Mark and I have been anticipating the opening of Hansel and Gretel Panaderia/Pasteleria at the corner of Luis Moreno Mora and Roberto Crespo Toral in the Plaza Europea complex for quite some time. When I walked over to Plaza Europea to check on its progress, I happened on the restaurant next door which is Goza (numero dos), which was quite a surprise!
Everyone (it seems) is familiar with the Goza in El Centro (on Calle Larga), where you can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner al fresco. It seems to be pretty much of an expat meeting place. The new Goza is a little different in that no alcohol is served and the open seating outside is free of bus pollution (as it's not on a bus route).
The layout is spacious with plenty of outdoor seating and indoors you'll be spared the ten percent service charge because you order at the counter. The decor is fresh and modern with a lot of green space. Their sandwiches have a new twist in that you can order half of a sandwich of one variety and half of another variety (they range from $5-$7) and the drinks are basically the same as Goza #1, but without the alcohol. The atmosphere is totally different than the Goza on Calle Larga and is quiet with a nice mixture of Cuencanos and gringos.
The first time I happened on the new Goza, I ordered a chocolate chip cookie and cappuccino, which was a nice afternoon treat. Today we went for lunch and split a chicken sandwich on brown bread with avocado, hard boiled eggs, sun-dried tomatoes, eggplant and served with an organic green salad. I had fruit tea with an apple crumb cake (delicious!).
Right next door is the new Hansel and Gretel (at Plaza Europea), which will be opening later this month. Unlike Goza, Hansel and Gretel is a chain of panaderias/pastelerias and bistros to go, which will create some healthy competition for Goza. If you've ever visited Hansel and Gretel in Quito (in many of the shopping malls), you'll know what I mean. It will be the closest thing we'll have to Sweet and Coffee in Cuenca. Unfortunately, Sweet and Coffee doesn't work in cities less than one million people.
So what does all this mean?! I'm not exactly sure, but I have hope that one day a Sweet and Coffee will make its way to Cuenca because it's absolutely our favorite coffee place and we enjoy going to Quito and Guayaquil to get our Sweet and Coffee fix. They even have one in the Guayaquil Bus Station and it's one of the first places we head to as soon as we get off the bus. And I guess you could say that it's the closet thing to Starbucks that we have in Ecuador, but I certainly don't see them coming to Cuenca anytime soon.
I'll leave you with some photos of Goza (numero dos).
Until next time...hasta luego,