Our last restaurant visit of 2017 was to Tanoshii, a Japanese restaurant located downstairs in Quito’s Swissôtel. We arrived without reservations around 12:15, a little early for lunch by Ecuadoran standards, but had no trouble being seated.
The decor, a mix of modern style and traditional Japanese, seemed to induce a calm, almost Zen-like state of tranquility. It is a little hard to believe we were only steps from a bustling city of over 14 million. Our frame of mind was in no way harmed by the Compari’s we had enjoyed in the Swissôtel bar, while pleasantly chatting with bartender Christian, before entering the restaurant.
The service was just as quiet, unobtrusive and efficient as the decor suggested it might be. Our waiter seemed to appear whenever needed, but never gave us a sense of being rushed.
We started the meal with a small container of warm sake. It was so smooth and easy to drink we eventually ordered a second.
The sake segued easily enough into a pair of salads that we shared. First was a plate of warmed, salted edamame. It has been years since we enjoyed these and I had almost forgotten the tactile pleasure of shelling the warm legumes before popping the tasty beans into my mouth.
Our second salad was also a classic: seaweed, which was served with all the trimmings. It was another dish we had not tried since leaving the U.S.
Our main course was traditional sushi and consisted of four separate rolls: crispy eel, salmon, futomaki and rainbow. All delicious and well prepared. It may not sound like a large meal, but we had several pieces of sushi remaining to take with us for a late night snack when we left.
Even though we were full, we still found room to sample the green tea ice cream, which was not too sweet, and had a rather intense tea flavor.
“Tanoshii” is Japanese for pleasant or delightful. Our experience certainly lived up to the meaning of the word. I cannot imagine spending much time in Quito without going back again.
We arrived without a reservation and had no trouble being seated. Tanoshii also has hibachi tables at which diners may watch skilled chefs prepare the food in front of them. There are only three of these so I would definitely recommend making a reservation in advance if you are interested in that option. (Strictly speaking, these are really teppanyaki tables, not hibachi. Hibachi grills have a surface with open grates, teppanyaki grills have a solid surface.)
Tanoshii is located in the Swissôtel in Quito Ecuador. It’s website may be found by clicking here.
A brief review (in English, undated) has been published in Clave Tourismo.
Pictures from Tanoshii (also undated) have been published at foursqure.com.