A common question when on Santa Cruz Island: What are the best places to eat in Puerto Ayora? Though Ecuador is not yet widely chosen as a gastronomic destination, everyone who visits the country marvels at the immense variety of ingredients, the richness of flavors and the culinary options particular to each region. An homage to this country’s heritage and culture is reflected in every dish, be it a delicious locro de papa (a creamy potato soup with cheese and avocado) from the Andes region, to a perfectly acidic and savoury ceviche from Esmeraldas or Manabí, to a maito or river fish cooked inside a plantain leaf with herbs and spices from the Amazon region. Whatever dish you try, Ecuador’s cuisine will surprise even the most refined palates.
Galapagos, having been inhabited longer after continental Ecuador, did not develop a culinary tradition of its own. Instead, it brought the best from the continent and took advantage of what resources were already readily available – fresh fish and sea food.
While on Puerto Ayora, you have the chance to taste some of Ecuador’s most traditional flavors and get a little more entwined with the local culture. Here we present you a list of some of visitors’ favorite places that are definitely worth trying!
Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel Restaurant
While on your visit to the islands, we recommend that your first culinary stop be at the best restaurant in the Galapagos – the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel Restaurant. While it might be off the main path of Puerto Ayora for some, it is only a 5 minute boat ride away from the docks of town. You will disembark on the pier that takes you to the famous “Las Grietas” and “Playa de Los Alemanes”. It’s a pleasant path that traverses Galapagos flora and will lead you directly to the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel – the only beachfront hotel in all of Santa Cruz. It’s hard to miss!
Their Le Cordon Bleu certified chef will awaken your senses with his very own twist on local and international dishes. We recommend their famous fresh tuna fillet, sealed with a black sesame seed crust; and finally, for dessert – the rum-macerated fig pie! Don’t miss this luxurious experience!
When walking around town, we recommend stopping at Isla Grill. This family-friendly restaurant is known by both tourists and locals as one of the best grills in town. For anyone looking to diverge from the more commonly-served seafood menus, Isla Grill is a nice change. Even so, their grilled seafood is not to be missed. Some of their most popular dishes are the grilled beef cuts and barbecued pork ribs. For seafood lovers, you will not want to miss the tsunami parrilla (grill) featuring filleted tuna steaks, octopus, shrimp, and squid.
If a more international menu is what you are after, Il Giardino is a good option for you. This open-air Italian trattoria sports a rustic décor that gives it a close-to-home sort of feel. They offer everything from steaks to pastas, but are quite known around the island for their decadent desserts and delicious coffee. Find a seat on their lovely dining patio and savor a creamy Italian ice cream as you watch locals and visitors walk by.
This casual and open restaurant is one of Puerto Ayora’s oldies but goodies. Even though it is named after the bug we all know as the tick (or garrapata in Spanish) its name has nothing to do with its culinary offerings, which range from chicken curry, grilled seafood platters, fish in coconut sauce to a delicious local lobster. All of these options can be accompanied by some white wine from Puerto Ayora’s best wine list. There are options for every palate. In addition to these, you can also find very good sandwiches and pasta dishes on the Garrapata’s menu.