Chimborazo (Minneapolis)

Well, it’s the middle of the month and there haven’t been any food posts yet. To rectify that here is a brief account of a meal at Chimborazo, a popular Ecuadorean restaurant in North Minneapolis (way up on Central Avenue).

I don’t know anything about Ecuadorean food and I am going to refrain from holding forth like an expert after some desultory googling. I did know going in that Ecuador has an extensive coastline as well inland mountainous areas but I’d never really thought much about what that might mean food-wise. If I had thought about it perhaps I would have guessed that the cuisine has distinct zones with seafood and coconut at one end and a lot of starchy stuff at the other. What I would not have predicted is the use of peanuts (yes, yes, please remind me that peanut is native to South America). In some ways the food we ate felt like it was from somewhere between the Caribbean and South East Asia. If this seems outrageous, please chalk it up to my ignorance and tell me better.

A quick word or two about the location etc.. As I said, it’s up on Central Avenue. We drive by it regularly on our Korean and Indian grocery store runs even further north on Central, but I’d never given much thought to the neighbourhood. The crowd at the restaurant, which is a small but bright space, seemed on the Saturday morning/afternoon that we were there to be a mix of a hip anglo and hispanic crowd–I don’t know if this describes the neighbourhood as well. The place is a bit tightly packed and was bustling the whole time we were there. They, very smartly, offer a brunch menu as well which along with Ecuadorean dishes features pancakes and eggs and toast and so seem to cast a wider net than one might otherwise expect. This was a bit of a boon for us as it offered a fall-back option if either brat got too picky (as one did).

So, from a position of complete ignorance, this is what we ordered (all names and descriptions taken from the menu). As always, clicking on the thumbnails will open a slideshow with captions of larger images which will allow you to properly appreciate my skills as a point and shoot photographer in low light conditions. In my defense, this is not, in general, very photogenic food.

As I said, I know nothing about Ecuadorean food and so have nothing to say about the authenticity of flavours and presentation of any of this. Of everything we got I enjoyed the empanadas and the Caldo de Bagre the most, and if you were dining alone I’d suggest you get a couple of empanadas and the larger portion of the soup and call it a meal. That would certainly hit the spot in the winter here.

With tax and tip this came to $72, which felt a little high to us for what it was. Still, I can see coming back and trying a few more things, but I’m not in a huge hurry to do so.

4 thoughts on “Chimborazo (Minneapolis)

  1. Wanted to put our two cents in on this place MAO, since we’ve been three times within the last six months.

    We think, overall, it is a good value. (Except for the veggie plate the wife gets, which is a bit skimpy for the money, but she adds a fried egg for a buck and is happy.)

    Also, we’ve always enjoyed our meals here, aside from some service issues that seem to be a result of short staffing. I love the roast pork plate, and we’ve tried the soup of the day once, which was delicious. I also liked the beef empanada I had last time.

    We also like that we can get a cold beer, or glass of wine with lunch, which can be a rarity for a lot of the ethnic places in town. This place is easy for us to get to, so we go more often, but I wouldn’t necessarily steer someone there if they had to go out of their way. I did notice it had a good run on TripAdvisor as number one for many months last year (not that that is an accurate measure of anything).


  2. We have been to Chimbprazo twice or thrice, I forget in the last several years. The first time we went we were quite taken with the truly different flavors presented. They were small, and hungry to make an impression and it showed in the quality of their offerings. The second time we went they had expanded and the food was still good. I believe I had a coconut based fish dish(which i forget now). I had specifically asked if they make any lamb/goat preparation and they said they did it maybe once a month but they got limited quantities of the meat and it was popular and went fast. The third time we went, the charm seemed to have vanished alas. I may take a guest that has never tasted Equadorian food there and feels adventurous, but dont think we are going back there in a hurry either.

    Thanks MAO for the write-up, which as always is enjoyable and a vicarious trip !


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