We were delighted to find this vegetarian restaurant in the Mariscal district of Quito, Ecuador.
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).
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 …
… and a beautiful, open-air courtyard.
Our meal began with crema de esparragos, a vegan asparagus soup, which was light and delicious.
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.
For dessert, we had flan vegano, a mango-infused flan drizzled with a chocolate-strawberry sauce, which was rich, creamy, and absolutely delicious.
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.