In Manta, don’t miss Martinica


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We never imagined that in a small city like Manta we would find a place like Martinica. From the moment you see the house from the street, it catches your attention: its colors, its presence… its air just feels different. Once you step inside, you encounter a beautiful set piece of wooden tables with white tablecloths, warm-colored walls, objects, deco-rations and paintings chosen deliberately to create an elegant atmosphere: one quickly realizes we are someplace special.

Our experience, no doubt, takes an even more special turn when the chef and owner Omar Rivade­neira comes to greet us, offering a sample of a variety of recipes “to really grasp the essence of the restaurant”. Dishes start coming out from the kitchen, one after another: an octopus Carpaccio with Ecuadorian tree tomato and tiny llapingacho potato pancakes; a delectable suckling pig; Galapagos prawns on a bed of saffron spaghetti. When the waiter removes the shell, everyone’s faces light up. While tasting each dish, we just don’t know which we like best. All are special and all are different. The flavors that make up every sauce, every stew, every meat dish, every bite, exist alone, with their own essence, each dish is its own world of flavors.

Martinica has eleven years under her belt, marking her way in Manta, not only as one of the outstanding places to eat in the city, but one of the most exciting restaurants to visit in the country. The menu is basically a celebration of the ingredients used, many of which are local. But the menu does not stick to a specific style. While based on tradition, Martinica is astoundingly innovative. And “understanding the restaurant’s essence,” we realized, was understanding its diversity.

After a quick chat with Omar, we realized he is passionate about cooking. It is his greatest pleasure and more than a profession, he feels it’s a way of life. A longstanding chef with culinary studies and experience dating back to his youth, Omar makes his savoir-faire evident in every recipe. “The important thing is to enhance each flavor,” he explains. “I ‘work’ each ingredient, and each ingredient go through specific techniques in order to acquire the taste I want to reach, so that once the dish arrives at the table, becoming the delight of those who visit us.”

There are thus many versions of local, traditional dishes such as the inventive roasted tuna with a peanut sauce and ripe plantain, or a traditional bean stew called molineado, based on ancient farmer’s recipes in which the beans were broken down in mills; with caramelized onions, olive oil and a slow reduction. Among the most coveted dishes is the Jipijapa Ceviche, a specialty that has remained on the menu since it was first included, eight years ago.

Eating at Martinica is an unforgettable treat, a comprehensive culinary adventure that starts with an array of seafood specialties, so easy to acquire from the nearby port, but also extends to all kinds of meats (beef, lamb, pork, duck). Every dish is its own journey.

One says goodbye with only one thing in mind: “I have to come back. I have to tell everyone to come here”; because if you’re in Manta, it would be a shame not to eat at Martinica.


Cdla. Umiña #2, Mz I, Lote 1,
Vía a Barbasquillo, Manta

(+593 5) 261 3735 /

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