February 15, 2016

What’s the Difference between $2.50, $3.50 & $4.50 Almuerzos in Ecuador?

The typical Ecuadorian almuerzo of $2.50 still exists but in Cuenca you will have to walk outside of the tourist areas…and that’s ok if you want to do that. If you wander off the well worn expat paths you will find hidden hideaways for $2.50. And you don't even have to walk that far; maybe 2 or 3 blocks from Park Calderon! 

And back in 2011 you could still find some pretty decent almuerzos for just $2 bucks like this one below.
Cositas Restaurant in Cuenca - $2 chicken and rice plate - 2011 price.
Here's a short video of the whole gang (our family) in the above $2 chicken lunch plate.
                               
In Cuenca, most folks stay within the first two or three blocks that surround Park Calderon and subsequently that is where the more expensive lunches are found.  It wouldn’t be a big deal except for the fact that there is absolutely no difference in portion size, variety of food, or service in the $2.50 almuerzo and the $3.50 almuerzo. Btw, this restaurant is still in business and you can't find anything under $4.25.

Ejecutivo Almuerzo
 

In early 2014 is when we began seeing the almuerzos inching up to $4.25 and now $4.50 and putting a title on it of  "ejecutivo" or "executive". Gringos like International cuisine and the market respondedWell, with the prices anyway.

When you see the title of “ejectivo” expect something a bit out of the ordinary such as fried rice with carne or sometimes lasagna or burrito.  By the way, the word aburrito in Spanish means boring.  Just thought I'd throw that in. 


Here's the video of our first "ejectivo almuerzo" for $3.00; back then the price was high for an almuerzo. It was lasagna and well, not that great!
                      
Zona Refrescante restaurant is still in business in the same place (Gran Colombia and the ejectivo lunches are $4.25 and $4.50 now. And the lasagna is $6.20 now. 
Wow, that's a huge price increase in just 3.5 years!
We recommend if eating the $3.50 to $4.50 almuerzo to stay with the ordinary fare of soup, white rice, a meat, menestre (beans, peas or lentils) and small salad.  I always used to say, "When going out, stick with eggs because it's really hard to screw up eggs.  That's how it gets when you're a "picky eater" like me".

Next, we’re going to show you some photos of the typical Ecuadorian $2.50 lunch and then the $3.50 lunch. You tell us in the comments what differences you notice, if any.
 

This is a typical $2.50 almuerzo in Ecuador
Fish, beans, rice, plantain and soup (not shown) $2.50
 This is another typical $2.50 almuerzo in Ecuador.

egg, hotdogs, rice, potato cakes, carrots and soup (not shown) for $2.50
lentils and rice, fish, plantain, salad and soup (not shown) $2.50
This is the typical $3.50 almuerzo in Ecuador
chicken stir-fry, rice, yuca roll, salad, soup (not shown) for $3.50
Now, let's do some comparing and see how it all really pans out.

Food portions: no difference
Restaurant ambiance:
no difference
Food quality:
   no difference, however if you try something international because you feel like spending more like $4.50 it is a hit or miss. Try it at your own risk.
Service:
no difference
Price Inflation: $1 to $3 dollars and sometimes more

So, there you have it. Now you can say you know a little bit more about eating in a foreign tourist zone.

Until we write again.

You might like these videos of almuerzos in Cuenca


Here's the whole gang again eating in Cuenca Ecuador and the lunch was just $1.50. Notice all the food you get for $1.50! Gone is the $1.50 lunch; today this same lunch would be $3.00 dollars.
$1.50 Almuerzo Lunch in Cuenca Ecuador
                              
$2.20 Ecuadorian Lunch at Hostal Carib Inn
                             
Review of Don Vittos Almuerzo $2.75 in an upper-end restaurant.


                     
Someone told us that everything is organic in this restaurant.

We're an Expat Family of Five, Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy Abroad. We live in Cuenca, Ecuador and travel the Ecuador coast whenever we get a chance. We just adventured throughout the country of Panama for five weeks! Come along and enjoy some of our experiences with us!

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