The ancient Valdivia civilization, perhaps South America’s most ancient, seems to emanate its energetic force from the sea-swept contours of Puerto Cayo. Its receptacle, enveloped in the elegance of Hotel Las Tanusas, is its exclusive restaurant Boca Valdivia.
Led by chef Rodrigo Pacheco, a Paul Bocuse Institute graduate, the restaurant’s concept is based on sustainability and ancestral culture: returning to essential fishing, harvesting and farming techniques that date back to 8,000 BC.
The dishes executed, with care and creativity, offer ingredients caught and collected that very same day.
“There is no menu. We change our dishes according to what we harvest and fish,” says Erwin Toala, one of the hotel’s managers. With its privileged, unique location, in the midst of six different ecosystems – coastal, mangrove, tropical dry forest, tropical rainforest, orchards and reef-beds – Pacheco and his team put all the cornucopia of local products and seafood to imaginative use. They create a cuisine of the highest quality, while maintaining a sustainable, no-waste menu.
David Chávez, a young man from the hamlet of Cantagallo (which would translate as Singing Rooster in English) in Manabí, had never really set foot in a kitchen until a year-and-a-half ago. Today, he takes his chef’s whites seriously. He prepares many of Pacheco’s iconic dishes. “I’ve fallen head over heels for the chef’s life,” he says with a smile. In little over a year since he started, the talented apprentice is trusted to run the kitchen during the head chef’s absence.
The sound of waves fingering up the sandy beach and the rustle of palm leaves resonate throughout the exclusive Las Tanusas.
Peace pervades every space, its beach inaccessible to the everyday world. As dusk falls, the sun sets picture perfect over the Pacific, while in the kitchen the team prepares dinner.
Just like any gastronomic experience at the world’s finest restaurants, it’s more like a journey to the source… Aloe vera and watermelon salad is served inside a cactus leaf that forms the dish itself; mangrove shrimp cooked on a grill literally built with yucca (cassava/manioc) roots; for dessert, artisanal sherbert deftly scooped inside a mococha, the cup-shaped outer shell of the tagua nut (vegetable ivory).
At Boca Valdivia, the flame of the ancient Valdivia culture is rekindled anew. Its light inspires and delights, illuminating a vision both fresh and sustainable – one of Ecuador’s most special culinary experiences.
A complete experience
During the day, you can visit the restaurant’s organic vegetable garden where radish, tomato, cassava, cucumber, papaya, banana, wild oregano, and countless varieties of vegetables and fruits are grown. You can also accompany sous-chefs Darwin and Wilton to fish in the mangroves… or savor fresh oysters from the nearby reef-beds.
Ruta Spondilus, Km. 12 via Puerto Cayo, Manta
+(593) 9981 99428