The Finest seafood in town

08/Noviembre/2012 | 15:28


By Maia Olga

TodayInEcaudor@hoy.com.ec




Isabel la Catolica Street has come to be considered one of the hipper, upscale restaurant districts in town in recent years.  So it should be no surprise to find a restaurant whose name embodies the spirit of the neighborhood: Fine.


Sandwiched between the rather conservative Gonzalez Suárez crowd on one end and the artsy more alternative crowd of La Floresta neighborhood on the other, it’s definitely an in place to be.


It is Tuesday just before noon, and as I walk into Fine, I first notice the eclectic mix of colorful paintings on the walls that contrast nicely with elegant black-and-white vanguard décor. I am immediately seated at a table and joined by Andrea Carvajal, general manager of the restaurant, who quickly elucidates its name.  She says “Fine” stands as much for the top-notch quality of the products served as it does for the importance of the dining experience that it seeks to offer.


“We want our customers to feel good in every sense of the word,” says Carvajal. “We want them to leave here feeling healthy, happy, satisfied with the meal they’ve enjoyed, and confident that we’ve provided them with only the best ingredients”.


Fine’s commitment to excellence does not just stop at the restaurant. On a rather interesting side note, I learn that Fine is part of a larger exporting group that distributes top-grade national seafood worldwide to the United States and Europe, as well as to neighboring South American countries. In fact, Fine Restaurant was partly conceived as a venue for these products to be enjoyed on home turf as well, and not only be destined to an international market.


“The seafood we offer is of the most superior quality I’ve ever come across here in Ecuador”, admits the very enthusiastic Luis Chamba, Head Chef at Fine, who has also been a Sushi chef for many years.

 

It becomes clear that Fine's specialty is without a doubt their seafood and their strong passion for it naturally translates in the handling of their product.


Carvajal explains that their fish, for instance, is simply grilled with a mere dash of sea salt so as to enhance the natural flavor and enable customers to truly discover and appreciate its authentic taste. Carvajal says that the more popular tendency often is to elaborate complicated dishes that ‘cover up’ the veritable taste of the fish, considered by many as too strong.  She assures, though, that all their fish dishes are subtle yet rich in flavor, due to their seafood coming only from the deep seas of Ecuador – particularly off the coast of Manta – and served fresh.


As a seafood lover (coupled with the fact that we are nearing lunchtime!), I waste no time inquiring more about their menu. I am given a copy to review, and as Carvajal proudly explains, customers are free to create their own meal choosing from a variety of entrées, specialty plates, salads, soups, and side dishes (including pasta, risotto, purée, grilled vegetables, spinach with mushrooms or salad with fruit). I simultaneously discover that Fine offers much more than just seafood.


Fine has a significant array of options for vegetarians, such as pastas, which are homemade, and meat lovers alike, with options such as their “bife de chorizo” or “lomo fino”. The menu is internationally inspired from beginning to end, offering the likes of ceviche, chicken kioto, risotto, crepes, cheesecake, tiramisu, just to name a few.


On cue, I am brought out their prized Marlin steak with a side of three very different sauces in texture, color, and taste: a white-wine base, a tangerine sauce, and passion-fruit.  The last is an exquisite match for the perfectly grilled medium rare cut on my plate.  In agreement, the chef adds that the delicately grilled crust of the fish when combined with the acidic flavors of the sauce result in a perfect culinary match.


Carvajal emphasizes that their concern at Fine lies in maintaining very high quality base ingredients rather than restricting the offer to any one cuisine in particular. The result is a very free menu, attractive to a broad public whether it’s for lunch or dinner or just a stop in for appetizers.


And for those of us who cannot conceive of a great meal without great wine, rest assured, the list of wines is extensive, with whites and rosés that marry to the seafood with perfection. Red wines are also part of their extensive cellar.


Fine is located at Isabel la Catolica N24-561 and Luis Cordero, They are open from 12:00-10:00pm, Monday through Friday and 12:00-4:00pm on weekends.  Meals average $18-25 including taxes and service.  For more information or reservations call 222-1460.


 


The FINEST seafood in town


Grilled Red Tuna, 180gr, medium rare, $18.75

Grilled Seabass, 180gr, well cooked $18.50

Grilled Escolar (Miramelindo), 180gr, medium well, $18.75

Grilled "Mahi Mahi" (Dorado), 170gr, medium well, 18.75

Grilled Marlin, 180gr, medium well, $18.75 

Grilled Swordfish, 180gr, well cooked, $18.75

Grilled Salmón, 180gr, medium rare, $19

Stuffed Seabass ,200gr, with kiwi sauce, $19


FINE grilled Platter

Red tuna with sesame crust and Fines' traditional "ponzu" (citrus-based sauce), Mahi Mahi stuffed with prawns and passion fruit, and Escolar (Miramelindo) with chutney, onion and tomato.


 


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