Monday Rosa Anna and I went to Galapagos, the Cafe, not to Ecuador. An Ecuadorian friend of mine, Jessica, mentioned it again for the third time so I thought I should try it.
If you are open to ethnic foods, eschew the Americanized versions and instead savor authentic cuisines, Chicago is one great food city. With one of the most diverse Latino immigrant populations, experiencing authentically real cuisines here is doable and affordable.
Our meal began with complementary chips. Not tortilla chips but fried banana chips. They came with a dipping sauce made from an Ecuadorian chilie and an Ecuadorian tomato. It had a slight kick, not too hot but certainly not boring. We both enjoyed these.
Roseann ordered the empanadas de pollo, which were stuffed with green peas, carrots, boiled eggs and onions. She said they were good.
Galapagos Cafe also offers Japanese food. In a conversation with one of the owners (there are three brothers involved with the restaurant), he said that originally a Japanese woman was supposed to be involved with the restaurant which is why they also have Japanese food on the menu. Ecuador, for anyone who is geographically challenged, shares what looks like about one third of their border with the Pacific Ocean, so seafood is a definite part of that country’s diet.
If you are looking for very traditional Japanese food, then Galapagos is not for you. The gyoza that I ordered had a definite South American flair to it.
I also ordered a pineapple Inca Soda, just to try.
Both of us ordered Ecuadorian dishes. Rosa Anna ordered the guatita, which is potato and onions with peanut sauce and guava. It also had a little kick to it, and from the sample I had, it was very, very good.
I had ordered the mote pillo, which is Ecuadorian corn mixed with eggs, onions, herbs and olive oil. It was good, although a bit on the bland side. Because I had just left my doctor’s office after having to do a food fast, the mild flavorings of this dish was exactly right for me. It was also amazingly filling.
As for decor, nothing says I heart seafood like a swordfish chasing dinner down.
This is actually a poster on the wall, but the original artwork from which this is taken is so lovely and serene that I had to share it with you.
Yes, this is a windmill and obviously an older one.
This was my favorite original piece of work in the restaurant. This is what it looked like in total.
And here are two close ups, where you can see the 3D effects that were integrated into the artwork.
According to one of the owners, Galapagos opened about a year ago and is located in the Irving Park Neighborhood. The Ecuadorian food is authentic right down to the after dinner mint, which also comes from Ecuador.
3213 W. Irving Park
at Kedzie and Irving