Cuenca has excellent restaurants, inviting cafes, and wonderful bakeries. There's plenty of street food available all over town. You'll see cuy (guinea pig) and whole pigs on spits or recently roasted, as well as empanadas and llapingachos, all for sale by street vendors. While not an option for those with sensitive stomachs, if you've got a sturdy intestinal tract, this is a tasty and inexpensive way to go.
Sushi lovers should head to Sakura (tel. 07/2827-740), at the bottom of the stairway on Calle Larga at Hermano Miguel. The new hip restaurant and bar Zoe (tel. 07/2841-005), at Borrero 7-61 between Sucre and Córdova, is another good option. Finally, for an elegant and refined meal, try Casa Alonso (tel. 07/2823-889), which serves up classy old-world cuisine at the hotel Mansión Alcázar.
Fanesca -- Holy Week Soup -- If you're lucky enough to be in Cuenca for Semana Santa, or Holy Week, be sure to try the seasonal specialty, fanesca, a thick soup of salted cod. The soup contains 12 different beans or grains, representing the 12 apostles. It has a cream or milk base and is thickened with ground pumpkin seeds. Fanesca is usually served with a hard-boiled egg in the bowl, and often with an empanada and some tubers such as cassava or plantain. The traditional meal in Ecuadorean homes on Good Friday, fanesca is served in the majority of local restaurants for most of Holy Week.
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