Restaurant Review: NOE Sushi Bar

NOE Sushi Bar is a chef-owned chain of restaurants that seeks to fuse traditional Japanese cuisine with a decidedly Ecuadorian palate. If we have one gripe with this establishment, it’s that our insistence on eating here every time we are in Quito is single-handedly ruining our ability to further explore the city’s culinary scene… we simply can’t drag ourselves away to eat somewhere else. When my wife and I lived in the United States, we ate sushi (albeit vegetarian rolls) on a near daily basis. In moving to Ecuador, this was one indulgence that we assumed we would need to go entirely without, but, wow, were we ever wrong.

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NOE has 12 locations in Ecuador (7 in Quito, 4 in Guayaquil and 1 in Cuenca) several of which are located inside large malls, some as smaller express sushi bars and others as full fledged sit down restaurants. Though we have not been to all of NOE’s locations (yet), currently our favorite iteration is found on the top floor of the Mall El Jardín in Quito, primarily for its location and its superb views of the city.

Executive Chef Noe Carmona is responsible for creating over 70% of the dishes served at NOE and is the man who we have to thank for bringing artfully crafted, regionally inspired sushi into the mainstream within Ecuador’s larger cities.

NOE serves a very large selection of sushi, sashimi and more. There is something on this menu that is sure to please any palate. The rolls here tend to be more complicated creations than the simpler fare preferred by many Japanese sushi chefs, often incorporating non-traditional ingredients and flavors. My personal favorite is the ATÚN ESPECIAL, a roll of fresh grilled tuna, stuffed with crab, served warm with a delicious house sauce.

The prices here are considerably higher than the average Ecuadorian restaurant (with their non-vegetarian specialty rolls averaging between $10 and $17), however, considering the quality of the food and its beautiful presentation, we find NOE to be well worth the cost.

Wealthy in Ecuador’s Rating: 8/10

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