Suvlaki is a Greek-owned café on las Amazonas in the Mariscal district of Quito, aka Gringolandia!
It’s not fancy but clean and has outside tables. It has been open about a year now and Gregory, the owner, is already planning to open a second outlet. He serves decent home-made Greek food at reasonable prices; the tzatziki is creamy and the pitta excellent. Lunch here makes a nice change from the typical “almuerzo ejecutivo” even if it costs a little more. Good coffee too (not the usual Nescafé).
After lunch there on Saturday with a friend who was visiting from Guayaquil we decided to walk to Quicentro Shopping Centre where he wanted to look for a suit. Now it really isn’t a good idea to walk through La Mariscal on a Saturday; there are fewer people around (the surrounding offices are closed) and the risk of being robbed is greater. As we were walking along a secluded pedestrian footpath between the avenues Eloy Alfaro y Orellana, a rather abject youth approached and informed us he had a gun and did we want to die? He then demanded we handed over our cell ‘phones and money. Now I’m not especially brave but I wasn’t having any of that so I squared up to him and shouted “lárgate de aquí” – clear out of here. And he did. I was quite unfased by the incident though my friend felt panicked and nauseous.
The upshot is when in Quito – or anywhere unfamiliar or with a reputation for crime – take a taxi or a bus if there are few people around. BE SAFE!