I was lucky to be introduced to this great new addition to the Cuenca gourmet restaurant scene by a friend who lives near there in the Tres Puentes district. The restaurant is right across from the Tarqui River. It is run by a lovely young couple, who cook and serve the food themselves. The food is interesting, wonderfully tasty and served in beautiful dishes. All of that is my catnip. The trifecta.
Venga is only open on Saturdays right now. They serve a fixed price five course menu for $25. My friend and I split a bottle of French Cotes du Rhone wine, very reasonably priced at $25. No cocktails, but I think they are wise to concentrate on what they do well.
Our dinner consisted of crunchy sourdough bread with oyster butter and olives, an appetizer of crispy manioc with a garlicky sauce of some kind, green plantain and white plantain with grated cheese on top, and llapingachos. The latter is a traditional Ecuadorian potato cake. This one came with very, very crispy pork shavings on top. Delicious.
Next up was freshly made linguini with a great creamy sauce. It had calamari which I don’t eat, but the pasta was extremely tender. The main course was a tender beef filet (and it was tender, which almost never happens here) shrimp, potatoes and what I think was cubed squash, all in a tangy mustard sauce. I don’t generally choose mustard sauce, given a choice, but this one was really good.
Last stop, dessert. Chocolate cake, passionfruit ice cream and a sautéed banana.
I’m tempted to make a standing reservation at Venga for every Saturday night, to see what the chef comes up with that week. It is seriously, one of the best restaurants in Cuenca, and that is saying a lot these days. I would class it right up there with Negroni, El Mercado and Capitán. We all enjoyed it more than some of the more highly rated places on Trip Advisor.
Address: Paseo Rio Tarqui 3-235 y Rio Miguir
Contact information: +593 99 883 3765
Recommended by Heather Griffiths: email@example.com