Galapagos Culinary School: A Hidden Gem

Galapagos Culture, Galapagos Dining, Santa Cruz Island

One night as I was walking around Puerto Ayora I noticed a man with an enormous smile holding menus.  He seemed very young, and very enthusiastic. Behind him, diners were seated in an open-air patio along the sidewalk. A large glass window into the building revealed a flurry of activity, white uniforms, and stainless steel.  I stopped and read the chalkboard sign which said “Escuela de Gastronomía.”

I had come across the Galapagos Culinary School!

Students prepare the dishes

What is the Galapagos Culinary School?

The Galapagos Culinary School is a training institute where students take culinary classes several times a week, preparing to become the next top chefs in the Galapagos. It’s also a gourmet restaurant. The menu is prix fixe.

The students get hands-on experience and earn funds for new equipment by serving dinner several times a week.

To keep challenging the students, the menu changes weekly. They usually feature locally-caught seafood as well as more imaginative dishes like quinoa-mango salad. Unlike most restaurants in the Galápagos, they practice formal table service, with uniformed attendants, table linens, and candlelight. It’s really quite charming.

So, by now you’re all wondering, what did I eat? 

I started with a refreshing salad in a base of quinoa sweetened with chunks of mango. As my main course I chose the grilled locally-caught fish, atop a puree of purple sweet potato accented with a spicy salsa. I washed it down with a fruity strawberry caipairinha. Are you drooling yet?

Fish and a caiparinha

If you’re headed to the Galápagos, make sure to stop by and try this unique restaurant, and support its students as they prepare for their careers. Opening hours and phone below.

Galapagos Escuela de Gastronomia (tel. 05/2526-112, Avenida Baltra, 7pm-11pm Thurs.-Sun., prix fixe menu $20-22)

Meet the Author

Lisa Cho is an expat living in Ecuador, originally from San Francisco, California. She writes about the Galapagos Islands on this site and about her mainland Ecuador adventures on

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