There are plenty of wonderful places to eat in and around Puerto Lopez, but what many books don't recommend are the dishes themselves. The coast of Ecuador has traditional foods that you should definitely try while you're here, including:
- Pastel de Banano
Encebollado [en-se-bo-ya-do] is a hearty fish stew made with yuca, garnished with onion and served with fried plantain chips called chifle, which most people crush and put on top. It is a traditional meal in the province of Manabi and the southern coast of Ecuador. It's usually offered in the morning by various restaurants and street carts. In some towns it may also be eaten for dinner.
Some restaurants may offer encebollado mixto or encebollado marinero, which in addition to fish may have shrimp, squid, octopus, and/or concha negra.
In Puerto Lopez, the "Blue Dolphin" beach cabana next to the Pichincha bank offers a wonderful fresh albacore encebollado for $2 US. Like most places, they'll serve the daily batch of encebollado until it's gone, so while there may be some left at lunch time it is better to go in the morning. If want to make things spicey try their aji.
In Puerto Lopez, encebollado is also available at the market and at some local restuarants and street carts on weekends.
[Editor's Note: This is my favorite Ecuadorian dish!]