Note: this article is a blast from the past! That means you should check the date. Some details may have changed, so you should check their Facebook page for updated info. Link at the end of the article.
You’ll get no argument from serious eaters about where to find Cuenca’s best hamburger. It’s at the Inca Lounge and Bistro.
If there’s a downside to Inca’s hamburger crown, it’s that it overshadows the fact that the restaurant may also serve the best chicken, pork and veggie sandwiches in town too. And … that its portions are the biggest, sin duda.
Officially opened in December by expats Mike Sena and Shannon Sullivan –it opened as a bar in the fall of 2009– the Inca is located in an historic lumber mill on the banks of Rio Tomebamba, just upstream from the Hotel Crespo escalinatas and the foot bridge across the Tomebamba to Av. Doce de Abril. The main serving area is upstairs but there is also outside patio seating on the ground level, overlooking the river.
Sena, who does much of the cooking himself, says he continues to tinker with the menu. “My only rule is that everything on it has to be good.” Besides the menu entrees, he plans a “moveable feast” of offerings to be posted daily on a chalkboard. “These will be dishes we won’t serve everyday, just when we can find the right ingredients and when the mood moves us.” he says. Another of his ideas is to invite guest chefs to prepare their specialties. “The plan is to keep trying different things and to have fun.”
About the oversized portions, Sena says: “I can’t help it. I’m a big eater and appreciate decent-sized portions and that’s what I want to serve to my customers.” Sena, who lived for six years in Costa Rica where he was surfer and surf instructor before moving to Cuenca, says his intent, from the beginning, was simple: to serve good food, and lots of it, for a good price.
Inca appetizers include nachos and house fries, both for $2.50. Large salads, piled high with a stunning variety of veggies, run $3.50 — $4.50, if you add chicken.
The famous Inca Burger, complete with a pile of fried potato wedges, comes in two sizes: 200 grams for $3.75 and 300 grams for $5.
The fabulous oversized sandwiches come in chicken, tuna, pork, veggie and ham and cheese editions, and are guaranteed to satisfy a starving man or a typical family of three.
Menu entrees include a house salad, heaping portion of vegetables and 200 grams of your choice of topping: chicken breast ($5); pork tender loin ($6); Argentinean steak ($6); and Mike’s special vegetarian medley ($3.50). Like the sandwiches, portions are often overwhelming.
The restaurant features a comfortable bar with a good selection of liquors and is beginning attract a cast of regulars, including a number of Friday “Gringo Night” regulars looking for a new haunt.
In case the point has not been adequately made: when you come to Inca, come hungry.
Inca Lounge and Bistro is located on the Avenida Tres de Noviembre and El Puente Centenario, just upstream from the Hotel Crespo escalinatas. Check their Facebook page for more info: Click here
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