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Loja is a midsize city with plenty of restaurants, although most cater to the local crowd, and very few stand out. The local specialty is the tamal lojano, a large tamal of fresh ground corn filled with a mix of shredded pork or chicken and other goodies, which include hard-boiled eggs, beans, carrots, and onions -- all of which is wrapped in the local achira plant leaf.

Loja has its share of international restaurants. The best of these include A Lo Mero Mero (no phone), on Sucre 06-22 near Colón, for traditional Mexican fare; Pizzería Forno di Fango (tel. 07/2582-905), on Bolívar 10-98 near Azuay, for brick-oven pizzas, pastas, and Italian cuisine; and Mar y Cuba (tel. 07/2585-154), on Rocafuerte 09-00 and 24 de Mayo, for Cuban cooking and fresh seafood. Vegetarians should head to El Paraíso Vegetariano (tel. 07/2576-977), on Calle Quito between Sucre and Bolívar, which has a good menu of meat-free entrees and snacks.

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.