City Guide: Quito

Funky, laid-back lounge music and muted lighting accompany the drinks and slick lines and minimalist chic will leave even the most timorous of travellers feeling relaxed before they head to the airport.

Sur, Catalina de Aldaz, Quito 170135

A little south of the Zs in the alphabet, but slightly north on the map, Sur is synonymous with steak and attracts families, friends and single diners alike with its impressive plates of grilled cuts. Even more mixed than the grills is the back bar, where dozens of bottles jostle behind ’tenders racking up rows and rows of house serves to take the edge off patrons’ meat sweats. Sure to deliver on volume, if not necessarily sophistication, is the house serve of Beergarita – a bottle of craft beer upended into a goldfish bowl of Grand Marnier, lime juice, sweet & sour and ice. Just what the butcher ordered… 

If it lacks a little restraint on the drinks side, Sur makes up for it with enthusiasm and consistency – this is mostly a high-volume batch serving bar after all, catering to large parties in its opulent downstairs dining room and smaller get-togethers in the main bar. There’s plenty of theatre to witness both at the bar and on the open grill.

Nubori, Catalina de Aldaz, Quito 170135

Just across the road from Sur, Nubori is a slightly-at-odds mix of sushi restaurant and sports/cocktail bar. When we visited it was all but empty aside from the gaggle of meeters, greeters, waiters and ’tenders hovering beneath the giant TV screen broadcasting a football match – but, to be fair, it was a Sunday. It certainly garners its share of plaudits for its food – pretty and cosmopolitan-looking sushi plates are its USP - and the bar is a light, airy and modern triumph of interior design.