The Galapagos

Anna Gotskind

Most people travel to the Galapagos Islands for the adventure, the animals, and the atmosphere. The Islands are known for being the place where Charles Darwin developed his theory of evolution and are home to countless endemic species. In fact, 97% of the island is dedicated to preserving wildlife from sea lions to hundred-year-old giant tortoises. However, because of its location in the Pacific Ocean, it also has some of the freshest seafood.

So, I set out with my family to find the best of what it has to offer. The results were pretty delicious.

Andrea Valerio

Valerio Repetto, a restaurant owner, naturalist and Galapagos tour advisor visits the fish market several times a day. His recently opened restaurant, Andrea Valerio, is conveniently located right on the waterfront and just across the street from the market. This guarantees that his seafood is always fresh; in fact, he doesn’t even own a freezer.

I had the opportunity to meet the charismatic restaurateur while vacationing in the Galapagos with my family. We had ventured into the main town of Santa Cruz island looking for somewhere to have dinner. As we were checking out the menu at Andrea Valerio, we were greeting by Valerio himself who told us all about the family-owned restaurant and his life growing up on the beautiful islands.

Pictured below is Valerio with his wife, Andrea, and two of their children.

After telling us about the daily fish market Valerio asked us if there was any specific seafood we were looking to find. He told us that if we simply let him know, the next day he could pick it up fresh from the market and prepare it how we liked. We decided on lobster. He told us to come by the next day around 5:30 so we could sit on the restaurant upper deck and watch the sunset over the water during our meal.

The Lobster

Anna Gotskind

The next day, after exploring the islands, we returned and were not disappointed. Valerio took us to the upper deck where there were shades of orange, red and yellow glistened over the ocean. He informed us that he had picked up a giant lobster from the market and would prepare it by slicing it in half and grilling it. One half was finished with garlic sauce and the other coconut. We were really fortunate to have met Valerio when we did because lobster season ends January 1st in the Galapagos, and it was December 30th.

Valerio then invited us back to the kitchen to see the live lobster that had been bought minutes before. It was massive; hands down the biggest lobster I’ve ever seen. He then taught me how to hold it, grabbing from the bottom of the antennas and sliding up to avoid being pricked. Valerio also showed me their special hot sauce which marinates for several hours in order to develop its flavors.

Anna Gotskind

A little later our food was ready. Valerio brought out two massive plates of lobster along with sides of green plantains and rice. The whole restaurant turned to watch as it was brought to our table. The lobster was cooked beautifully. 

Anna Gotskind

Quickly, my whole family dug in, picking out pieces and dipping them in the sauces. It was incredible, we had never had such amazing seafood. After a tiring day of swimming and snorkeling in the ocean, this was amazing.

Anna Gotskind

So, if you ever get the chance to visit the Galapagos make sure to check out Andrea Valerio. In the meantime, you can follow their Instagram @galapagostouradvisor for great pictures of food and the islands.