Noe Sushi Bar: Japan’s Mark on Ecuador
If you are a sushi lover and are looking for delicious fine dining, Noe Sushi Bar is your best option in Guayaquil. With tons of great Ecuadorian-caught sushi, sashimi, traditional and special rolls, and steaks and chicken with an Asian flair, Noe is every bit as good as sushi restaurants you will find in big cities like New York, Berlin or even in the sushi capital itself: Tokyo.
Wanting to commemorate a friend’s birthday and in order for him to try something new, my two best friends and I decided to introduce him to one of the finest sushi restaurants in Guayaquil: Noe Sushi Bar. Noe is actually a chain of sushi restaurants, with four locations in Guayaquil and six in Quito.
To honor the birthday boy, we picked the location at the Mall del Sol. The restaurant is cozy and nicely appointed, with cool colors and a stylish, modern decor. Surprisingly Noe is situated on the third floor (away from the food court) in its own enclosed space where you have a nice panorama view of some of the more prestigious hotels in Guayaquil like the Sheraton and Howard Johnson.
After being seated at our table, we were quickly greeted by a friendly waiter who welcomed us and gave us the menu, which turned out to be more like a magazine. The endless pages of menu items included chef’s suggestions, combination specials, traditional and special rolls, soups, cocktails, desserts and much more. Those who do not find raw fish appealing will be happy to know that Noe offers a wide selection of steaks, seafood and chicken plates, all with an Asian flair.
With such a dizzying selection to choose from, we were a bit bewildered about what to order. But our waiter, always attentive and with a big smile, saved the day by recommending the Bonsai Kaiko platter, with which we all immediately fell in love. The Bonsai Kaiko is a wonderful combination of 32 rolls, consisting of sashimi, Boston and California rolls, tuna, swordfish, special anguilla, cones octopus, whitefish, crab and — my favorite of all — salmon. This enormous platter runs $52 with all taxes included. While that might seem a bit expensive by Ecuadorian standards, the quality of food is so good you probably won’t mind.
Immediately after ordering, the waiter brought each of us Oshibori, or hot towels. My friend gave me a question mark face but the waiter politely explained that this was a Japanese custom before serving food. I must admit that fragrant smell of the towels made my nose pretty happy.
Before the real action started our table was quickly set up with a nice array of soy and honey sauces, and we were soon served the appetizer of the day, a roll called Ikura, which is salmon caviar made for each person. We all enjoyed this delicacy and certainly wanted more.
If you are a novice in the sushi world and expect to eat like the masters in the field, my humble advice is not to ask for a fork. Instead use the small connectors that clip onto the chopsticks, known in Noe as the “HELPER” (make sure to say it in English). I guarantee that no one will notice and you’ll be surprised how easy chopsticks are to use.
The servers were very fast with everything except with the main dish so we were starving. To celebrate both the defeat of Ecuador (ironically) and my very dear friend, I decided to order one of my favorites drinks: a Strawberry Martini. At $12 each, it certainly is an expensive drink; however, it works so well with the sushi that I highly recommend having one.
After nearly a half-hour wait, our Bonsai Kaiko arrived. The platter was so perfectly decorated it practically screamed: EAT ME! It was apparent that Noe’s chefs use only very finest and freshest ingredients; later I learned from the general manager that Noe uses only seafood caught in Ecuadorian waters. Eating sushi so fresh that it may have been caught that morning is a wonderful experience and makes every mouthful taste like heaven. Watch out, beginners: sushi can be pretty addictive!
One last note: while all sushi lovers adore the taste, not all like the aftertaste. But Noe has got you covered. After your meal simply excuse yourself to the restroom and use the mouth rinse supplied by the restaurant. Unique but thoughtful details such as this is what sets Noe apart from your typical sushi bar.
If you are a sushi lover and are looking for delicious fine dining, Noe Sushi Bar is your best option in Guayaquil. I highly recommend it for business travellers, families with teenagers, a girl’s (or boy’s) night out, and for couples. In my opinion Noe is every bit as good as sushi restaurants you will find in big cities like New York, Berlin or even in the sushi capital itself: Tokyo.