine, and it’s a style they eat on the coast – al ajillo. They’ve all been adapted so that we can mix the regions,” says Andrés.

But in contrast to paiche, langoustine take very little preparation, simply cooked sous-vide for 12 minutes with butter and salt.

“When you have products that have a perfect flavour, you don’t have to help them,” says Andrés.

Lamb

Finding a lamb provider in Pichincha Province presented a problem for Casa Gangotena’s culinary team. The nutritious meat is now rarely used in Ecuadorian cuisine, and as a result numbers of sheep in the country have fallen to below 750,000.

Gastronomic Coordinator Eduardo Chonota happened upon the lamb of Doctor Cecilia Alcocer, an organic sheep farmer whose herd grazes freely on the páramo, one thousand metres above Quito, at a friend’s barbeque. The lamb was sustainable, healthy, and, above all, delicious.

In the restaurant, you can find Doctor Ceci’s lamb in two dishes. The first is a succulent lamb chop; the second is an adaptation of the curiously-named seco de chivo. Seco de chivo (literally in English: “dry goat”) is a traditional stew that is supposed to be made with goat, but in Ecuador can contain anything from goat, to yearling sheep, to lamb or even llama.

“If you’ve eaten seco de chivo in a market, you’ve probably eaten llama! Congratulations!” says Andrés.

The head chef explains that using lamb from the páramo and marinating it for three hours in Santa Ana craft beer elevates the Casa Gangotena version from street food classic to fine dining.

Sheep heard near Quito
Casa Gangotena uses sustainable ingredients in its food preparation.

“The typical presentation of seco de chivo is rice and fried sweet plantain on the coast, here in Quito they’d add potato too,” says Andrés.

“But every typical dish changes with every different mother who cooks it. Each mother in Ecuador has their way of making a seco. Some add chicha, others naranjilla, others beer.”

For his take, Andrés replaces the fried plantain with a gluten-free plantain croquette.

But the rice? That had to stay put.
“We did a few experiments, but the rice won!” he says.

Fish of the day

By the time the fish of the day is delivered to Casa Gangotena at around 7 P.M. each evening, it has travelled around 300 km from the Pacific Coast, in a surprisingly short amount of time. Every single day, the Flores Brothers drive their refrigerated van from Cojimíes in the Manabí province to Quito, bringing with them a daily selection of fresh, sustainably-caught fish.

Located right at the epicentre of Ecuador’s horrific April 16, 2016 earthquake which took the lives of 600 people, something strange happened within Cojimíes as the ground shook. Whereas neighbouring towns Pedernales and Canoa were almost entirely destroyed by the tremor, Cojimíes remained largely intact, which experts attribute to the quality of its soil.

Despite its physical resilience, like the whole of the coast the economy of Cojimíes suffered, and locals were encouraged to reignite it with artisanal fishing, in which the fisherman sells directly to the consumer, cutting out intermediaries. The Flores Brothers, now the most popular provider in fine dining circles in Quito, needed little encouragement.

“They arrive here about 7 at night, and we choose from the fish that they have – that’s why it’s fish of the day: right now we’ve got red snapper, but if tomorrow a robalo came along, I’d snap it up! Fresh fish!” says Andrés. The chef admits that the brothers bring out a competitive edge in him – if he sees a great fish reserved by another restaurant, he immediately wants to steal it.

But the service and quality of the Flores Brothers comes at a price. Whereas a normal sea bass fillet would cost Andrés $9.50 per kg, artisanal fish comes in at around $22 per kg – more than double.

“But it’s quality,” explains Andrés. “It gives so much added value to your dish, your restaurant, because first of all, it’s sustainable, and you’re supporting small businesses.”

Soon, the preparation of the dish will depend on what kind of fish the brothers deliver, testing Andrés’s creativity and skill. This is part of Andrés’s plan to attract more ‘foodies’ to the restaurant, creating an ever-changing section of the menu in which two starters and two main courses are new each month.

“Because although it’s easier for me to have a set menu, it’s much cooler to have the preparation always changing every month. People are going to be amazed!” says Andrés.

Casa Gangotena appetizers
The reinvention of some of Ecuador’s most popular dishes can be noticed in Casa Gangotena’s dishes.
Corn

“We Ecuadorians are corn people!” says Andrés. Significant in the region’s culture long before the Spanish arrived in the 16th century, corn is found in myriad forms and culinary traditions around Ecuador: toasted or popped, in flour and alcoholic drinks, in desserts and snacks, and in every colour of the rainbow. There are even festivals dedicated to the corn harvest, such as the Yamor celebration in Imbabura.

In Casa Gangotena, corn is on the menu in various incarnations. There’s the white, puffy mote in the mote sucio (dirty) puree, a Cuencan dish so-called due to its stained colour when mixed with the sticky pork fat that drops to the bottom of the bowl when serving fritada.

There’s sweet corn, and also gluten-free corn flour, bought from the last miller in the Historic Centre, the Molino San Agustin, whose proprietor is 68 years old.

“Maintaining this tradition, that doesn’t have a price. It would be cheaper to buy it anywhere else, but it’s not the same,” says Andrés.

Fruit

A trip to an Ecuadorian fruit market is an eye-opening experience for any foreigner. Here in the tropics, fruit comes in every shape, size and colour: the tiny, gleaming golden berry, yellow-tinged dragon fruit, purpled spiny achote, green, spikey guanábana and knobbly chirimoya. That’s not to mention the myriad varieties of banana.

At Casa Gangotena, the chefs work with whatever fruit is in season, adjusting the preparation and presentation accordingly. Take tuna (the fruit, not the fish), for example, otherwise known as the prickly pear, or cactus fruit.

Andrés explains how he incorporates the unusual fruit in a fish dish, by making it into an acidic gel.

You just have to make it into a pulp, boil it, cool it, liquidate it, sieve it, then extract the bubbles. It’s simple!” he says, adding that it’s a way to introduce a product that is barely known in Quito.

“I could ask 20 friends if they eat tuna, and not one of them will say yes.”

Golden berry
Goldenberry is often used for desserts in Ecuador.
Herbs

Casa Gangotena’s use of herbs is one of the first things that many guests of Casa Gangotena will experience, when they are offered an Agua de Frescos on arrival.

Lurid pink and decidedly refreshing, the drink is made of seven different herbs, including chamomile, lemon verbena, lemon balm, spearmint and mallow.

“We use Agua de Frescos because it’s really common here to use different types of herbal infusions as cures,” says Andrés.

“If you’re tummy hurts: oregano. If your body aches: chamomile. There’s an infusion for everything,” says Andrés.

Amaranth is one herb that appears in the Agua de Frescos, in desserts and on the cocktail menu in the Amaranto Pop drink. The herb, which also bears a pseudo-cereal grain, is only recently becoming re-popularised in Ecuador.

“Amaranth was banned by the Spanish in the 16th century as the indigenous people would use it in rituals, like sacrifices,” Andrés explains. “So consumption and cultivation were banned. They would cut off your hand if you were producing it.”

Though still not as popular as quinoa (even though it is a far more powerful superfood) amaranth is gaining traction, since NASA scientists began to see the true potential of the plant that indigenous Ecuadorians once considered to be a weed, and would feed to their cows.

Dehydrated flowers
Flowers are also used in Casa Gangotena’s cuisine.

According to Andrés, this is part of Casa Gangotena’s strategy, to emphasise iconic Ecuadorian ingredients, and not to import from other countries.

“We try to use as many products as we can that are not popular. Like mountain garlic. Normal garlic isn’t Ecuadorian, all of it here is imported from China!” he says.


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