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THE BEST RESTAURANTS AND CHEAP EATS IN MONTAÑITA, ECUADOR

The laidback inhabitants of surf town of Montanita, with their love for healthy sustainable food, attracts like-minded restaurant owners who are looking to fuel and recharge weary bodies that have been out in the surf all day. This gives you a host of choices from the standard acai bowl joints, to trendy cafes with freshly brewed Ecuadorian coffee, to your classic international places like Italian and Japanese. As Montanita is also renowned for being the party town of Ecuador, you can also find burger joints and pizzerias to get that comfort food fix and cure your raging hangover. We’ve broken down our favourite places to eat in this crazy surfer town with cafes, beachfront eating, cheap eats, as well as our personal favourites all included.

THE BEST RESTAURANTS IN MONTANITA

Spend anything more than a week in Ecuador and you’ll quickly become accustomed to eating rice, beans and some sort of questionable meat.

 

As a traveller, it’s important to save money where you can and eating the standard South American menu of the day with the locals is certainly one way of saving.

 

There always comes a time, however, when you need some home comforts or fancy indulging in some heartier food. Whilst we certainly won’t claim to be experts on saving money on food,  this is something we do well – treating ourselves to a good meal.  

 

And in our opinion, Montanita is one of the best places in Ecuador for it.

1. Pigro

Italian food is my guilty pleasure and Pigro is one of the best Italian restaurants outside of Italy. A strong but justified claim that I’ll let you hold me to until you visit.

 

It’s closer to the expensive end of a backpacker’s budget with meals averaging $10-12 but trust me, you won’t be disappointed. They also serve bread and chilli oil before your meal which is to die for.

 

I recommend the ‘Fettuccine con Calamar’ to combine the Italian cuisine with treats of the ocean at your doorstep. If you’re feeling hungry have the chicken Milanese with a side of pasta for $14, a great refuelling meal after surfing. 

Pigro

2. Tiburon

For something a little different, check out the Thai-Ecuadorian fusion on offer at Tiburon.

 

Located upstairs the family-run restaurant has experimented with mixing cuisines with mixed results but all the dishes are certainly unique. I had a green curry empanada which was huge and delicious.

3. Papillon

If you can’t decide whether you fancy sweet or savoury, why choose?

 

Head to Papillon and have a savoury pancake followed by a sweet one. If you’ve been surfing that day you can justify your choice. 

4. Tex Mex

Located just out of the centre of the town to the north across the bridge, this is a lesser-known spot popular with those staying at the learning Spanish and staying at Montanita Spanish School Cabanas.

 

Run by a young couple and their little boy, this place has a homely feel to it with everyone working hard on your order. It can take a while for the food to come but it’s prepared with care and the Ecuadorian twist on Mexican food makes it all the better.

 

They have three wrap options all served with fries; the Mexican with beans and guacamole, the American with BBQ sauce and cheese and the Israeli with humous.

 

All three are a must try and you can add meat if you like. Wraps cost $8 so definitely worth the visit.

5. Ezzios

It’s hard not to love pizza and Ezzios is the only place worth visiting in Montanita if you’re craving it.

 

A top tip, if you’re hungry order two smaller sizes rather than the size above as it’s cheaper and you end up with the same amount of pizza. For example, two mediums are $14 whereas a large is $15. You can also mix up the toppings if you do this too.

 

This is one for a hangover day. Is it clear that we’re big eaters?

6. Tiki Limbo

Tiki Limbo triples up as a restaurant, café and hotel and the restaurant design is great with an open-air feel to it. Again, not the cheapest but certainly very tasty.

 

Our top pick would be the burgers, or the seafood, or the nachos. Nope, we can’t decide, you’ll have to choose when you’re there.

 

And if the main doesn’t fill the hole or has had the opposite effect and made you sleepy, head next door to their cafe to grab a coffee or tasty treat, or both!

Cheap Eats In Montanita

Menus of the day (Menu del Dia) are a traveller’s favourite and there’s no shortage in Montanita.

 

Head to Calle 10 de Agosto which is the road parallel to the main road passing through the town. Here you’ll find laundries turning into restaurants, you know the deal. Keep a lookout for the grills outside or signs with menu del dia.

 

A meal should cost $5-7 and include rice, beans, meat and if you’re lucky salad. These meals always fill the void whilst keeping costs low.

Cafes and Coffee

There are a few cafes but aside from Tiki Limbo, the only other one worth mentioning is The Wave. With lots of comfortable places to sit this is a great place to get some work done or relax and read a book.

 

The coffee is as good as it gets in South America and there are some great lunch options with burgers, sandwiches and tacos on offer. A coffee costs around $3.

Healthy Choices

The best recommendation is to head to juice street.

 

I made this name up but you’ll know what I mean when you get there. Located in the northern part of town, just up the road to the east of Pigro. This is the best place to get a fruit and vegetable smoothie to keep your body a temple or to attempt to restore it following a big night out.

 

There are also crepe places if you want some guilty carbs with your fruit. Shakes and crepes cost around $5.

Treating Yourself

We love treating ourselves. What we’re treating ourselves for, we’re never sure, but it doesn’t stop us. Whilst the places above are not cheap there are some more expensive restaurants on the beach. However, it is nice to escape the madness of the town from time to time and this is one way to do it.

 

Our two top picks are:

 

That should have you covered for an extended stay in Montanita. Be sure to check out our top things to do in Montanitaand you can find everything you need to know about surfing, language schools and the nightlife here in our ultimate guide to Montanita. 

That list should keep you going during your stay in Montanita and we’re sure you won’t want to leave with so many food choices on offer.

 

What are your plans for after Montanita? A trip to the Galapagos Islands is a short way away with flights directly from Guayaquil and if you are worried about the price, don’t worry because it can be done on a budget and we have laid out some great itineraries to try out.

 

If you are heading north, then Banos is a logical next step or simply use our Ecuador itinerary to help you plan. 

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