We had a free Sunday afternoon in Quito while waiting for our Avianca flight to Puerto Rico (by way of Bogota) and so decided to try brunch at the famous hotel Casa Gangotena. I am glad we did.
Our car dropped us off at the side entrance to the hotel due to ongoing construction in the Plaza San Francisco and we entered through a beautiful little side garden. The dust and commotion of the streets began melting away almost the moment we entered and we began anticipating our meal in earnest.
We were guided to a lovely dining area where the brunch buffet was ready and waiting. Noon is a little early for lunch in Ecuador so we had our choice of where to sit and selected a corner table. Our first impressions were of the beautiful room and the friendly, professional staff.
Appetizer plates were the first order of business. We elected to try the ceviche and two other, rather original dishes. One was grated beets and cabbage tossed in sesame oil. The second was a mix of haba beans, citrus (tangerine, possibly) supremes and lightly grilled peach. All were delicious. There was also a good selection of breads and fresh fruit as well.
Just as we were getting serious about our appetizers, our complementary pink mimosas arrived.
The buffet for the main course contained a number of interesting selections, which included fish, chicken in a light rosemary sauce and beef roasted with martiños, a wild Andean blueberry. The meat was tender with a mild blueberry flavor. A helpful staff member, fluent in English, stood behind the buffet to show us the various dishes and tell us about some of the native Ecuadoran foods. Standard breakfast items, such as pancakes, were also available.
We began chatting with chef Pablo as we surveyed the tempting dessert tray. After a few questions, he told us the desserts were not really his department and sent back to the kitchen for the pastry chef who came out and explained the various pastries to us. One got the impression that the staff had little to do except attend to us and answer our questions.
Our pleasant chat with chef Pablo continued and he suggested, as if the pastries were not enough, that we try the waffles.
The waffles he prepared were so tempting that we could not resist trying them. They were covered with caramel and chocolate sauces as well as fresh and dried fruit and nuts. A perfect, if self indulgent, end to a very enjoyable brunch. I highly recommend you consider the brunch at hotel Casa Gangotena if you find yourself near the San Francisco Plaza in Quito on a Sunday. The food is very good, the service is terrific and, at about $39 per person, it is quite reasonably priced.
More information at Casa Gangotena can be found here at their website.
Some ideas for things to do while visiting Quito may be found at Quito.com.