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Fine Dining at its Finest

By Rolanda Stinson-Smiley

Finisterre Restaurante is a picturesque restaurant serving Ecuadorian, Spanish, Mediterranean, and international dishes since 2012. Owned and managed by Betty Palacios, Finisterre is located on Calle 27 at the corner of Avenida 35, just off the beaten path in the Umiña neighborhood. Their motto is “giving the people of Manta the best food they have ever tasted.” And they definitely live up to that tagline. I have never been disappointed when choosing Finisterre for a Friday night dinner. I truly believe this is a fine dining establishment that surpasses some of the nicest restaurants I’ve been to in my travels. Finisterre offers both indoor and outdoor seating and is open daily from 12pm - 4pm for lunch and again from 6pm - 12am for dinner.

Finisterre is elegantly decorated with low intimate lighting that lets you know you’re in for an evening of sophistication. The tables are adorned with fresh flowers, linen tablecloths, and fancy place settings. There is artwork suspended on the walls and light instrumental music playing in the background. It definitely gives you the feeling of elegance. The waitstaff are formally dressed in bow ties and white shirts and standby ready to help. Upon getting to your table, they set the tone by placing linen napkins in your lap and bringing a complimentary cocktail. They also bring complimentary bread with a delicious garlic cheese spread. The menu is vast and you can find almost anything for your appetite. There’s chicken, steak, pastas, crepes, rice, and seafood. There’s also quite a few options for cocktails and dessert. The prices are mid to high range for Manta. Some entrees are as low as $9 and of course there are some high-end items that can cost closer to $25 for an entree.

I have visited Finisterre a few times because the service and the food is fantastic. After trying much of the menu I would recommend almost anything they offer. Of course, being in Manta, the seafood was the first thing I tried. The appetizer menu is filled with shrimp and calamari dishes. They also have a scallop dish and I have not seen many restaurants in Manta serve scallops. My favorite seafood dish is the corvina al ajillo, which is white fish in a garlic herb sauce. The cooking of the fish was pure perfection as it flaked away so easily. The garlic sauce was super rich and flavorful but did not overpower the fish. Each entree comes with either french fries, mashed potatoes, baked potato, or mushroom risotto. Honestly, the mashed potatoes are so good I can not bring myself to order any other side. They are very smooth and buttery with hints of herbs throughout. Probably not good for your waistline but with a meal this good, who is worrying about their waistline.

For those who like sashimi style dishes, the appetizer menu offers some raw seafood dishes. Grilled octopus is also a favorite. I hear TV chefs say all the time that octopus is extremely hard to get perfect without ruining the texture. I was pleasantly surprised when it came to the table and the octopus was tender. It was grilled perfectly and so tender that it could be sliced through with a butter knife. It was accompanied with a garlic sauce that did not overwhelm the delicious char on the octopus.

Of the chicken dishes on the menu, the cordon bleu was my favorite. It is a typical cordon bleu chicken breast stuffed with ham and cheese and breaded on the outside. But what made this dish special was once again the seasoning and the sauce. The sauce even had roasted nuts in it that added so much flavor. And you can’t have a fine dining restaurant without the steak. Finisterre has a nice selection of steak cuts, t-bone, lomo fino (sirloin), and filet mignon. Each is delicious in its own way. The “Lomo en Salsa de 4 Quesos” needs to be mentioned as one of my favorites. I really think the Finisterre chefs should be labeled as the kings of sauce. Every dish I tried came with an amazing sauce that I wanted to bottle and take home with me. I watch a lot of cooking shows and they always say the sauce makes the dish. I think Finisterre goes above and beyond that single rule.

The desert menu should not go without mention. I’ve had tiramisu, cheesecake, and lemon pie. All were delicious and beautifully presented. I have to end by strongly encouraging everyone in Manta to visit Finisterre Restaurante. It is such an enchanting place with unbelievable service and food. The staff truly care about your experience and do their best to make everything exceptional. Finisterre is fine dining at its finest.


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