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New Town -- A host of simple restaurants are geared toward the backpacker crowd. For tasty Indian food, try either Chandani Tandoori (tel. 02/2221-053), on Juan León Mera 1312, between Avenida Colón and Luis Cordero, or Great India Restaurant (tel. 02/2238-269), on José Calama E4-54, between Juan León Mera and Avenida Amazonas. For pastas and pizzas, head to Le Arcate (tel. 02/2237-659), on Baquedano 358 and Juan León Mera.

Old Town -- You'll do well at the elegant courtyard restaurant El Rincón de Cantuña (tel. 02/2280-830) inside the hotel Patio Andaluz. You might also try Octava de Corpus (tel. 02/2952-989), Calle Junín E2-167, which is spread over several rooms in an old colonial home, with antiques and artwork everywhere, and a great wine cellar. Consider also La Casa de los Geráneos (tel. 02/2283-889), Calle La Ronda OE 1-134, which has a lovely courtyard and indoor seating in an ancient home of the historic Calle La Ronda.

Two of the restaurants: Café Mosaico and PIM's Panecillo, are actually located a little bit outside and above the center of Old Town, but for practical purposes -- and for the views they provide of Old Town -- they are included here. A taxi to either of these restaurants from Old Town should not cost more than $3 (£2).

The new El Café de San Francisco (tel. 09/9034-164), Bolívar 517 and Benalcázar, is a simple cafe and restaurant, set on the second floor of an old building on the southwest corner of the Plaza San Francisco. The food is pretty standard and uninspiring, but the location is perfect. If you come here, try to snag a window or balcony seat.

North of New Town -- You'll actually find a wide range of good, and mostly high-end, restaurants throughout the northern sections of the city. Chez Jerome (tel. 02/2234-067), Whymper N30-96 and Coruña, is a standout spot for classic French cuisine. Sake (tel. 02/2504-984), Paul Rivet N28-42 and Whymper, is the current top choice for sushi and Japanese food; Blu (tel. 02/2884-954), Victor Estrada 701 and Ficus, serves up excellent fusion cuisine in an elegant setting; Lo Nuestro (tel. 02/2563-438), Isabel la Católica N24-535 and Luis Cordero, is the new Quito branch of a longstanding Guayaquil favorite. Astrid y Gastón (tel. 02/2506-621), Av. Coruña N32-302 and González Suárez, is the Quito branch of groundbreaking Peruvian fusion stars Astrid and Gastón. Finally, for Italian fare, I recommend Carmine (tel. 02/2225-531), Barquerizo Moreno E7-70 and Diego de Almagro.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.