SISA, centrally located in Otavalo, is an indigenous-owned and run complex featuring a number of interesting and well-designed shops, a cinema, and several restaurants. We tried the first floor cafeteria a few times for lunch and late night drinks and snacks. It is definitely OK, but nothing distinguished as far as the food or drink offerings. However It does attract an exceptionally interesting Ecuadorian and international clientele, including many young and not-so-young artists, activists, musicians and filmmakers. The larger restaurant on the second floor is better if you want a full meal, with a good selection of dishes, and an attractive open space with lots of art.
SISA is an acronym for Sala de Imagenes, Sonido y Arte -- translated into English, Room of Images, Sound and Art. SISA also means flower in Quichua. The founder and owner of SISA is a charming man who is frequently on site. He has been very active in the world of indigenous and progressive politics and culture, and has recently redone all four floors of SISA and opened a good small movie house there as well. He frequently presents films from the very promising new Ecuadorian cinema. (Saw Desde mi Corazon en Yambo, an exceptionally good documentary about the two teenaged brothers who disappeared in Ecuador in the early 80's, and the ongoing search to investigate and bring those responsible to justice.) There is an attractive cafe outside the cinema, which we have not yet had time to try yet but we will. There are also frequent musical offers at SISA. If you want to visit a well-designed and well-run place that does not exist mainly for the benefit of tourists, SISA is an excellent choice.
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