People do not travel to the mythical paradise that is the Galápagos Islands to eat the best food. The unique fauna and flora found on the different islands is something everyone should discover at least once in a lifetime and for everyone who can not live without fine dining even in a remote island paradise such as the Galápagos, yatchs and one five star hotel are available – the Royal Palm Hotel.
Royal Palm Hotel is a member of the Leading Hotels of the World and is not to be mixed up with the famous Royal Palm Hotel at Mauritius – the two hotels with the same name have different owners and can not be more different in style.
The hotel and its restaurant are located in the highlands of the most populated island of the Galápagos Islands – Santa Cruz. The whole lodge sits on 200 hectares (494 acres) and is the only five star hotel in the Galápagos National Park. You are probably not at the hotel just for dinner, so plenty of time to get acquainted with the Ecuadorian and especially the Galápagueño cuisine.
You will discover that a lot of the cuisine is similar to the coast food from the mainland of Ecuador and not surprisingly from other parts of South America as well, like the ceviche with seafood marinated in lemon and onions, but also more rare dishes like the fish soup encebollado. Of course a lot of the food served is coming from the rich sea that surrounds everything at the Galápagos and a must try is the traditional sea cucumber that has been feasted on as long as there have been humans on the islands.
Ecuadorian Executive Chef Enrique Sempere M. with training from the amazing restaurant Arzak in Basque Country among others, certainly not has an easy job being the chef on a remote hotel in a strictly protected environment with lots of logistical difficulties to face every day. The hotel has employed local people and that is a great initiative, but there are problems with understanding English so it helps a lot if you speak Spanish. Enrique Sempere M. is responsible for everything concerning food at the Royal Palm Hotel so he is busy indeed with everything from training for the staff, to come up with the next menu.
The restaurant should have more staff employed since there are misses here and there that easily could be avoided with more manpower. And the problems are not just the location and short on staff, the whole kitchen should be renovated or changed into a new one. It has been around now for more than ten years and its condition is far from prime and what to expect from a fine dining kitchen.
The ambitious young chef Enrique Sempere M. faces a lot of challenges every day that most chefs never have to worry about and that is a bit sad since there is obvious skill and talent within the busy chef. His garlic and parsley marinated shrimps with citric aromatized creamy mashed potatoes served with a beetroot vinaigrette are delicious and the Galápagos cod with citric crust, creamy mashed potatoes, red bell pepper and citron infused oil has all the right flavours and these are just two examples that you will enjoy.
No, you do not arrive to the Galápagos Islands to go to the best restaurants, but the Royal Palm Hotel is the closest you will come to proper fine dining and many of its offerings will make you satisfied, indeed.
Written by Andy