Dining in the clouds: 6 top restaurants in Cusco


Dining in the clouds: 6 top restaurants in Cusco

Travelers from around the world come to Peru to explore the Andes Mountains and visit the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu near Cusco. Whether you have an adventurous trek planned or want to travel in luxury, dining at Cusco’s first-class restaurants should not be missed. Located between the Andes and the nape of the clouds, Cusco offers an impressive selection of restaurants, bars, and eateries to suit everyone’s budget. We have selected six restaurants for their high quality of food, service, and overall presentation to give you a taste of the city’s culinary fusion and traditions. Cost range of suggested restaurants: $25-50 for an appetizer, main course and drink Average range of cost for a main course: $10-$20 Suggested tipping: about 10% Dress Code: Flexible/Casual. Credit cards are accepted at most places. Reservations not always required, but recommended.


6 Cusco restaurants 1. Limo: Food with a view 2. MAP Café: A dinner date with the past 3. Cicciolina: The gem on the corner 4. Greens Organic & Vegetarian food: For lighter fare 5. Chicha: A meal with Peru’s most celebrated chef 6. Pachapapa: Authentic and accessible Andean At a glance

1. Limo

Cusco Restaurants, Peru for Less, Cusco VacationsEnjoy a meal overlooking the Central Plaza – the perfect perch for a pisco sour. Photo from Limo/restaurant website

Located in the heart of Cusco, Limo overlooks the city’s picturesque central plaza.  Enjoy lunch or a romantic dinner with a view from this modern restaurant’s fully encased second-story balcony. Limo’s Pisco Bar offers a wide selection of crisp and innovative cocktails. Treat your taste buds to a ají seco (hot pepper martini) for a fusion of passion fruit and chili-pepper infused pisco. After a drink, enjoy an appetizer or the complimentary potato fries served with three delicious homemade dipping sauces.  Limo also has a variety of sushi-fusion and tiradito (Peruvian version of sashimi) dishes. For a traditional Peruvian dish with a gourmet twist, try the alpaca steak with quinoa or adobo (pork stew) marinated in chicha (Andean corn beer).

Cusco restaurants, Peru for LessFeast your eyes on the Andean waffle cone. Photo from Limo/restaurant website

Finish your dining experience with de maiz su manjar, a crispy chocolate kiwicha (Andean grain cousin to quinoa) cone dessert stuffed with caramel and served with a side of strawberries in a sweet purple-corn reduction.

Address: Portal de Carnes 236, 2nd floor Phone: (+51 84 ) 240-668 Menu: Available through website Websitewww.cuscorestaurants.com/limo Lunch or Dinner: Daily 11am– 11pm Note of Interest: Sit by windows to overlook the central plaza Tips: Reservations Recommended. Credit Cards Accepted Main courses: $10-20

2. MAP Café

Dine in the crystal cube of MAP Cafe and feel like another elegantly framed display at the Pre-Columbian Art Museum in Cusco. This contemporary Peruvian haute cuisine restaurant offers an artistic dining experience in the presence of pre-Columbian history.  Enjoy a romantic dinner with a live harp performance and candlelight for a dazzling evening ambiance. Start with the MAP Café classic, capchi de setas , for a creamy Andean mushroom soup. Then, order the truffle perfumed quinoa cannelloni as a main course.   Try the patitas de cuy crocantes sobre esponjoso puré de choclo (crunchy guinea pig legs served on a fluffy bed of corn purée) for a more adventurous option.  Another popular choice is the three course meal set by the chef from the Prix-fixe menu (price fixed menu).

Cusco Restaurants, Dessert, Peru for LessIt’s a chocolate-lovers fantasy: sacha inchi dessert. Photo by Jingo423/Trip Advisor

Don’t spare dessert! You must try the sacha inchi (Amazonian nut)-, spheres of dark chocolate bathed in white chocolate stuffed with sweet caramel, coffee ice-cream and pisco.

Address: Casa Cabrera (Museo de Arte Precolombino’s court yard), Plaza Nazarenas 231 Restauranthttp://www.cuscorestaurants.com/map-cafe-por-coque-ossio/ Menuhttp://www.cuscorestaurants.com/map-cafe-por-coque-ossio/carta-de-map-cafe/ Phone number: +51 84 242-476 Tips: Make Reservations. Credit cards accepted. Lunch or Dinner: Daily 11am– 3pm and 6– 10pm Main courses: $20-$30; Prix-fixe 3-course dinner menu about $62 Otherhttp://www.wbpstars.com/map-cafe.html

3. Cicciolina

Cusco Restaurant, Mediterranean, Tapas, Peru for LessCicciolina has “charm” down to an art. Photo from Cicciolina/restaurant website

Nestled in a charming Cusco street corner, Cicciolina is located on the second floor of an old colonial home not too far from the city’s central plaza. Don’t let the Italian sounding name fool you. This restaurant merges Novo Andino (New Andean) dishes, Mediterranean flavors, and international cuisine that’s served and enjoyed by Cusco locals and visitors. Cicciolina is decorated with dangling dried garlic and peppers, arched doorways, and a vaulted ceiling that gives the restaurant a Mediterranean-inspired ambiance.  The open kitchen and inviting bar create a welcoming atmosphere that’s perfect for spending time catching up with a friend over a glass of chianti and ordering a snack from the restaurant’s Tapas Bar.

Cusco Restaurant, Peru for LessBeef tenderloin in elderberry and gorgonzola sauce.  Yum. Photo by Risada/Foodspotting.com

Cicciolina’s bakery adds to its warm ambiance.  The smell of freshly baked bread will lead you to a mouthwatering breakfast and a daily brew of coffee to kick-start your day.  Return for an afternoon light lunch or cozy dinner in the main dining hall.  Try the prosciutto de pato (duck prosciutto) with fried polenta or beef tenderloin doused in sauco (elderberry) and gorgonzola sauce. For dessert you can’t go wrong with the white chocolate and whisky mousse served on a brownie and smothered in butterscotch. Address: Calle Triunfo 393 2nd floor, Cusco Websitehttp://www.cicciolinacuzco.com/ Phone number: +51 (84) 239-510 Tip: Reservations Recommended. Credit Cards Accepted. Breakfast,  Lunch or Dinner: Mon-Sun 8:00-11:00; 12:00-15:00 and 18:00-22:00 Main courses: $10-$20

4. Greens Organic & Vegetarian food

Greens Organic and Vegetarian food is chef Jorge Luis Ossio’s freshest proposal.  Although vegetarian dishes are not commonly featured in contemporary Peruvian cuisine, this restaurant has mastered this meat-free food genre. Whether it’s dinner, lunch or snack Greens is a great option. Digestion generally slows down at higher altitudes.  So, consuming a lighter vegetarian meal at Greens restaurant of high-protein grains native to the Andean region – such as quinoa, kiwicha, and tarwi- is good alternative to eating meat in Cusco.

Vegetarian Restaurant Cusco, Peru for Less, Organic food CuscoPeruvian cuisine with a fresh twist. Photo by Andres Allain/Living in Peru

On a sunny day, try the signature ensalada de nuestro huerto (salad from our garden) that has beautiful fruit accents and edible flowers.  If the weather is cool in Cusco, warm up with the native specialty- quinoa soup.  To follow, try campesino, a vegetarian friendly sandwich with a  flavorful balance of vegetables caramelized to perfection on toasted bread. Greens Organics is not only for vegetarians.  The restaurant’s menu has some great meat options, such as an alpaca steak served with ratatouille and trucha en papillote (parchment trout) topped with Andean cheese gratinade. Or savor a grilled presentation trucha del valle (valley trout) that’s served with high protein quinoa tabbouleh to give you strength and energy for your Andean exploration. Treat yourself to any of the freshly made juices that are refreshing, filling, and packed full of vitamins.

Health food Cusco, Fresh juice Cusco, Fresh Fruit Cusco, Peru for LessLight and lovely- fresh juices at Greens. Photo by WyanaKutty/TripAdvisor

Indulge in a guilt-free dessert and taste the mango ravioli – misleadingly named as such, since there is no pasta involved.  This is a dessert of thinly sliced mangoes that wrap vanilla-prepared apples and presented in the shape of a cinquefoil flower. Address: Santa Catalina Angosta 135, Piso 2, Plaza de Armas Phone number: +51 (84) 254 753 Tips: No reservations required, but recommended. No credit cards. Lunch or dinner: Daily 12:00-21:30 Websitehttp://www.cuscorestaurants.com/greens-organics/ Main courses: $12-$25

5. Chicha

Located by Plaza Regocijo, enjoy a second story view of the activity below from one of the small balconies that overlook the park.  Chica has two other locations in Arequipa and Cusco—the two most visited cities outside of Lima.  If you didn’t get to dine at Gaston Acurio’s flagship restaurant in Lima, Astrid & Gaston, this is your chance to try one of the country’s most celebrated chefs’ take on regional and Andean food.

Cusco Restaurant, Gaston Acurio, Peru for LessView of dining area and bar at Chicha. Photo by Chica/restaurant website

Start your meal with chupe, a hearty Peruvian chowder.  Chupe is a popular meal in the highlands because it’s a warm meal that’s packed with nutritious local products. Try the vegetarian take of this traditional dish called chupe 5 sabores (5 flavor chowder) for an Andean superfood mix of quinoa, olluco, zapallo (pumpkin), tofu, coconut milk, yellow curry, spearmint and Chinese-style bean salad.  It’s also a perfect place to try savory anticuchos de corazon (beef-heart shish-kabob) or even a vegetarian version of the rocoto relleno (hot chili pepper traditionally stuffed with minced flavorful beef, onions and olives). Finish your dinner with a refreshing queso helado (frozen cheese), a regional dessert from Arequipa. Queso helado is a traditional homemade ice-cream made from the simple ingredients of cinnamon infused with milk and sugar. Don’t forget to sample any of the innovative pisco based cocktails from the bar! Address: Plaza Regocijo 261, 2nd floor Websitewww.chicha.com.pe Phone number: +51 (84) 240-520 Lunch or dinner: Mon-Sat 12:00-23:00; Sun 12:0-17:00 Tips: Good vegetarian option. Reservations recommended. Credit cards accepted. Main course: $10-$20

6. Pachapapa

Pachapapa is located in the heart of Cusco’s San Blas neighborhood, directly in front of the San Blas Cathedral.   Pachapapa’s name (Pacha- earth; papa-potato) is inscribed over the front door in ancient Cusco chronicle typography to match its traditional Peru theme.  It feels like you could be walking into a local Cusco home when you walk into Pachapapa. You may sit at the central courtyard or venture into one of the cozy side rooms that are warmed by little chimneys.

Traditional Peruvian Food, Cusco Restaurant, Patio, Peru for LessEnjoy your meal on Pachapapa’s cozy courtyard. Photo from Pachapapa/restaurant website

While Pachapapa serves several delicious traditional Peruvian dishes, the restaurant is best known for its cuy horniado con hucatay y ají panca (whole guinea pig  roasted with a special Peruvian herbs and hot yellow pepper) and pachamanca (assortment of tubers, corn and meats baked in a traditional ground-oven)  Pachamanca is a true Andean community feast tradition for a minimum of 20 people. To enjoy either of these specialty dishes,  be sure to call the restaurant 24 hours in advance to make a reservation.

Cuy, Cusco Restaurant, Traditional Peruvian Food, Peru for LessA roasted cuy masterpiece, one of Pachapapa’s signature dishes. Photo by mattsingapore/Trip Advisor

Other savory menu options include any of the restaurant’s stews that are slow-cooked in a clay pot for a natural earthy flavor.  Try the seco de cordero (slow cooked lamb stewed in beer and herbs). If the comfort of the familiar is what you’re craving, then order a tasty clay-oven baked gourmet pizzas or calzone. Address: Plaza San Blas 120, San Blas Phone number: +51 (84) 241 318 Websitehttp://www.cuscorestaurants.com/pachapapa/ Lunch of dinner: 11:30-22:00 Tip: Call 24 ahead to reserve the cuy (guinea pig) or pachamanca (ground-oven baked assortment).  Reservations are strongly recommended.

At a glance



LimoNovo Andino (New Andean), Sushi and Pisco Bar
MAP CaféInternational New-Andean Style Haute Cuisine
CicciolinaMediterranean/International, Bakery and Tapas Bar
Greens Organic & Vegetarian foodSalads, Sandwiches, Mains and Bar
ChichaPeruvian Fusion, Regional Food and Bar
PachapapaTraditional Peruvian Cuisine
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About Author

Steff is a traveler at heart and the wildness of South America never seizes to captivate her exploratory spirit. While she spent a majority of her childhood in the United States as a free-range "Austinite", she was born in Peru and feels a deep connection to this continent. She has been fortunate to experience the remarkable landscapes and diversity of Chile, Venezuela, Brazil and Peru.

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