The Best Ecuadorian Restaurants In NYC
photo credit: Emily Schindler
A cold bowl of ceviche. Pan-fried, palm-sized llapingachos. Warm guatita, peanutty and smooth as the hot fudge on a sundae. Whatever sort of mood you’re in, there’s an Ecuadorian solution. New York City is, by far, home to the largest Ecuadorian population in the United States, and it has endless options for encebollado and emapanadas. Here are some standouts, for a streetside meal or a sit-down, share-it-all, big group dinner.
The owners of Rincón Melania have been serving Ecuadorian food in Queens for several decades now, and it shows. Their previous restaurant, Rincón Latino, closed in 2011, but now you can eat their chaulafan, guatita, and carne asada in a homey space on Queens Boulevard in Long Island City. Get some salchipapas for the table, order the bandeja with a llapingacho on the side, and be sure to try the ceviche. It’s some of the best in NYC.
On weekend afternoons, La Hueca Epa is filled with kids in soccer uniforms eating fried chicken and big bowls of ceviche. This family-friendly spot in Corona is great to pop in for a casual lunch or dinner, and we’re pretty sure you could come here for six months straight and never repeat your order. The menu mostly focuses on seafood—with options that range from bollo de pescado to red crabs with rice and plantains—but don’t be afraid to branch out. Try the breaded steak that comes with rice beans and a bowl of crispy fries on the side.
If you want to get a noteworthy pastry, you don’t have to visit some Noho bakery with a line down the block. M&S has enough desserts on hand to supply every birthday party in the neighborhood, and they open at 7am daily. Pick up a turnover filled with a sweet guava filling, and grab a table if you want to stick around for a full sit-down meal. This Ridgewood restaurant is about as casual as a coffee shop, but they serve a surprisingly large selection of food, including rotisserie chicken, various soups, and a bandeja with sausage and perfectly runny eggs.
The street food options around Roosevelt Ave in Corona are infinite. In Corona Plaza alone, you’ll find around 30 vendors—including a few Ecuadorian ones—and if you head west a few blocks, you’ll come across even more stands and trucks lined up with sidewalk seating. Our favorite of the bunch is El Rincón Guayaquileño, which has a few other locations, including a brick and mortar. Their carne asada is so deeply marinated that it stains the rice it's served alongside, and their encebollado de pescado is packed with chunks of fish.
If you want to grab a takeout lunch near Herald Square, and you’d rather not eat something that was designed in a corporate test kitchen, try El Sabroso. A highly underrated Garment District staple, this Ecuadorian spot serves beef stew, pernil, and seco de gallina from a little counter hidden down a freight entrance on 37th Street. Stop by before they close at 5pm, and get a foil container packed to the brim with rice, beans, and tripe in a creamy peanut sauce.
Dekalb Market Hall is one of the best and most interesting food halls in the city (a distinction that actually means something nowadays), and Okey Ecuadorian Food is one big reason why. Their menu is succinct, but it covers a bunch of classics, like encebollado, ceviche, and crispy fried carne apanada. Focus on the meats, like the ribs that come doused in a sticky sweet sauce, and well-seasoned steak served with fries, rice, salad, and a little grilled sausage.