Dining well in Quito, Ecuador: El Maple

By Midge Raymond on

Midge Raymond

Ashland Creek Press co-founder Midge Raymond is the author of the award-winning short story collection FORGETTING ENGLISH and a novel, MY LAST CONTINENT. Learn more at MidgeRaymond.com.

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We were delighted to find this vegetarian restaurant in the Mariscal district of Quito, Ecuador.

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El Maple has a vegetarian/vegan menu but also offers a prix fixe menu that, if not already vegan, can easily be adjusted; the staff is lovely and accommodating (especially so given our limited Spanish and their limited English).

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The restaurant was empty when we arrived at 12:30 for lunch (Ecuadorians eat a bit later, and lunch is their main meal of the day), but it quickly filled up. It is an inviting space, with several rooms …

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… and a beautiful, open-air courtyard.

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Our meal began with crema de esparragos, a vegan asparagus soup, which was light and delicious.

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The next course was a gulash de gluten, a lovely plate of seitan with vegetables in a light, tomato-based sauce. The seitan was chewy, with a different texture than anything I’ve had before, but it was well seasoned and very good. The papas, mashed potatoes, had been prepared with butter, so the kitchen whipped up a special batch of vegan papas just for us. On the side was half an avocado, ubiquitous on plates in Ecuador.

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For dessert, we had flan vegano, a mango-infused flan drizzled with a chocolate-strawberry sauce, which was rich, creamy, and absolutely delicious.

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El Maple is tucked away on Joaquín Pinto, between Reina Victoria and Avenida 6 de Diciembre, in a traveler’s section of Mariscal that hosts many more restaurants, nightclubs, and hostels. It is well worth a visit for its fresh, tasty food and wonderful and helpful and welcoming staff.

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