I’m not a huge sandwich fan. There’s nothing special about white bread and plain deli meat to me, so I usually pass by El Espanol on my lunch breaks without a second thought. One day when I was in a rush and needed a quick bite to eat, however, I caved and tried one of their sandwiches.
El Espanol claims to have “tres expresiones de una misma manera de ser,” or three expressions from one way of being. I’m guessing they are referring to their deli, cafeteria, and private catering. They had huge spreads of deli meats and cheese on a platter, which seem ideal for parties or business events. The deli itself is filled with gourmet cheeses (including containers of Philadelphia cheese), proscuitto, blocks of herbed ham, and other gourmet delicacies. Above your head dangle dried meats and herbs. They have franchises all over Quito, with a few in Guayaquil and one in Cuenca.
The deli is set up Subway-style, with a place to order and a counter where another employee assembles your sandwich. I ordered the Mediterranean version, which came with baguette bread, ham, cheese, and sun dried tomato. Little did I know that an entire half of the baguette loaf would be devoted to my triple decker sandwich. No wonder they charge $4! The first layer was the meat and cheese, and she drizzed olive oil and sundried tomatoes on the second layer. She was a little skimpy with the topping- next time I’ll ask for extra.
Overall, I was happy with my sandwich. I think I would go back to El Espanol, but only if I needed a quick meal. When I first saw that sandwiches in El Espanol were $4, I knew I could find somewhere much cheaper. Although $4 is nothing by US standards, I could get a four course meal for that price in Quito, complete with fresh squeezed juice, soup, an entrée, and dessert. In the end, however, I decided that the sandwich was definitely worth the $4 price tag, considering the triple decker sub was too big to fit in my mouth. They also have a pretty extensive coffee menu with gourmet iced drinks and lattes comparable to Starbucks or Juan Valdez. It’s rare to find a frozen moccachino or frozen oreo milkshake in Quito, Ecuador, so I can see why so many people are fans of El Espanol.
I visited El Espanol on Juan Leon Mera and Wilson in La Mariscal. The number is 255-3995, and you can visit their website at www.elespanol.com.ec.