Talking about lunch, it can be quite challenging to find good and affordable places to eat in Loja... Not that there is any shortage of reaturants by any mean. The thing is that the typical $2 to $3 "almuerzo" doesn't really satisfy most expats' tastes.
There are of course more expensive options, "a la carta", but then prices go up.I love the Howard Johnson's lunch time buffet but althought it is great value for the money it is way out of my average lunch time budget.
In the "treat" department (coffee, cakes, ice cream ...) in the past few years a number of new cafeterias have popped up in Loja and the quality of the coffee has significantly increased. Many of them now have espresso machines and can make you a decent cappuccino or mochaccino, some have crepes / pancakes and even waffles. This is a bit of change from the traditional tamal or humita.
In this section we will review some places that we found interesting in the center of Loja.
Emporio Lojano - Empanadas, expresso coffee and chocolate
Jose Luis Granda and his wife in front of Emporio Lojano - Calle 10 de Agosto entre Sucre y Bólivar
What would Loja be without its "empanadas de queso" ?
With the humitas and the tamales, empanadas are a great tradition and people in Loja love to take a break from a work to go and enjoy a good "empanada" with a cup of coffee.
There are many many places that offer this type of treat in Loja. However, Emporio Lojano is different.
Firstly, they offer great coffee. They have an expresso machine and the coffee comes from their own plantation in Pindal. I tried it and it was delicious. I had to ask Jose Luis, the owner and barista, to prepare me a short one because at first he offered me the normal "Flojon" that people drink here. (lots and lots of water). So, he prepared me a tight one and I really enjoyed it.
Secondly, the space, although by no mean finished, is cosy, confortable and promising for the future. They are restoring an old traditional home with mud walls and rustic timber and are turning it into a modern open lounge style cafe. People can sit in sofas, children can play in the patio.
It has only recently opened but I believe it is bound to be a success. Try it out and let us know what you think.
We hope to have the opportunity to review them fully in the near future.
Calle 10 de Agosto entre Sucre y Bolivar
From the central park, head down the 10 de Agosto towards the main avenue (Universitaria, the one with the river).
The place is only half a block away on the left side.