When I started compiling this list of restaurants, I was amazed at how many different places there are. We often complain that there is no where to eat in Tena. But I guess we were wrong.
The categories below are very basic. Some of the lunch places are open for dinner, some of the ice cream places serve food, etc.
Tortuga is open all day M-Sat and until noon on Sunday. I put it
specifically in the breakfast category, because they have the best
breakfast options in town. Not only the typical Ecuadorian breakfast,
but pancakes, muesli and real coffee!
Other than breakfast, Cafe Tortuga is great for a quick snack (try their chocolate cake!) or a cup of coffee.
Find it! Cafe Tortuga is right along the east side of the river on Calle Orellana less than a block from the walking bridge.
Pollo Sin Rival
Pollo Sin Rival lives up to its name. It has the best chicken in Tena. It is only open for lunch and serves a basic roast chicken with rice, yuca and plantain meal.
It's a great option for take out. They will bundle up the whole meal and you can take it home, dissect it and make it into an even more fabulous meal.
Find it! Pollo Sin Rival is just a "hole in the wall" on the main street of Tena (15 de noviembre), just a block south of the terminal. Blink and you'll miss it! If you start walking south from TIA it's across the street half a block down.
This lunch spot is hit or miss. Some days the lunch is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Other days it's so-so. Typical Ecuadorian food.
Find it! When walking south from the walking bridge on the main road (15 de noviembre) look for the Nice Cream ice cream shop. Walk to the next corner and turn left. Lucy's is two shops down.
If you're looking for a quick lunch near the terminal, Safari is a typical Ecuadorian lunch place that I haven't been sick at. You call also get a plate of Arroz con Pollo if you don't like the sound of the set lunch menu.
Find it! A block north of the terminal (on the main road) on the corner.
best pizza in Tena. And they deliver. Just make sure to include your
address-sometimes they forget to ask. Beside pizza they also have a
variety of dishes, from seafood to lasagna to arroz con pollo.
There are three different Pizzarias Bella Selva all owned by the same family.
Find it! The main restaurant shown above is right on the river a block from Cafe Tortuga. Two blocks from the walking bridge on Orellana. Right in front of the entrance to the new bridge.
Crossing to the west side of the river turn right. A block up on your right is another location.
Location #3 is on the main road two blocks south of the walking bridge. Next to Novedades Mony.
This has quickly become one of our favorite places in Tena. With great ambiance and good food it's a great place to relax or surf the net on their WiFi. They have pizza, sandwiches, fajitas and cocktails. What more could you ask for?!
Find it! From the car bridge go straight to CNT. Continue walking away from the bridge one block more. You will see Guayusa on the left.
Hut Cheese Pizza
It's not Pizza Hut, but they try. The pizzas are good. Prices are decent. The restaurant is large enough for big groups.
Find It! A block toward the bridge from the gas station in the center of town.
This pizza is ok. The price is a bit high.
Find It! On the curve in front of the car bridge.
I wouldn't recommend any street food unless I was completely sure it was safe. Pizza Rizza is right outside of TIA most evenings - look for the yellow cart and big umbrella. The food is very safe. And a slice of pizza and a cup of soda is only $1.
Find it! Right outside the front door of TIA across from the terminal.
Iguana is our FAVORITE restaurant. The food isn't what makes it. It's the ambiance. You can sit outside or in. It's right in front of a park where the kids can burn of some extra energy before dinner. A soccer game is inevitably on the big screen. And the food is pretty good too. The BBQ Wings and the Everything Burgers are popular. Iguana is only open after 7 pm, M-Sat.
Find it! Found in the Barrio Bella Vista Baja. When standing on the east end of the walking bridge cross the main street to the steet directly in front of you (9 de octubre) and follow that road straight back until you hit Iguana.
Papas a lo Bruto
Another good place for a burger and fries. Nothing special, but clean. The chicken sandwich is good.
Find it! A block south of the bridge on the main road. Look for Shrek's tongue.
aren't very many ethnic options in Tena. There are two Chinese
restaurants that I haven't included in my list. I don't like either restaurant.
Parrilladas del Manaba
Not really ethnic. Ecuadorian barbeque is what I'd call it. But it sure is good. And the prices are good as well.
Find it! Near the first large roundabout as you come into Tena from Quito. In front of the Colegio Nacional. Look for the tiki torches.
They also have a restaurant by the same name in town near the gas station where the main road forks into two. Look for outdoor seating and an enormous grill.
This chain restaurant serve fried chicken and fries. If you like fried food you will probably like MatDan.
Find it! Two locations. One is directly in front of TIA by the terminal. The other by the Jumandy round about, in front of the Colegio Nacional.
Tena can be hot. And ice cream can be a life saver!
Gelato has finally returned to Tena! (There used to be an amazing gelato place years ago that is no longer here.) The new gelato place makes some good gelato...the chocolate is amazing! They also serve other snacks like empanadas and coffee. I haven't had breakfast here yet, but it is offered.
Find it! On the main street (15 de noviembre) near the big Y in the road. Just before you get to the gas station (when walking south).
A great place for batidos or a tall glass of orange juice. They have ice cream and a selection of cakes. Try their chicken empanadas when they are available. You can also get breakfast and good coffee. Open at 10 am.
Find it! South on the main road beyond TIA and the terminal. On the block after TIA on the far corner.
This little coffee house almost reminded me of sitting in a cool coffee place in Quito (maybe it was because it was a cold and rainy day). The coffee was great and they have a variety of cakes and sandwiches.
Find It! Beyond the hospital as you head toward Puerto Napo/Puyo on the main road. Look for large brown sign and planted shrubs.
This ice cream shop is best for juice and shakes. Their ice cream isn't great and the cream toppings taste like soap. But the batidos are great! They also run the Batido shop right off the west side of the foot bridge.
Find it! On the main road on the block just south of the walking bridge. On the corner right under the Hotel Lorens.
National chain serving soft serve ice cream with a variety of toppings. Very popular. Try the Frozen Mochaccino.
Find it! Two blocks from the walking bridge on the main road.
Be careful when eating seafood in Tena. It's distance from the ocean makes it possible that deliveries of seafood aren't as fresh as one would desire. I do eat seafood in Tena at these restaurants.
Ecuadorians say that eating seafood after dark will make you sick. So seafood restaurants are only open in the afternoon.
This restaurant is in San Jorge at the edge of town. But it's one of the best seafood places in Tena. The prices are on the high side, but these people know how to make some good seafood.
Find it! Take a taxi to San Jorge. $1. It's right on the main drag. Open only for lunch.
Marisqueria Do Memin
A great place for seafood . Good price. Yummy ceviche.
Find it! As you come off the car bridge going east turn left at first street. Restaurant is on the corner. Look for tables with umbrellas. Open only for lunch.
There are a couple of fancier restaurants
in Tena. Doesn't mean you need to dress up, but you will find a few
more menu items that you might not find elsewhere and double digit
One of the oldest restaurants in Tena, Chuquitos has recently been remodeled. The river view is the probably the best in Tena.
Find it! On the west side of the walking bridge take an immediate right. The entrance to Chuquitos is two or three doors down.
The Marquis does it's best to have a fancy atmosphere, but we are still in the jungle after all. The food is good and some of the menu items are unique finds in Tena.
Many of my friends like to go here for special occasions like anniversaries.
Find it! On the west side of the river two block from the walking bridge. Across the street from the Jose Pelaez Elementary School.
"What about Cositas Ricas?" I've raved about Cositas Ricas on Facebook. But this constant feature of Tena for decades closed down a while back. I guess now I'll only be able to dream about their amazing garlic shrimp. :(
I would love to hear about your favorite restaurant in Tena whether it be one of the places I've listed or someplace else. Use the Comment Box below to tell us about your experience.