Wednesdays @ El Rincon del Sabor (An Ecuadorian Gem!)

Every day I have to think about what defines a Midtown Lunch.  There are definitely rules that I have set up for myself, but not all places fit exactly into the guidelines.  I don’t usually eat at fast food chains, but my love of New Orleans gives me a soft spot for Popeyes.  I almost never write about delis, but if there is one that is willing to stuff a burrito with fried plantains, then I’m there.  All my lunches are under $10, but for good ramen, or an all you can eat buffet I’ve been known to go up to $12.

But that is just one end of the spectrum.  The other end is the place that fits every rule.  Weighing the positives and negatives isn’t necessary, because it is the perfect Midtown Lunch spot.  El Rincon del Sabor is one of those places.  Cheap.  Check.  Something different (it’s Ecuadorian food).  Check.  Authentic.  Check.  Homemade.  Check.  Not a chain (owned by real people).  Check.  Hidden (it’s on the fourth floor of a Diamond District building with a paper sign that you wouldn’t notice unless you were looking for it).  Check.  And best of all, it’s got history. 

El Rincon del Sabor has spent the past 12 years dishing out delicious Ecuadorian food on 46th St. btw. 5th & 6th.  A few months ago, they moved to a new location (47th St. btw. 5th & 6th), but the food is still the same.  There is a rotating menu of dishes every single day, and even though there is a printed menu a breakdown of the week, it doesn’t always match exactly.  The best way to find out what’s being served is to give them a call.  I went last Wednesday with 3 co-workers and we sampled four of the 10 or so dishes they had available.

Pics, the phone number and a +/- after the jump…



Tallarin con Pollo (Spaghetti w/ Chicken).  Or as I like to call it, “The Carb Special”.  Spaghetti, rice & lentils.  Awesome!  The chicken was stewed, and really nice.  $7, and I was told it was their most popular item on Wednesdays.



Carne Asada de Res (Grilled Steak).  $8.  If you like latin style skirt steak, it’s a great deal for 8 bucks.



Grilled Chicken.  This item isn’t on the printed menu on any day, so I’m assuming they have it often.  Perfect if you’re looking for something plain and easy, it’s just a lightly spiced piece of grilled chicken (also served with rice, lentils and salad).  $7



The motherload!  Carne Apanada (breaded steak).  The Ecuadorian version of Chicken Fried Steak.  Pretty delicious.  It’s listed as a Tuesday special, but they had it on Wednesday (left over from the day before?  Maybe.  But who cares, it was delicious!).

Also listed on the menu for Wednesday was a really awesome looking Spinach soup, Fried Fish, a shrimp ceviche (which looked really nice), and Stewed Oxtails (always a crowd pleaser!  Each special is between $7 & $8 (soups are $5) and comes with rice, lentils salad, and a house made drink of the day.  On Wednesday it was “Quaker”, a typical drink from the coast of Ecuador made from Quaker Oatmeal (and some kind of fruit).  It tasted light and fruity, with a hint of cinnamon.  Could have been colder, but it was really nice (and the price was right!).  I was told some days they also have Horchata (one of my favorite Latin American drinks made from rice).   

Since the specials change every day, it’s impossible to know exactly what they are going to have, but there are some dishes on other days that look pretty damn good.  Like Stewed Lamb & Oxtail Soup on Mondays, Chaulafan (a rice & meat dish) or Stewed Potatoes w/ Pork Skin on Tuesdays, and Crackling Chicken on Thursdays.  Fridays seem to be the big day with over 15 things on the menu, including Catfish soup, all sorts of seafood dishes, tripe dishes, soups and stews.  Needless to say, I will be back!

THE + (what somebody who likes this place will say)

  • Authentic & cheap Ecuadorian food
  • It’s homemade.  You feel like you are eating food made by somebody’s Mom or Grandma
  • I like stews, soups and grilled meat.
  • I love offal!  (They have oxtails, stewed tongue, various tripe dishes, and cow feet soup)
  • They have a great Aji (Ecuadorian Hot Sauce) to smother everything with


  • This ain’t Cuban food, so if you are looking for rice, beans and plantains, (or a replacement for Margon) you are going to be disappointed.  It’s Ecuadorian food.
  • I’m a vegetarian.  (Not much for you at a place like this…)
  • Some dishes are bland
  • I don’t like lentils!
  • I couldn’t find the damn place (make sure you bring the address!)

El Rincon del Sabor, 74 w. 47th St. (btw. 5+6th), 212-840-0101


  • “Gem”

    Thanks.  I fixed it.  I’m retarded. -Zach

  • Dude, I work around the corner from this place and never knew it existed. Thank you thank you thank you! I’m bummed I brought from home today. I am actually a vegetarian but dang, those lentils look good.

  • Hey – I sent you the tip on this restaurant – and that was just based off the fact that they handed me the menu as I was getting off the subway! I thought it looked good, but who knew it would be the perfect Midtown Lunch spot?

  • I had a hard time finding it because of my dyslexia (I was looking for 47w) but was glad I found it. We had the fried fish and stewed lamb and everyone was satisfied. Will definitely go again, its a good find. Thanks.

  • Yeah this used to be bucherian shish kabab place, if any of you want to try some russian bucherian food cross the street to 41w 47th street 3 floor. now thats a good pace for lunch

  • this place is amazing! it was love at first sight.

  • I’m going come right out and say it: this is the best damn lunch I’ve ever had in midtown, after working here for 8 years. Thank you, Midtown Lunch… thank you.

  • Thanks again for a great lunch suggestion! I love this website.
    I ate here on Monday and the food was awesome!
    The place is a little divish, and quite a haul to walk up 4 flights (LOL). Their English isn’t so great…but that is part of the fun. It is kinda dark, but looks clean and respectable to me. Not quite a date place, but great for midtown lunch! They have seats if you want to eat there, but I don’t think you have to tip- there is no waitress service. So that is good, you can save some money.

    I had the camarones ceviche. It was a tomato and shrimp cold soup with herbs and onions; bowl of rice on the side. It was incredibly delicious.

    There is some awesome hot sauce on every table- very yum.

    I am hoping to get some work on Tuesdays so that I can return and get the breaded steak.

    The food was very reasonably priced- my dish was $7. Most of the menu was $7 actually. The special of the day is $6 and comes with a drink. I didn’t want chicken though.

    This is yet again another place I never knew about. I literally work right across the street from it…I can see it from the front door of my job. But it is so hidden (up four floors in a Diamond District building- with a tiny sign), what a hidden gem! But love the place, and wish I had known about this years ago.

    Thanks Zach!

  • i condsider myslef an avid and dedicated midtown luncher. Iv walked every block on midtown from east to west.. and this is one of the most authentic and outstanding manhattan offers. if this place was on street level, you would never get a seat!

  • Just tried this place for the first time today.

    Very good shrimp ceviche. I was actually shocked at how fresh tasting it was.

    Place looks like such a dump. Did not realize that you don’t get a free drink (horchata today) unless you order the day’s special. I thought all the platters included it. Next time, I guess.

    My buddy had arroz con pollo and was not impressed.

  • Wow, I’m so excited to try this place next time I’m in the area! It looks like it has some AMAZING dishes (Already looking forward to the lentils.), but what about appetizers? Which ones, and are they on rotation??? Specifically, I’m wondering about empanadas de verde, empanadas de morocho, and, of course, llapingachos. Also, I see that they serve traditional *prepared* dishes, but what about other things like chochos, chullpi, babaco?

    If anyone could post a response to this, I’d be very appreciative. :)

  • FYI: Being an Ecuadorian myself, and having been to enough Ecuadorian restaurants in the NY/NJ area, most places do look like dumps, essentially being holes-in-the-walls with no pleasing aesthetic effects.
    However, the effort not placed on appearances is spent on food preparation (in most places). Food is fresh, prepared the morning-of, as most ethnic places are (I would assume).
    Unfortunately, I’m too far away (13 blocks) to be walking to this place..quizas algun dia..
    Can someone p/u a plate of guatita with some quaker? thanks- I’ll be waiting on 34th and 5th.

  • Inflation update – Tried this place for the first time today, and specials were $1 more, and the lentils seem to have been phased out. That said, it was very tasty, and I’m not complaining.

  • Just went there for the first time, no more lentils or drinks and price was higher than expected. Did not inquire about stews (sounded really good in ur article). The chicken I had was very tasty, esp with their homemade spicy sauce. But they did have beans, so it seems like they’re trying to do a lil bit of both cuban n ecuadorian. All in all, price should be a bit less.

  • Nice site you have!

  • Hi, I am from Guayaquil-Ecuador, I had been living in the states for 1 year. By checking this website and people’s comments about this ecuadorian restaurant I got truly happy and proud and mostly excited for visiting this place hopefully soon.
    I got so excited also for reading about Quaker; I have to say this drink is delicious; traditionally was served hot, but eventually some people add some ice on it, which is still good. I also loved the fact that they run their bussiness just like in Ecuador: Fresh food, generous serving and juice included. For a good price.
    I had been living in the States and even though I love the food here like Italian, American, Mexican, Greek I really miss ecuadorian food so this will be a great time for me and my in-law family. Thank you so much for this information pretty nice website.

    Evelyn Dragone

  • About the cuban ecuadorian misunderstanding, ecuadorians we do have lentil and beans with rice most of the time especially for diners, you can check my kitchen right now, is a classical side or main dish for us. Like Arroz con menestra y carne frita (beans on it). Menestra de lenteja y pescado (lentils on it). Big coincidense I have to respect it. I am dying to go there.

  • I love Ecuadorian food and I’m constantly looking for good restaurants with reasonable prices. Being Ecuadorian myself I recently started a home based business delivering Ecuadorian cuisine to your home. If you are interested please feel free to email to and I’ll send you a menu. I have things like Empanadas de verde, Humitas, Hayacas, Bollos, etc.

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    El rincon is just ok. I love Ecuadorian food but trust me, it aint all that great. The guatita was sub-par; the portions were fairly small; guata to rice ratio was fairly small but I will give them props for adding red onion to the top of it.

    I would be impressed with them if they expanded their menu since this place I imagine was originally for the south american community that works in the diamond district (I should know, my dad used to work there in the 60s and 70s and he used to take me to dozen of these places, many were inside the building, some would take up an office inside a company–dont’ know if they exist anymore). I think the reason why places such as rincon are popular with people is due to the fact that its inside a building and has a bit of a raw edge to it. Sorry but if the food can’t stand up to its own I can give a rats booty.

    Want to try be adventerous? Try el Guayaquileno by 37 and 6th and try a encabollado with a quaker on the side. That makes for good eatin!

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