Cafe Austria: Gringo Hangouts in Cuenca

Posted in: Cuenca Ecuador, Ecuador Food, Living in Ecuador

There are a number of cafes and restaurants around Cuenca known as gringo hangouts, even though many locals enjoy eating there as well. This is one in a series of “gringo hangouts” that we will be covering.

If you are looking for a nice place to eat and meet up with fellow expats/travelers in Cuenca, you might want to check out Cafe Austria.

Cafe Austria Cuenca

Where in Cuenca is Cafe Austria?

Cafe Austria is located near the center of town and is easy to find, it’s right on the corner of Benigno Malo 5-45 and Juan Jaramillo.

Cafe Austria Cuenca Ecuador

They offer a daily lunch special and they have a nice variety of meals on their menu. They also have some nice desserts on display at the front counter if your sweet tooth is acting up.

Cafe Austria Cuenca

Good Fries and a Nice Atmosphere

Drew especially loves their pasta and french fries. Order a serving of fries and you’ll get a full plate – just the way it should be when you are craving fries. If you are a big eater like Bryan or Drew, I recommend adding an order of fries, we always do. They eat their meal and share the plate of fries.

Cafe Austria Cuenca Pasta

Cafe Austria Lunch in Cuenca

Each time we eat at Cafe Austria we hear people chatting away in English, Spanish and a few other languages. It’s a nice atmosphere and they have free wifi. You just need to ask the waiter for the code to connect.

Cafe Austria Cuenca

Cafe Austria Cuenca Ecuador

Cafe Austria Cuenca

Notice that one of the breakfast options is “Gringo“. 🙂 Here are shots of some of the breakfast, lunch and dessert (in that order) options.

Cafe Austria Menu

Cafe Austria Menu

Cafe Austria Menu

There are other options on the menu, I included these shots just to give you an idea of what is available and the prices. I believe they have menus with more English on them and some of the staff speak English as well.

Have you eaten at Cafe Austria? What did you think of it? Please share your thoughts by commenting on this post.

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Meet the Author

Since moving to Ecuador in 2009, Dena and Bryan have made their living as bloggers. Dena is a partner at Storyteller Media, a content marketing company for Canadian travel brands. She is a contributor to Bryan Haines and is co-founder of Click Like This - a photo tutorial blog.

16 comments… add one
  • Melita Vega Oct 10, 2013, 5:08 pm

    While it isn’t necessarily a gringo hang out, Calé de Queso is a great place to grab a cup of coffee, fresh bread, sweets and a light snack. You won’t find a full lunch menu per sé, but you can get a great-tasting quiche for $2 and their capuccinos are excellent. I often meet up there with two other girlfriends, we each order coffee, quiche and dessert (shared) and the total bill is always less than $20 for all three of us. The place is so charmingly decorated and the wait staff are so friendly – not surprising when you consider that the owners are the same folks who manage Hostería Uzhupud, so they really know their stuff when it comes to customer service.

    What does “Calé” mean? It’s the name of an old Ecuadorean coin dating back to 1929, which was basically two and a half sucres (the currency at the time), with which people used to purchase certain quantities of fresh food items like cheese, bread, and sugar, among others, which carried the price tag of one “Calé.” In the case of cheese, one Calé was a triangular piece, so people used to say “Sell me a Calé of Cheese,” hence the name of the coffee shop.

    Check it out at: Baltazara de Calderon 3-76 y Gran Colombia

  • Ingo Sep 30, 2013, 6:03 am

    Actually Cafe Austria is not all that bad 🙂 I was there a couple times, and it is certainly quite expensive if you look at “normal” prices in Cuenca. But it is a nice place to hang out, and most tourists will be able to afford it. It’s cealn, close to the center, good atmosphere, and the food is quite enjoyable. Definitely a place to stop when you are visiting Cuenca.

  • Patricia Emmett Aug 15, 2013, 1:40 pm

    Thank you just found this post on your website! I am getting prepared for my trek to Cuenca in late November and really appreciate these type of posts to help me locate expats and their hangouts! I am so eager to speak to them and hear advice about their lives and adventures there in Ecuador. Would love more info on meeting places and “local watering holes” that expats frequent. I plan on spending at least 2 weeks there after my tour of Ecuador but am clueless on how to “connect” with the expats.

  • Bob Hart Jul 6, 2013, 8:25 am

    Thank you for posting the menu with prices. It was very helpful. It does seem, however, that the prices are not signicantly lower than in the US as claimed by most people trying to get you to move there because of the higher standard of living that can be obtained at a lower cost.

    • Bryan Haines Jul 9, 2013, 6:19 am

      Hi Bob, this restaurant is more expensive than many in the city. As with everywhere, prices vary around Cuenca. You can have a nice traditional lunch for $2.50, a fresh made pizza for $4.50 or a meal at Cafe Austria for $9.00. To get a real feel of the pricing in a city, you’ll have to consider more than one restaurant.

      • Gerry Jul 9, 2013, 9:56 am

        I wonder what can you have for 2.50

        • Bryan Haines Jul 9, 2013, 10:01 am

          You can get “almuerzo” – the lunch special at hundreds of restaurants in Cuenca. It comes with soup, drink, main course and desert. Each restaurant offers just one lunch special each day – might be chicken, beef or mutton. Some almuerzos also offer fish or pasta but cost more. $3.00-$6.00.

          • Ingo Sep 30, 2013, 6:06 am

            Actually, “almuerzo” is the real adventure. It’s usually an open room, no menu, and you just get what they have. Pollo con aroz is a likely dish 🙂 But, in most of the places the stuff is pretty good. Actually, I never had troubles in Ecuador eating stuff except the two times I was in Quito and thought I would play it safe: KFC and McDonald’s 🙂 As long as you are careful with tap water, you will be fine.

  • roger Mantony Jul 5, 2013, 8:58 am

    I have enjoyed eating at cafe Austria on several occassions and each time I try a different dish. The chicken and beef are very good, and the sauces are a nice contrast to Ecuadorian or U.S. spices that I am accustomed too. My wife enjoyed the pasta, and it seemed to be a good value.
    One problem I had was the fact that the main course was so generous that I had no room for dessert.
    It also seemed to be a good place for people watching.
    I guess I was lucky, because arriving in the late afternoon, I have never been there when they were polishing the furniture.
    I hope others can make recommendations on their favorite dessert, as I plan to eat a salad and skip the main course on my next visit.
    Bon Appetite, or Buen Proveco. Any way you say it, enjoy your food.

  • S. Jul 4, 2013, 9:36 am

    No specific time of the day for the smell of oil-based wood polishing product they use at Café Austria. Last time we only went by and stuck our noses in the door… The smell was faint but still there, as if they had used the stuff a few days before. Still, it makes us lose our appetite… so unfortunately we couldn’t stay. Likewise, we went to a new vegetarian restaurant about two weeks ago, called La Quinua, on Benigno Malo, and… same thing. They were actually poilishing their wooden tables and chairs with some aweful gasoline (?) wax product while we were eating lunch. Never again! I am Latin American myself (born and raised in South America)… and would really like to see this crazy and distasteful practice discontinued for health and comfort reasons. As customers, we need to make a statement with our dollars about things like this. Seriously. We need to discourage the use of aluminum, plastic, microwave ovens and other very unhealthy tools and ingredients in eating establishments. Thanks for your great work. I find your website very interesting!

  • peter Jul 4, 2013, 9:16 am

    We have been. We find it a bit on the high side dollar wise. But very nice otherwise. We would go there more often if their prices were a little more reasonable.

  • S. Jul 4, 2013, 9:12 am

    Cáfé Austria is very nice… but we have stopped hanging out there, since the last three times we went they had obviously polished the floors (?) with gasoline or some other oil-based toxic substance, which made it unbearable (in addition to unhealthy). Too bad, as it would be a wonderful place otherwise. We will go back when we hear that they have stopped that practice. Others we know are doing the same.

    • Bryan Haines Jul 4, 2013, 9:14 am

      Thanks for your comment. We have been there many times and never noticed this. Is it at a certain time of day?

  • Gerry Jul 3, 2013, 11:05 pm

    Are the prices in Pesos or us dlls what is the exchange rate

  • Walter Friese Jul 2, 2013, 3:26 pm

    I have had a late afternoon espresso and apple strudel several times. The wifi connection is very nice and the staff is very efficient. When I have been there, the clientele seemed more European than North American. I highly recommend you try it.

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