The Cuenca almuerzo, or lunch, is the big meal of the day here and has been for generations. It’s generally observed between 1 P.M. and 3 P.M.
In the past businesses would close down for two hours every day to have a leisurely almuerzo with their family. This has been rapidly changing and this city no longer rolls up the sidewalk every afternoon for two hours. It just doesn’t happen.
There are probably more than a thousand small restaurants here that serve almuerzo scattered all over the city. Most are very small family run restaurants.
I have the Cuenca almuerzo six days a week at a very small family run restaurant. It consists of soup with a small side dish of corn or occasionally popcorn and a glass of fruit juice. After that they bring a plate that will have some sort of meat, rice, and vegetables. This is a family run business and everyone pitches in including the children who are out of school now on “summer break”. The food is excellent and it’s $2.00.
When I find a business that offers great quality and great service and at a fair price they will for sure get my repeat business. $2.00 isn’t much but at six days a week it adds up over time and they know this of course.
Almuerzo is different every day and I’ve never had the same thing twice, it’s just whatever they happen to be serving each day.
The going rate for the Cuenca almuerzo is $2.00 at probably 95% of the restaurants in this city, although some places offer it for $1.50.
If you’re visiting Cuenca and you see almuerzo advertised for more than $2.00 then you are probably close to Calderon in the historical district. That’s ground zero for tourist activity. Even in the historical district most almuerzo’s are $2.00 but the closer you are to Calderon the less likely you are to find them.