The Best Restaurants in Cusco
Whether you’re carbo-loading in Aguas Calientes for the hike to Machu Picchu or eating light for a day of sightseeing at the Cathedral and the Plaza de Armas, you’ll find a wide range of food that includes local cuisine as well as pizza and vegetarian food.
Av Imperio de los Incas 614, Aguas Calientes, Peru
Though better known for its high-quality, wide-ranging craft beer menu, Mapacho, in Aguas Calientes, merits culinary attention, too, regional suds or no. Lunch and dinner choices are varied and delicious with choices like trout ceviche and osso buco, as well as a wide selection of Peruvian favorites like lomo saltado (a Peruvian beef stir-fry). The atmosphere is casual; service top-notch. Arrive early or late to snag a coveted river-view table.
Triunfo 393, Cusco 08000, Peru
One of the city’s top restaurants, Cicciolina offers Italian-style dishes with a Peruvian flair, such as quinoa-encrusted prawns and osso buco with pumpkin ravioli topped by local cheese and a touch of Andean mint. There’s plenty to choose from, including seafood, duck, beef, alpaca, chicken, and even a few vegetarian dishes, as well as perfectly done handmade pasta. You can pick from either the tapas or the full-restaurant menu in the bar area, but not the other way around, so you may want to go twice, as the tapas are fabulous, too. A great wine list and yummy desserts finish out options in a small, lovely venue. Reservations are a must.
Carmen Bajo 120, Cusco 08003, Peru
I planned on grabbing a quick lunch at Pacha Papa, located in San Blas Square, the heart of Cusco’s artist and gallery neighborhood. But I ended up spending a couple of hours in the lovely outdoor courtyard, talking to my wonderful server, Ever, and the owners about Cusco and Peru‘s bright future. They do serve Cusco’s local delicacy, guinea pig.
Cusco 08000, Peru
Few places can beat MAP Café for atmosphere. Located in the courtyard of Cuzco’s Pre-Columbian art museum (itself housed in a colonial mansion), the restaurant features all-glass walls for a privileged view. The fusion menu matches the ambience, including unique takes on local favorites such as adobo cusqueño—the tenderest of slow-cooked porks—as well as signature dishes like chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese and raisins. The desserts are such works of art you’re sure to want a photo before digging in. After six, the prix-fixe menu provides the perfect way to sample different flavors.
PLAZA MAYOR CENTRO DE, Cusco 08000, Peru
There are a number of Cuzco restaurants that offer traditional Peruvian, served buffet-style, along with music and dance. One of the best is Ayahuasca, specifically because they limit the number of dishes on the table and focus on providing the highest quality and freshness. Foodies with a greater sense of adventure can order à la carte at lunchtime, where the traditional delicacies on offer include specialties like cow’s tongue or pig’s feet that are rarely found at tourist-oriented restaurants. The ambience is bright and cheerful; there’s a tasting menu with a solid chichas, or fermented corn beer, selection.
Portal de Carnes 236, Cusco 08000, Peru
Limo offers Peruvian fusion par excellence that uses typical ingredients in daring new ways. It’s particularly known for fish, including many types of sushi, as well as a variety of entrées that feature tuna, shrimp, octopus, crab, salmon, or trout, some inspired by Andean recipes, others taken from the Japanese tradition. Not a seafood lover? No problem! Limo also has delicious options featuring chicken, pork, beef, and alpaca. This second-floor restaurant overlooking the Plaza de Armas is also a great place for sampling pisco cocktails. Reservations are a good idea, especially if you’d like to score a balcony table with a town-square view.