Open 24 hours. However, we recommend planning your visit taking into account the hours of attention of the attractions in this sector.
It is located in the northern center of the city
La Floresta (the Verdant Grove) followed La Mariscal as one of the first areas to develop out of the colonial center during the early years of urban expansion in the 1920s. Its name, and beautiful tile-roof garden residences that still survive from the old days, suggest a nature-dominated highbrow quarter, but the area is fringed by the working-class La Vicentina, Quito’s fast-paced university district and recent high-rise construction development, where banks, hotels, offices and retail stores abound, a multiple personality that makes for one of modern Quito’s most dynamic sectors.
If anything, La Floresta is pedestrian-friendly. Residents have little need to venture out to other sectors of town for their basic needs, and even luxuries are well accounted for. Over the years, the neighborhood has attracted artists and musicians, a fact that has influenced neighborhood hype (with a slew of graffiti artists who’ve claimed the walls). Much is independent and small-scale, so making your way around is an adventure amid arty stores, quaint cafés, specialty grocers, and other offbeat endeavors… Not everything is successful and there is a strong turnover rate: what we may write about today may no longer be with us several months from now. This year, La Floresta is celebrating its 100-year anniversary… another great reason to visit.
La Floresta icons
The Trude-Solkja Institute (Toledo & Coruña)
The closest thing to a holocaust museum in Ecuador, set in a beautiful mid-XXth century residence, where the thought-provoking work of Jewish immigrant Trude Solkja is exhibited.
Ochoymedio (Valladolid y Vizcaya)
Quito’s independent movie house, the only one to project foreign language and arty films, with a nice café Río Intag where you can order something before hitting the projection rooms. If you haven’t visited in a while, its classic La Cafetina has now moved two blocks to the north, and also hosts its share of events, exhibits and fairs.
Casa Toledo (Toledo between Coruña and Zaldumbide)
Quito’s newest addition in the scenic arts scene… and a great new excuse to go out at night to catch a play.
Coffee, magazines and more
On the T-shaped corner of Galavis and Valladolid, Ecuador’s leading magazines (travel magazine Ñan and environmental magazine Ecuador Terra Incógnita) and fine coffee and chocolate conglomerate Café Vélez & Hoja Verde are neighbors. Their storefronts are also two excellent craft stores (Materia and La Nueva Comuna). It has unsuspectingly become an interesting place to stop and seek out something special to take back home. Good cafés abound, actually, and two of the best are Jervis (with tasty sandwiches and soups) and Botánica with delicious fruit beverages, paninis… and accessories made out of recycled material at its co-owned store FUI Reciclado.
Friday outdoor market (Galavis & Isabel La Católica)
The market brings together indigenous vendors, specialty producers and an excellent organic produce kiosk. Find honey, fresh shrimp, alternative nutrition, food for diabetics, homemade humus, imported cherries, grapes and oranges, vibrant equatorial flowers, and all the fruits and vegetables of local origin you could wish for.
Recycled pallets for décor and delicacies that span the culinary spectrum from original pasta sauces, jams to sea salt!
La Floresta is the place in Quito where everyone meets to go out to eat. Chock full of restaurants, here are some of our favorites… both national and international fare abound and it’s a daunting task to choose.
Sushi: Tanoshii, Noé, Kobe
Latin American fusion: Salsa
Classic Lima-style Peruvian: Segundo Muelle, Lima 51
Chinese: Happy Panda and its Dim Sum Bar
Classic Italian: Pavarotti, La Bricciola
Coastal Food & Ecuadorian ceviche: Esmeraldas
Siam-inspired bar/restaurant: Banh-mi
Tacos on the go: Frida’s, La Fonda
Nouveau Ecuadorian: Urko
Latin America/Mediterranean fusion: La Gloria
Plus three strictly vegetarian joints: Formosa (on Andalucía), Upála (on Coruña) and Gopal (on Mallorca)
Italian-style pizza: Al forno
New-York-style pizza: Fortunato’s
Pizza and beer… and bikes?: La Cleta
Euro Bakeries: La Floresta is a great place to buy bread! Find Brotcorp (German), Dansk (Danish), Hay Pan (French), Jürgen (Dutch).
Good cheese, fresh produce and sandwiches: Salinerito (Madrid)
One of northern Quito’s most street, González Suárez, dominated by its highrise apartment buildings on each side and manicured sidewalks, offers a pleasant stroll and a number of interesting eateries (Sushi Nori for homestyle Asian, Sweet & Coffee for sinfully sweet desserts, or great value El Hornero brick-oven pizza). A nice café is La Liebre, with a great changing lunch menu, French bakery Cyrano and patisiere Le Petit Patisserie, Chilean-based cafeteria-style Cassolette (well known for their cheesecakes). A popular midnight-craving joint is Los Hot-Dogs de las González Suárez.