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Wheelchair Accessible, Full Bar, Free Wifi, Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Accepts Discover, Television, Table Service
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Reviewed February 11, 2020

First time at Joes the other night. The meal was wonderful. Joes is a very nice atmosphere. Casual, and intimate. A nice place for a special evening. Food is great!

Date of visit: February 2020
Reviewed September 29, 2019

Adter avoiding Joe's for a couple of years due to food inconsistencies, we have been back now twice in 2 weeks and can honestly say the dishes have really improved. The chef offered filet mighnon (tender & delish) served with twice baked potatoes, vegetables au...gratin, served after a salad of orange & beet slices on wild greens. Dessert was bread pudding. All were delicious. Last week it was Chicken Marbella and we loved that too. We will be back.More

Date of visit: September 2019
Ken V, Owner at Joes' Secret Garden, responded to this reviewResponded October 21, 2019

thanks for your kind comments and wonderful review. We appreciate you giving us another try. Happy you enjoyed the meal and your evening and we look forward to your return.

Reviewed January 30, 2019

After 7 days in Ecuador, we were walking in Cuenca's Parque Calderon trying to decide where we would go for dinner the next two nights. We had enjoyed Ecuadorian food, but were ready for a change of pace. We probably appeared to be lost, and...a gentleman asked if he could help. We weren't lost, but stopped to chat with Ken. In the course of the conversation we learned that he was an expat from the San Francisco, California area where he had managed several restaurants. He now lived in Cuenca, and had purchased a Joe's Secret Garden some years prior our conversation. Joe's Secret Garden is an unusual operation - open only on Saturday evenings, it caters to the expat community as well as visitors to Ecuador. The menu apparently rotates from week to week, featuring a variety of dishes, but is fixed-menu for that particular evening. The food is plentiful and tasty. We made a reservation for the evening after our fortuitous meeting with Ken. The evening began with a social hour and a half with a pay-as-you-go bar and plenty of delicious onion rings served as you chatted with the fellow guests in the mansion and it's gardens. Then dinner was served at large communal tables scattered throughout the mansion's rooms. What a treat it was, especially after a week away from home, to be served a meal of BBQ ribs, pulled pork, sausage, potatoes and coleslaw, accompanied by delicious dessert and pleasant conversation. It felt a bit like we were in fancy Texas BBQ restaurant with a large group of newly-found friends. The meal was superb, and the hosts, Ken and KP, were more than welcoming. It was also very interesting to meet the other guests, and hear their stories of where they had been, what they had done in the past, and how they found themselves in Cuenca. All-in-all a very pleasant evening with excellent food and service. When we return to Cuenca, we will most certainly return to Joe's Secret Garden.More

Date of visit: January 2019
Ken V, Owner at Joes' Secret Garden, responded to this reviewResponded February 12, 2019

Hi Mike ... Happy to see you had a safe return to the states .... sorry we are a bit late in responding to your wonderful review... we just got back from a 2 week holiday and cruise in the Caribbeans' ... a great holiday...More

Reviewed January 15, 2019

We've been there two Saturdays in a row; once for their fabulous fried chicken (best in Cuenca) and for an Italian pasta meal that was excellent. Check out their weekly menu.

Date of visit: January 2019
Ken V, Owner at Joes' Secret Garden, responded to this reviewResponded January 23, 2019

what a privilege to have you as a guest two weeks in a row and to know that you enjoyed both evenings. Thank you so much for your review and comments ... and we hope you come see us again.

Reviewed December 26, 2018

A unique restaurant in that they serve Saturday dinner at 4 pm. Arrive early for drinks and socializing. Set menu, all you can eat. Food and service were great.More

Date of visit: December 2018
Ken V, Owner at Joes' Secret Garden, responded to this reviewResponded January 13, 2019

Thanks for your comments .... and very happy you had a great experience. Our usual Saturday hours begin at 5pm with social hour, mixing and mingling and making new friends ... which is truly the uniqueness of Joes' ... we do live upstairs and downstairs...More

Reviewed October 2, 2018

Took a new friend to Joe’s this past Saturday night. Didn’t know what to expect as I had never had his country fried steak before, but as usual, it did not disappoint me!!! Certainly you wouldn’t want to make a habit of eating country fried...steak, mashed potatoes with country peppered gravy and fried cabbage on to banana bread pudding...omg, I want some right now!!! Honestly, nice owners and always wonderful food! I can vouch for the fried chicken too. Born and bred a country girl, so I know. 😉More

Date of visit: September 2018
Ken V, Owner at Joes' Secret Garden, responded to this reviewResponded January 13, 2019

Wow! thanks for the wonderful review... very happy you and your friend enjoyed the food and service ... and the aways popular fried chicken dinner ... We look forward to your return and another good experience.

Reviewed April 28, 2018 via mobile

Joe’s Secret Garden is a private home with a beautiful garden in the back yard. They serve dinner for up to 100 people and they’re known for their Southern fried chicken which they serve monthly. Except for special holidays, they usually only serve dinners on...Saturday evenings and it’s a warm and gracious place for new people to meet fellow expats, although their clientele isn’t exclusively geared to expats. Ken and KP, the current owners, prepared Osso Buco for the main course tonight along with a sweet and sour beet, avocado and red onion salad, fresh bread still warm from the oven, mashed potatoes with gravy and a key lime pie for dessert. The Osso Buco was perfectly prepared and everyone at our table commented on the overall quality of the meal. The meat was fall off the bone tender and the gravy was very well seasoned. It was a a delicious meal. I go to Joe’s Secret Garden regularly. It’s not often that I miss a week. The food is consistently good and the atmosphere is warm and congenial. I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Cuenca or anyone living here that hasn’t tried Joe’s before.More

Date of visit: April 2018
Ken V, Owner at Joes' Secret Garden, responded to this reviewResponded May 15, 2018

Thanks for the kind comments Rob .... truly appeciated. We are fortunate to have wonderful, loyal guests like you that are integral to the family and success of Joes' Secret Garden. KP and I promise to strive to improve each week and continue to earn...More

Reviewed April 28, 2018

Great meal. Big pieces of tender meat in a delicious gravy. Warm bread, and a tasty beet salad. Ken made my wife and I a special dairy free desert we had requested when we made our reservations. The place to dine on Saturday night if...you want a taste of home, and meet new expats.More

Date of visit: April 2018
Ken V, Owner at Joes' Secret Garden, responded to this reviewResponded May 15, 2018

Thanks for the great review .... you truly captured the spirit of Joes' Secret Garden when you suggest that expats' will find a 'taste of home' here, with comforting, home like surroundings and an opportunity to make new friends, exchange information about Cuenca, Ecuador and,...More

Reviewed April 23, 2018

Surprised birthday dinner arranged by my wife on March 3rd 2018.Great evening with friends.Surprise Happy birthday song by the singing sensation Lyn Nadeu and friends. Menu was Joe's Famous Fried chicken with all the trimmings! BYOB with a cork fee. They won the awards for...Best Fried Chicken 2017 and 2018!More

Date of visit: March 2018
Ken V, Owner at Joes' Secret Garden, responded to this reviewResponded April 26, 2018

Thanks for your kind comments... happy you had a good birthday celebration. It's always a pleasure to serve you and your wife.

Reviewed April 22, 2018

We were in a party of eight for dinner. There was a mixer from 5:00 until 6:30 when dinner was served. Unfortunately, it was raining so the outdoor garden area was not available. The first course for dinner was a bowl of chili which proved...to be too spicy for several members of our party. This was followed by a fixed menu dinner served family style. It consisted of chicken-fried steak, mashed potatoes and cooked cabbage. The steak had been pounded into a cutlet, breaded and deep fried. It was quite dry and tough. Although the menu was fixed, two members of our party had special orders. The vegetarian was served an eggplant dish. The gluten-intolerant person was served a half of a chicken. Unfortunately, the kitchen does not seem to understand gluten-free cuisine because chicken was served with a gravy containing flour so the individual was forced to be careful when selecting the parts to eat. Desert was a banana foster with caramel sauce. Everyone agreed that it was far too sweet and so most of the deserts were uneaten. In general the service was good and unobtrusive. The portions were large and we were offered seconds of all the dishes. The meal was very expensive by Cuenca standards and the quality of the food did not measure up. We won't be back.More

Date of visit: April 2018
Reviewed March 2, 2018 via mobile

We made reservations for the four of us at least a week or two in advance and we were impressed with the service,food ambiance and the entertainment. The singer for the evening was Lynne and she was fabulous. She sang songs that really got us...on our feet and everyone had a great time. The owners talked to us and added to a beautiful evening.More

Date of visit: February 2018
Reviewed January 29, 2018

My cousin and his wife booked this restaurant for their New Years Eve celebration. It is a small restaurant and apparently you can usually linger in the garden but it was a cool night so everyone was inside. They handed out appetizers and had a...cash bar. They had live entertainment with a small dance area. The food was very good and we enjoyed meeting a lot of interesting people at the table we were seated at. All in all, a fun experience.More

Date of visit: December 2017
Reviewed October 10, 2017

A 3.5 in my No Fives Allowed world, and that's because we weren't there for Joes' inner-circle favorite, Fried Chicken. This casual and relaxing hide-away is a house with a garden. The twice weekly affair is a sit-down, 3-course dinner atmosphere; informal, at best, and...there is no telling whose company you might be enjoying at your assigned seat six-person table. Another pleasant South American surprise for these two Texans, and an automatic dining selection when we return.More

Date of visit: September 2017
Kenneth V, Owner at Joes' Secret Garden, responded to this reviewResponded October 19, 2017

Thank you for visiting us and your kind comments. We have a lot of regular guests from Texas that enjoy the comfortable southern charm of Joe's ... and of course the signature "famous fried chicken" dinner ... hope you'll be able to join us for...More

Reviewed July 3, 2017

I've been living in Ecuador for about 6 years now, while I have Ecuadorian heritage, I was born and raised in Queens, New York. It was first time where I visited a predominately expat atmosphere here in the country. A friend who works there suggested...I should come by to try the fried chicken; the overall experience was very good with a very minor inconvenience. The pre-dinner social hour was interesting, and the folklore dance presentation was excellent and a nice touch. The food itself, was delicious for the most part. The fried chicken was tender, batted consistently and nicely seasoned. The mash potatoes were thick and buttery along great tasting gravy. The cold slaw was ok, I had to use a bit of salt and pepper, because it was too sweet for me from the fruit they put in. Biscuits were good, nothing to complain there. The dessert (chocolate pudding cake) at the end was just way too sweet. My girlfriend who accompanied me that night loves sweets, but she said it too sweet even for her! The atmosphere while a bit noisy, but at the same time; quite welcoming! It has been a very long time since I have heard so many people speaking the English language all in one place. A bit of a down side was that my girlfriend and I were among the youngest there (Both in our mid-twenties). The bill took nearly 35 minutes to come due to the system going down. It was an inconvenience since I had more planned that night. In the end, it was a great experience, the food was on point for the most part. The atmosphere, was lively and entertaining. Apart from a lack of younger expats like myself, and the long bill delivery. I would recommend this place, and encourage younger expats to stop by.More

Date of visit: July 2017
Reviewed May 13, 2017

It was delish! Not veal or lamb, but the most tender beef here, ever. The sauce and polenta, with spring carrots was delightful. It is just nice to meet new people, and, saying howdy to friends.More

Date of visit: May 2017
skyydriver11, Owner at Joes' Secret Garden, responded to this reviewResponded May 15, 2017

Thanks for your wonderful comments. Happy you truly enjoyed the spirit of Joe's ... like a private club in a luxurious casa where you met new expat's and mingle with old friends ... all of us away from our other country bases joined together to...More

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Questions & Answers
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Robert S
December 29, 2016|
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Response from ez9091 | Reviewed this property |
Don't know...call them direct or read Gringo Post.
Robert S
December 29, 2016|
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Response from joextext | Property representative |
Hi Robert. Please know that we sold the business a few months ago. Apparently tripadvisor has not updated our information. Please visit the website by googling Joes Secret Garden. We are sure the new owner has quite an... More
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Frequently Asked Questions about Joes' Secret Garden

Joes' Secret Garden is rated accordingly in the following categories by Tripadvisor travelers:
  • Food: 4.5
  • Service: 4.5
  • Value: 4.5
  • Atmosphere: 5