Youthful, unafraid to break the mold but firmly rooted in his beloved Guayaquil, Chef Santiago Nieto opens the doors to his inventiveness and delightful cuisine at Casa Julián, one of the most vibrant and exciting restaurants in Ecuador’s largest city. Join us on this journey to the essence of Ecuadorian ingredients and their immense possibilities with Güitig and Ñan’s “Extraordinary Table“.
Coming in… from the Past
Suddenly, we find ourselves in the world of old Guayaquil… a world made out of wood. Casa Julián is located by the banks of the Daule River, in the heart of the city’s fabulous Historic Park, but is housed in the former residence of renowned physician Julián Coronel (hence the name of the restaurant), which was painstakingly transported “board by board” from the city center to this serene setting on the Guayaquil riverfront in Samborondón.
A green bubble amidst the concrete jungle… the gentle breeze swooshes by, carried by the mighty flow of its prominent tropical river. Much reminds us of the city’s past, yet much also emanates the future, leading us into a universe of absolutely unique culinary delights and, above all, filled with unexpected flavors. This “out-of-time” mixed-heritage sends us to a new gastronomic dimension where, as Santiago explains, “childhood memories, the roadside maduro plantain with cheese, Grandma’s carrot-and-orange juice” come to (new) life, utilizing techniques of the highest culinary sophistication while always prioritizing the freshness and authentic taste of the base ingredient.
Now, let’s imagine an “ode” to the green plantain… Santiago shares with us several intriguing preparations, including this dish focused on a single ingredient: a roasted ripe plantain base, dressed with a delicious vinegar made from ripe bananas, a green plantain “chicharrón” seasoned with salt made from plantain leaves. It’s a delectable lesson on how to utilize the versatility of one of Ecuador’s most flexible ingredients in a single recipe.
Now picture their “comibebe” (the “drink-and-eat”), a very special dessert, far from traditional but filled with nostalgic aromas, elegantly introducing vegetables into a dessert in an unforgettable way… A crispy vanilla cookie; vegetable purees with fruits, including a cauliflower puree with white chocolate. Can you imagine… not only fruits in your sweet dish, but also fresh vegetables straight from the organic garden!
Casa Julián boasts a menu that celebrates Ecuadorian cuisine with creativity. In Santiago’s words, “It’s an honest, creative, and nostalgic cuisine inspired by the customs and traditions of our culinary culture.”
“We have so many ingredients, so much local produce, so many unique, typical flavors… I would love for people, not just Ecuadorians but people from all around the world, from our sister countries, to taste the real Ecuador”… we could add, in its most inspired version!
Casa Julián in Guayaquil is more than a restaurant; it’s an experience that will leave a lasting impression. Whether you’re a local or visiting Guayaquil for the first time in search of Ecuador’s taste and culinary quality, Casa Julián never falls short. Get ready to raise a toast with Güitig, in true Ecuadorian style, and have a fantastic, unparalleled moment in Guayaquil.
Photos: Carlos Puga