Cuenca has been our first stop in Ecuador and it’s a very nice and laidback town with not much poverty but loads of young people which you’ll especially notice at the weekend when everybodys on the street, trying to get their fair share of raggaeton and beer. We met a friend from cologne who is doing a internship at Cuenca and went out for some beers (..which apparently you cant have outside, not even right next to the river hidden in bushes). We spent the weekend and had some really good company, food and fun. Unfortunately, the dedicated vegan or vegetarian restaurants have been closed but there are some nice, vegan friendly alternatives which we tried:
- Mediterraneo / Honorato Vasquez 7-64 y Luis Cordero Centro Histirico, CuencaI know it’s “just” italian food and you would think that you more or less get the same but this one really stands out. First, the starter (bread, some dips and vegetables) has been the best we had in quite a while. The Bruschetta was perfect and the Spaghetti aglio olio (nasty!) were al dente, spicy, great and simple at the same time which I love in general about italan cuisine. Best italian food we had in South America so far!
- Windhorse Cafe / 6-16 Calle Larga y Hermano Miguel, CuencaWe arrived early in Cuenca and weren’t very tempted by the hostel breakfast which is why we went to the windhorse cafe. It was packed by elderly americans who were chatting and obviously all knowing each other which gave the place a funny and different atmosphere. We went there two times during our stay and tried pancakes, whole wheat bread, scones, hashbrowns and vegan sandwiches. Everything was fresh and very tasty. We didn’t try the lunch options but I really recommend the breakfast and in particular the homemade bread which is great.
- Marea Pizzeria / Hermano Miguel 4-79 | Between Honorato Vasquez and Calle Larga, Cuenca Fabianos Pizzeria was closed which is why we tried Mareas Pizzeria. The good Tripadvisor reviews weren’t wrong and we were pleased with some vegetarian and vegan Pizza. Besides Pizza without cheese there weren’t really vegan options though and the pasta looked great but was surprisingly expensive.
- Central MarketBruno always wanted to try some local food from the market and so far we just took rather quick looks and felt like there are few vegetarian and almost none vegan options. For example the vegetarian soup contained milk, egg and cheese. Like, why? Anyway, in Cuenca we took a closer look and got ourselves a nice plate of rice with a delicious avocado-tomato salad and some herbs, lemon and spices. It has been so delicious that Bruno took another plate and with 1 Dollar this has also been by far the cheapest food ever.