Solano Bistro on the Rio Tomebamba is a ‘hidden gem’ among Cuenca dining options

May 24, 2024 | 0 comments

By Jim Smith

Upon entering Solano Bistro, I was greeted warmly by Debby Degamo, the owner who immediately made me feel at home. This is a fairly new eating establishment in Cuenca having opened in early February. It offers breakfast, lunch and an early dinner, and is located right on the Rio Tomebamba at the intersection of Doce de Abril and Av. Solano.

Debby, with a genuine smile, guided me to my table promptly, setting the tone for a pleasant dining experience.

Solano Bistro offers both outdoor and indoor dining options.

The restaurant’s ambience was both warm and cozy. The dining area featured an internal section and two outside seating areas. The tables and chairs were very stable and comfortable. A gentle hum of conversation filled the space, punctuated by the soft notes of jazz music playing in the background. The seating was comfortable, and tables were spaced adequately to ensure privacy.

The menu was an eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary dishes, reflecting a deep appreciation for both classic flavors and innovative culinary techniques. It was thoughtfully organized, making it easy to navigate through the various sections. Each dish was described in detail, highlighting key ingredients and preparation methods. Additionally, there were several vegetarian and gluten-free options, demonstrating the restaurant’s commitment to catering to diverse dietary preferences.

Solano Bistro offers specials on lasagna and ravioli on Wednesdays.

I went there on Tex-Mex Tuesday and opted for the burritos and was pleasantly surprised.  These were the best burritos I’ve had in my six years in Ecuador. I passed on the opportunity to pair them with either a Tequila Sunrise or a Margarita instead decided to quench my thirst with their refreshing avocado limeade, a combination of lime, orange, and creamy avocado, the ultimate Tex-Mex companion.

The staff at Solano Bistro were exceptional. My waitress was knowledgeable about the menu and offered insightful recommendations without being intrusive. Throughout the meal, the service was attentive yet unobtrusive. There was a clear sense of teamwork among the staff, contributing to the seamless mid-day dining experience.

The staff at Solano Bistro offer friendly, attentive service.

When it came time to settle the bill, the process was smooth and efficient. My waiter brought the check with a friendly smile, and there were no surprises or errors. The pricing was fair, especially considering the quality of the food and service. As I left the restaurant, the owner thanked me for dining and wished me a pleasant day. I walked out feeling thoroughly satisfied, both with the meal and the overall experience. Solano Bistro had truly provided a delightful culinary journey that I will eagerly repeat.

My Overall Experience: My experience at Solano Bistro was marked by a warm welcome, a charming ambience, an enticing menu, exquisite food, attentive staff, and a smooth billing process, all of which contributed to my overall satisfaction.

Fridays are for Langostino bisque and Fish & Chips at Solano Bistro.

From the moment I walked in and was greeted with a friendly smile, to the warm and cozy atmosphere, every detail was thoughtfully designed to make me feel important. The menu offered a diverse range of dishes, each described in detail, and the food itself was beautifully presented and delicious. The staff’s knowledgeable and unobtrusive service ensured that my needs were met promptly, culminating in a seamless billing process. Solano Bistro truly excels in making customers feel valued and satisfied, ensuring a memorable dining experience from start to finish.

Solano Bistro: 1-14 Avenida de Solano y Doce de Abril; Tel. +593 99 109 9185; Email:; Facebook

Jim Smith is a business consultant and speaking coach, past member of the Portland [Oregon] Small Business Advisory Council, and past Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of Home Forward (the Portland Housing Authority). He currently resides in Cuenca.


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