Cafe Fruteria Monserrate Featuring Natural Food

Cafe Fruteria Monserrate beckons a few doors from the colonial Espejo Shopping Center on Espejo Street, down from Plaza Grande. A natural foods place, it attracts many young and not so few older tourists.

Fruits and juices command the menu, served with gusto. When you order upon entering upstairs - your favorite fruits can come with or without the topping of whipped cream or jellied sauce. You don't have to order fruit, of course, and... the price turns out, oh, so reasonable, if not downright cheap!

I just treated my favorite family consisting of two adults, myself, one teenager and one child for $20! Full meals with drinks.

--One warning--: Their spaghetti with chicken comes graced with occasional small chicken bones that you might bite into unexpectedly or worse, have it lodge where you can't swallow. It's a huge meal for $4.50 complete with salad and juice. I'll pass on that dish after ordering one that I was afraid to finish.

Their grilled chicken dish - pollo a la plancha - is perfect although it's a longer wait.

In addition to the fruits, lunch leaves nothing to want.

Desayuno offers a full light breakfast consisting of eggs how you want them, a tasty bread roll, coffee and your choice of juice - a tall glass - for $1.50. A ranchero breakfast - a bigger breakfast - is $2.50. These prices include the whole meal...todo! (I'm not sure they still serve at these prices.)

And if these aren't available, they offer the diet breakfast for $3.50. It consists of eggs scrambled with veggies, a small fresh fruit bowl and cereal with creamy yogurt... delish... and a regular breakfast of eggs and sausage for the same price. I didn't order that one, so I don't know what comes with it.

I tried their soup of the day, "sopa con bola de verde," and found it very much to my liking... Sometimes they sell out on their best items.

It consisted of a potato soup with one large vegetable or green banana dumpling. Guanabana juice quenched my thirst, and the total price was $3.50! Besides making my stomach and pocketbook happy, it filled me up. That's quite an accomplishment for only the soup!

I've also tried their 99-cent empanadas de carne con verde (meat and veggie turnover)... delightful and filling. Next time, I'll order two.

I asked a local friend on her birthday where she would like to be taken to lunch on this her very special day. She chose Fruteria Monserrate.

That's how I tracked down this special find. She informed me the cafe opened here a few years ago, and - being a stickler for cleanliness - enthusiastically pointed out how non-stop cleaning predominates in this place.

If you simply want to come in, sit down and kick back, a downstairs area provides for that very purpose... great place to come in out of the rain if you get caught in a downpour!

So, if hunger strikes you in colonial Quito, try Cafe Fruteria Monserrate from my top choices for great food. even if you only want a cup of hot chocolate in the middle of the afternoon. I happen to really like coming here and choose from its super local menu, posted on a chalkboard behind the cashier stand where you pre-pay... for whatever my testimonial counts.

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