Grande Dame of Cuenca restaurants closes its doors; owners plan to open a new restaurant in the same space

Feb 12, 2014

A fixture of Cuenca dining for almost a quarter century, Villa Rosa Restaurant on Gran Colombia serves its last meal Friday night. The owners say, however, that a new restaurant will reopoen in the same space.

Over the years, Villa Rosa has been mainstay Cuenca’s “fine dining” scene, receiving glowing press reports in scores of travel guides and articles, visited by a number of prominent international travelers. In the 1990s, Fodor’s travel guide named it and another Cuenca restaurant, El Jardin, the best in Ecuador.chl villa

Villa Rosa was mentioned prominently in a New Yorker magazine cover story in 2005 about Cuenca’s famous Easter soup, fanesca. New Yorker editor, food writer and poet Calvin Trillin, called the restaurant’s fanesca the best in town.

The restaurant was also featured in Conde Nast Traveller and Cosas magazine, which named it one of the three best restaurants in Ecuador in 2006. It has been “highly recommended” by Lonely Planet and Fodor’s travel guides. In 2012 and 2013, it was awarded the “certificate of excellence” by the Trip Advisor website.

In addition to Trillin, other famous patrons of the restrauarnt are Peter Falk, Jeff Goldblum, Boy George and Cher.

Villa Rosa has been managed over the years by sisters Berta and Patricia Vintimilla, with an assist from a third sister, Rosa.

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The space occupied by the Villa Rosa will not be vacant for long, however, as a new restaurant, also run by the Vintimilla family, will open after several weeks of renovation. According to Cornelio Vintimilla, who manages the Santa Lucia Hotel, the new restaurant will have a casual, contemporary feel. “We are looking to create a more youthful scene aimed not only at the former Villa Rosa customers, but at young professionals and families too. We also hope to attract more expats and tourists.”

Photo caption: Villa Rosa will reopen within weeks as a new restaurant, according to the owners.

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