The locro quiteño with paico is a traditional potato soup served at Quito’s Casa Gangotena.

Often eclipsed by culinary capitals Lima and Buenos Aires, Quito’s restaurant scene is on the rise. The Andean city combines centuries-old indigenous traditions, deft craftsmanship and soulful style that distinguish it from temples to haute cuisine in nearby Peru. With TAME Airlines’ newly launched direct flights out of Fort Lauderdale and New York, the city is increasingly accessible. Arrive hungry. Here are seven places to eat in Quito, Ecuador.

1. Lua
Northern Quito may lack the architectural charms of the city’s UNESCO-approved old quarter, but its Mariscal neighborhood has restaurants and bars for days. (Pro tip: be sure to bypass the backpacker-heavy central area, dubbed “Gringotown” for its anonymous beer halls and “Texas Chicken” counters.) Chef Alex Lua serves tiradito, lamb- and octopus-studded rice and deceptively stiff Pisco sours to local power players and the well-dressed people who date them. Pontevedra N24-422, + 593 2 511 2570, luarestaurante.com

Mercado San Francisco — Quito’s oldest indoor market — features fresh local produce and meats.

2. Mercado San Francisco
Since 1843, Quito’s oldest indoor market has been doling out fresh cheeses, meats, superlative bananas and pressed juices made with local produce. (Bonus: GMO-free!) Lest you think San Francisco is akin to any old farmers’ market, consider its specialty purveyors. Hankering for a cold chicha or Andean corn beer? Seek out Patricia, a local brewer who also runs culinary tours of Old Quito. Curse of the evil eye got you down? Find Senora Rosa Mercedes, a fourth-generation healer who prescribes indigenous herbal remedies from a tiny, fluorescent-lit stall. Rocafuerte y Chimborazo

The two-year-old patisserie Chez Tiff spikes its single-origin chocolate truffles with local passion fruit.

3. Chez Tiff Artesenal
Ecuadorians have been harvesting cacao for over 5,000 years, but, for the past century or so, most of the sweet stuff was exported wholesale to European confectioners like Lindt. Now, award-winning labels like Pacari encourage locals to celebrate their centuries-old cash crop. Enter Chez Tiff, a two-year-old enterprise founded by a Swiss-born chocolatier and his Ecuadorian historian wife. The garden-level chocolate shop in La Ronda spikes its single-origin chocolate truffles with local passion fruit, and uses Andean quinoa to create what could safely be called the world’s most elegant Kit Kat. Teniente Teodoro Carrion Oe6-72 y Machala, + 593 2 229 0020, cheztiff.net

4. Casa Gangotena
The future of Ecuadorian cooking is happening in a luxury hotel in a 1926 colonial mansion on Quito’s San Francisco Plaza. Chef Andres Davila is gunning for a spot on San Pellegrino and Restaurant Magazine’s 50 Best list, and it shows. Tasting menus elevate patrimonial dishes like locro quiteno, a classic Andean potato soup, with clever twists (hot sauce flights, anyone?) and impeccable technique. He sources his ingredients from spice vendors around the corner, mills grains for house-made empanadas two blocks away and buys nearly all his produce directly from Mercado San Francisco. He even hired a former Del Posto manager (and Quito native) as his F&B Director. Game, set, match. Bolivar Oe6-41 y Cuenca, + 593 2 400 8000, casagangotena.com/en/cuisine

Rosita’s agua de la vida — a blend of 25 Andean fruits and herbs — has been known to cure a hangover.

5. Rosita’s
Rough night? Hit this tiny storefront herbalist in the morning. Located on a side street in Quito’s hilly historic quarter, Rosita’s specializes in the eponymous owner’s agua de la vida, or water of life. A blend of 25 Andean fruits and herbs, Rosita’s super juice stems from a generations-old indigenous recipe. It’s also the world’s tastiest hangover cure. Benalcazar S1-124

6. La Gloria
Night owls heading to Quito’s boho-chic Las Flores district first hit this sprawling neighborhood restaurant for sustenance. A sizeable wine list and awesomely eclectic soundtrack (related: is Hall & Oates the ultimate dinner music?) accompany Old World classics like paella and squid ink risotto, plus Ecuadorian ceviche and salads made with spicy shrimp and locally harvested chonta, or heart of palm. Valladolid N24-519 y Fco. Salazar, +593 2 252 7855, lagloria.com.ec

A plate of food at La Cuchara de San Marcos may lack meat, but it certainly doesn’t lack flavor.

7. La Cuchara de San Marcos
This two-year-old, family-run establishment in burgeoning San Marcos is everything an eco-friendly, vegetarian restaurant isn’t supposed to be: stylish, inviting and all-out delicious. The organic menu reinvents carnivorous Ecuadorian fare like empanaditas de morocho and locro de papas into meatless dishes made with local produce and house-grown spices. La Cuchara also exhibits local artists in a sunlit gallery, collects and repurposes rainwater and sells quirky products like llama’s milk soap in an on-site boutique. Even juicing gets the green treatment: the bici-juguera is a bicycle-powered blender parked in La Cuchara’s courtyard. Diners who pedal to press their own juice get two for the price of one ($2.50). Junin E3-121 y Manuel Jijon cul de sac, +593 2 295 1713

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