¿Qué hacer en Guayaquil? Para la Revista Holland Herald de KLM. Hace unos meses recibí un correo por parte de una periodista de la revista de KLM solicitando hacerme una entrevista sobre mis lugares y restaurantes favoritos de Guayaquil. Por supuesto acepté y hoy les comparto la entrevista completa a continuación. Sigo sorprendida y agradecida porque me hayan encontrado y considerado para estas recomendaciones. Esta es la ciudad donde nací, que amo tanto porque me dio a mi familia, a los mejores amigos y la increíble oportunidad de trabajar en lo que tanto disfruto.
La entrevista está en inglés, espero poder traducirla pronto y compartirla con ustedes nuevamente.
Gracias por seguirnos y leer este blog.
¿Qué hacer en Guayaquil? Para la Revista Holland Herald de KLM
Please tell us about Biscotti Galletas! When did you found your company, what is your philosophy, which cafés/restaurants do you cater and what is the most fun about your work?
Biscotti is an online bakery specializing in cookies, brownies, cakes, and granola. It was born out of the idea of sharing what I do best, baking! As I was launching the business, I started selling to my family and friends but as soon as I launched my website, which was seven years ago, we grew exponentially with thousands of daily visitors who are purchasing baked goods or browsing recipes on the blog.
Our philosophy is creating everything with love, natural and local ingredients, and being eco-conscious. The ingredients I use are locally sources and often from other small business and all of our packaging is biodegradable, like our boxes that are made out of sugar cane in order to avoid any tree product in their elaboration.
Aside from selling Biscotti products through our website, we have strong partnerships with other local business like cafeterias, coffee shops, and specialty gourmet stores like Ecuagourment, Sailor Coffee, Green Deli, La Molienda, La Central and Superfoods.
I’m lucky to have a job which is also my passion. Most of the time it doesn’t feel like I’m working or that I have an obligation to it. On the contrary, I’ve created a fun and creative environment that allows me to grow professionally and relate to my clients on a daily basis and on my own terms. Creating new recipes, experimenting in the kitchen, and hosting my monthly workshops is what I enjoy the most.
What makes your hometown Guayaquil unique? Why do you love to live here?
I think that what makes Guayaquil unique is its closeness to the river, feeling its breeze when you are visiting the waterfront is such a treat for all who live here, something that must not be taken for granted.
Also, it’s the city where I was born, where my family and friends live and where I have been able to create my dream job. Some of the best traits of the city is its people, so generous and hardworking beyond words, the food that is regional and delectable, and of course, the fact that we are just 45 minutes away from the beach or 3 hours away from the mountains. Our location and gastronomy can’t be beaten.
Tell us about must-see-places for a first time visitor?
All first time visitors must go to Malecón 2000 and take a walk to enjoy the waterfront and it’s refreshing breeze. You can start at Mercado del Río and enjoy some traditional food and then walk towards the end at Las Peñas, a historical neighborhood, where you’ll have to climb the 400 steps to have the best view of the city. Parque Seminario aka the iguana park is a must, here you’ll meet the city’s most famous animal, the land iguana, and travel back in time when admiring the colonial architecture and ornate gardens. Have your camera ready, there are hundreds of land iguanas everywhere, it’s still a treat to visit even though I’ve been there hundreds of times.
Where do you get the best views of the city?
Definitely at Las Peñas, and for that you’ll have to be ready to climb several hundred steps until reaching the top of Cerro Santa Ana, which will give you the most delightful scenery of the city. You can also take a trip at La Perla, located at Malecon 2000, which is an observation wheel that allows you to have a great view of the river and the city. If you want to see the city from the river just take a ride in one of the boats that depart from the Malecon and enjoy the view from the famous Río Guayas.
Where is Guayaquil totally modern in terms of architecture? Which buildings/projects should we see?
I think Guayaquil is in a constant evolution of becoming a modern city and implementing sustainable regulations into its new projects of architecture. Many of the actual buildings we now see are historical restored edifications but if you want to see something new and attractive you have The Point Building right beside Puerto Santa Ana. It is the highest tower in the city and country that has become an architectural icon due to the spiral design of its structure.
Where does Guayaquil maintain its historic charms? What are the most beautiful ancient places?
Las Peñas is for sure the most beautiful historical place in Guayaquil. Famous for its colonial architecture and because it was the city’s first neighborhood. It boasts colorful traditional houses and cobblestone streets making it an unforgettable visit. If you come during holidays, you might find a local artisan market where artists feature and sell their products.
Your favourite museums and galleries?
Biblioteca de las Artes is definitely my favorite place to visit. The building worked as a bank for years and now is home to an amazing library and art gallery. As you enter the majestic place you’ll read the message ¨Public education in arts should be a right¨ which outlines the major purpose of the building itself. Don´t miss the view from the rooftop! I also like to visit Museo Antropológico de Arte Contemporáneo (MAAC) which is located at Malecón 2000, a few steps from Las Peñas. They constantly offer different exhibits from local artists and feature interesting movies and documentaries. Other museums and galleries with attractive offers are Museo Presley Norton, Museo Nahim Isaías and Nómada Arte.
Let’s talk about food. Tell us about your 3 favourite restaurants and traditional dishes we must try!
I have so many favorite restaurants that is so difficult to just choose 3. But these are my recommendations:
- La Pizarra is a contemporary Ecuadorian cuisine restaurant that is definitely my favorite in the city. The Chef Juan José Morán has created a menu with the most traditional dishes and local ingredients that will blow your mind. Do not miss Empanadas de Verde y Camarón, Rollitos de Maduro con Cangrejo, Sanduchines de Marrano, Helado de Naranjilla y Helado de Chocolate Amazónico. One of their most acclaimed dishes is the Madurillo which consists of sweet plantains wrapped in bacon and stuffed with cheese sauce.
- La Cevichería Guayaca offers you the most diverse menu of seafood and ceviches. My favorite is Ceviche Manaba de Pescado y Camarón which is a traditional Fish Ceviche but leveled up with shrimp, avocado and creamy peanut sauce. Enjoy it with a side of Chifles, our plantain crispy and delicious chips. Do not miss this colorful spot that will make you feel like you´re visiting one of the most traditional seafood markets of Guayaquil. Enjoy your dish with a cold local beer Club Verde.
- Mono Pícaro is the place where you can find all the traditional plantain dishes from our city. I really enjoy the Encebollado which is a classic fish soup made of albacore, red onion and lots of cassava, people usually have it as a cure for hangover! They also serve awesome Bollos, Encocado, Sango de Camarón, Empanadas de Verde with Guacamole and my all time favorite: Corviche de Pescado. It is made of smashed and fried green plantains, stuffed with albacore and topped with peanut sauce and homemade ají, our traditional hot sauce made from scratch. Do not miss the Passion Fruit juice, which you grow up drinking in the city.
Where do you pop in for a quick and healthy lunch?
La Central Deli Shop is my favorite place for a quick and healthy lunch. The chef, Gabriela Cepeda, whom I consider one of the best in the city, offers a casual, delicious, most of the times healthy and always conscious daily menu. When I’m too busy to head home for lunch, I run to La Central and it always feels like a homemade meal.
Don´t miss their Meatless Mondays which are so well executed you won´t even notice you´re eating vegetarian. They are famous for their salads full of greens and local ingredients and for their innovative, mouthwatering and unforgettable Souffle de Yuca.
Your favourite coffeeshops?
I may be biased for choosing Sailor Coffee as my favorite, since most of their baked goods are Biscotti products, but I truly love it there! The ambiance and décor inspired by the sea is relaxing and refreshing pair that with one of their delicious iced coffees made with the best locally produced and harvested coffee beans.
My to-go beverage is the Iced Mocha that helps me survive the hot weather of Guayaquil. I also like to go to Masa Madre, where you`ll find the most delicious croissants and sourdough. Do not miss the Hibiscus Infusion, the most refreshing and delicious drink (you can add some Gin if you feel a happy hour coming!).
A traditional coffee shop is Dulcería La Palma, located downtown, it was founded in 1908 and it is one of the most emblematic places to have breakfast in the city. Do not miss the Pastelitos, Cachitos or Borrachitos. I have had breakfast here for 30 years and could never get tired of it.
Tell us about Guayaquil’s nightlife! Which clubs and bars can you recommend? Who serves the best cocktails?
Guayaquil has a robust night scene and I always chose a low-key bar serving beer like Arthur`s in Las Peñas. It’s my favorite place to go at night with friends to get a cold Club Verde or Pilsener, the most famous beers in Guayaquil. It is a great place to sit outside and enjoy the greatest view of the river, listen to live music, have some cocktails and traditional appetizers. A few steps from it you can find La Paleta, an eclectic place to visit, where you can have a delicious Sangria and many different cocktails. It is well-known for its colorful deco, great music and because you can find in there the most diverse crowd and so many interesting people to meet. I prefer casual places to drink and have a conversation with friends, and most of the times we go to Puerto Santa Ana or Las Peñas where we definitely can do that.
Nevertheless, if you are looking for a fancy night out and signature cocktails you can visit Bar El Capitán at Hotel Oro Verde which is one of the greatest hotels in the city. It is located downtown and offers you a wide drink menu full of tap beers and classic cocktails. Do not miss the Negroni with a seafood platter. Another option is Zeru Restaurant, you can go there to have a delicious dinner (everything is delectable, from the entrées to desserts) and then enjoy some cocktails at the bar. My suggestion is the Moscow Mule, my favorite drink there.
Where do you shop for local design and fashion?
I do not consider myself as the greatest shopper or fashionista, I´m more into supporting local artisans working with traditional textiles and fabrics. If you want to get some ponchos, paja toquilla hats and purses, the most beautiful embroidery dresses and the most diverse collection of souvenirs you have to visit Mercado Artesanal, located downtown. It is a large market filled with many tiny stores owned by artisans from all over the country that offer you the greatest diversity of handmade work. In a time where these traditional methods are being coopted or appropriated by major designers, I chose to support our local artisans and craftmakers.
Which stylish and cozy hotels would you recommend to friends?
I would really suggest Hotel del Parque which is located in a beautiful restored 19th century property. The building is right beside Parque Histórico which is home to hundreds of rescued local wildlife species. The hotel has its own herb and botanical garden and they also offer chocolate making and tastings with cocoa pods grown locally on-site. They have luxury accommodations and the finest Ecuadorian dining at the restaurant Casa Julián. For more casual accommodations you can visit Manso Hostel which is located right in front of Malecón 2000. The have an agro-ecological restaurant, a cultural center, an artisan market and the greatest view of the river. The offer many activities as biking, hiking and other nature focused programs.
What’s the one thing we have to experience in Guayaquil?
I think you can say you have visited Guayaquil if you visited Las Peñas and climbed all the 400 steps to El Faro. And if you had ceviche, patacones and a cold beer.