I wasn’t sure what kind of food would be served on our tour with Red Mangrove, especially given the challenges of importing ingredients from mainland Ecuador or elsewhere. I was pleasantly surprised. The meals were served in their gorgeous seaside restaurant, either buffet style or in a set menu, and always with fresh juice. The following is my review of the on-site restaurant.
Red Mangrove Aventura Restaurant has huge sliding glass doors which overlook the harbor of Puerto Ayora. Eating there is a relaxing experience – feeling a hint of sea breeze coming in through the doors and being surrounded by tones of calming blue, from the waves of the ocean, to the cobalt napkins and seat cushions. Outside on the sundrenched deck, there are more tables and chairs for sitting alongside the suntanning marine lizards and lazy sea lions.
Buffet for dinner and breakfast
The dinner buffet was fabulous and varied night by night. On Japanese-Peruvian night, we had avocado and crab sushi rolls, chicken teriyaki, and ceviche. On Mexican night, we had delicious fajitas, quesadillas, enchiladas and tortilla soup. On grill night, there was grilled pork, beef, chicken, and tuna. And of course, each night there was a fresh salad bar for the diet-conscious, and a dessert bar with cheesecake, brownies, and mousse for the non-diet-conscious.
The breakfast buffet was a feast and it was hard to not gain 10 pounds during the tour because I normally just eat coffee and scrambled eggs. Instead, we had pancakes, bacon, sausage, an omelet station, french toast, fresh tropical fruit, granola, yoghurt, milk, coffee, and the absolute best fresh juices. Tree tomato was my favorite – it is a fruit I have only seen in Ecuador, and its juice is like a sweet, citrusy tomato. They also had papaya, mango, strawberry and blackberry depending on the day.
Set menu for lunch
The set menu came with fresh juice, plus two choices for an appetizer, entree, and dessert. My favorite meal was hearts of palm, fish, and fruit crepe. The hearts of palm were smothered in a creamy sauce and served in a cocktail glass on a bed of fried plaintain chips. The fish was steamed in an aluminum foil pouch with assorted vegetables, and served with a side of rice. The crepe was delicious and filled with chunks of tropical fruit.