Peru is well known for being a country with natural beauty: stunning views and beautiful countryside give visitors plenty to do in the great outdoors. Many tourists may even select Peru as their destination for Machu Picchu or Lake Titicaca alone. But what many of these people don’t know is that Peru actually has a thriving food scene–and not just in the capital of Lima.
The city of Cusco is a mecca for foodies, with countless gourmet restaurants for visitors to devour the local cuisine. And while Peru is famous for eating unusual meats like alpaca and guinea pig, there are plenty of more tame dishes for visitors to try. Here are just a few of our favorite restaurants that we tried in Cusco:
Calle del Medio
If you are looking for a place to eat dinner with great views, then Calle del Medio is your restaurant. It’s located in Cusco’s Plaza de Armas–the central area of the city–and has panoramic views of the cathedrals and park. Head to Calle del Medio early to snag a table near the window and you can watch the sunset over the city.
The food at Calle del Medio is just as incredible as the views. Choose from dishes that are true to more authentic Peruvian cuisine, or try their dishes with a twist on American classics–like the delicious beef sliders, pictured above.
You’ll also love the modern style of Calle del Medio, with a stunning lounge area, bar, porch, and dining area. Our favorite part of the decor was the beautiful artwork that was hanging throughout the restaurant. Overall, the food, service and atmosphere at Calle del Medio are all incredible, and we recommend eating here on one of your first nights in Cusco.
Located in Cusco’s San Blas neighborhood, Pachapapa is a favorite among both tourists and locals. It is situated on an old winding cobblestone road on a hill that, at over 12,000 feet in elevation, will tire you out to climb up. The amazing food and atmosphere at Pachapapa is well worth the climb, and you’ll love this authentic taste of Peruvian cuisine.
Pachapapa has both indoor and outdoor seating, but we recommend you sit on the patio if weather permits. The patio has a zen, candlelit atmosphere with heating lamps near each table to keep you warm. It’s a quiet and relaxing way to enjoy an incredible meal.
The only thing better at Pachapapa than the atmosphere is the food. Most everything on the menu is true to Peru’s native cuisine, and it’s all delicious. We loved the quinoa soup and potatoes three-ways dishes that we tried while we sipped matte de coca tea to stave off elevation sickness.
Nuna Raymi was another incredible restaurant that we tried while in Peru. It’s located just a few blocks from the Plaza de Armas so it’s within convenient walking distance of pretty much everything. It’s also located on the second floor, so if you get a window seat you can do some people watching onto the street below.
We ordered the spaghetti and the tacos (not very Peruvian, I know) and loved them both. All the ingredients were very fresh and delicious, and it was nice to have a little taste of home after we had been eating Peruvian food for well over a week.
Pro tip: This place also has really good wifi! So if you have any Netflix downloads or Instagram story uploads to do, this is the place to do it.
Cicciolina is the perfect restaurant for a romantic night out in Peru. There’s ambient lighting, and lively atmosphere, and incredible food. Just make sure to make a reservation ahead of time–because this place can get busy. We were walk-ins and the only seating available was at the bar.
The food at Cicciolina is tapas style–so you order a bunch of smaller plates and share. Both of the tapas we ordered were absolutely delicious, though pretty expensive especially given the size and pricing that we had become accustomed to in Peru. Regardless, it was all worth it for the experience of trying these interesting flavors in a fun and bustling restaurant.
Another thing to consider is going to Cicciolina for drinks. While drinking at altitude isn’t recommended for people who aren’t used to being so high up, we had been in Peru for over a week and were ready to try our luck with the delicious drink menu at Cicciolina. It didn’t disappoint–the caipirinha and mojito were both delicious–and strong.
Limbus Restobar has the best views of the Cusco skyline–hands down. It’s situated at the top of a tall hill and an entirely glass wall in the restaurant offers panoramic views of the city of Cusco. If that isn’t a great atmosphere, I don’t know what is!
This restaurant was definitely full of a younger crowd, many of whom where there to enjoy the music, bottle service, and views. This restaurant also had way more foreigners than any other restaurant we went to, so it’s a great spot to connect with other tourists.
We just ordered a few appetizers from Limbus Restobar, since we already had plans to head somewhere else for dinner. Everything was delicious, and we especially enjoyed the fresh juices that we ordered for a drink.
There are a slew of amazing restaurants to try while you are in Cusco, Peru. And whether you want to try the more traditional dishes like Alpaca and Guinea pig or stick to the classics like quinoa soup and empanadas, there is something for everyone.
Remember to bring cash with you everywhere you go since many restaurants in Cusco may only accept cash, or VISA. Lastly, don’t forget to check out our post on 11 Things To Do in Plaza de Armas in Cusco, Peru!
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