Today we had to go to the SRI office on Remigio Crespo for our monthly dose of bureaucracy at its most unintelligible . . . but that’s another story.
It was a dark and stormy day as we stopped for an almuerzo at Playa Escondida, located on the corner of Remigio Crespo and Alfonso Borrero, less than a half block from the SRI office. Playa Escondida occupies the entire corner, and we were lured in by the pink flamingos painted on the outside.
Inside, we found it clean, cheery and bright. Most of the seating is semi-outdoors under a glass-covered patio surrounded by large windows, which not only cut down the traffic noise but also let in more light. It was a cloudy, drizzly day, but the inside did not feel dreary at all. Patio heaters were present but not needed the day we were there.
The almuerzos cost $3.50 each, a bit more than we were used to paying, but it ended up worth the extra cost. I ordered the broasted (What exactly does that mean? Broken toasted? Boasted roast? Boiled rooster?) chicken almuerzo, which came with a generous, hearty soup, a juicy breaded drumstick, rice, beans, coleslaw, plantain, and juice with refills. Plus, a delicious maracuya mousse for dessert.
The soup was well-seasoned, with chunks of corn, beans, carrots, some breaded meat and yuca.
Jackie had the beef stew almuerzo, which was much the same as my chicken, except with tasty chunks of beef instead of the chicken, and onions, peas and carrots. Again, every part of the meals was very nicely seasoned, and the portions were generous.
I admit that my sweet tooth was delighted by the maracuya mousse. Maracuya-anything is very high on my list of favorite desserts, and, in my mind, is one of the top twenty reasons to love Ecuador.
The service is very fast, as the almuerzo ingredients were dished out cafeteria style from a small steam table. The servers do not speak English but patiently deciphered our broken Spanish, nods, and charades.
The menu at Playa Escondida is quite extensive and includes encebollados, ceviches, cazuelas, encocados, arroces, sopas, desayunos, bebidas frias and caliente, postres, house specialties and a surprising range of cocktails and beers. They advertised mojitos for $2. Their specialty is seafood, and we intend to return in the future to try out more of their menu.
Their prices were about average. The restaurant is wheelchair accessible.
Playa Escondida, corner of Remigio Crespo y Alfonso Borrero; Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m, Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m to 4 p.m. Sunday; Contact: Tel. 062 888 024; Cash only, Family friendly, Wi-fi available