The city of Arequipa provides an array of fantastic dining options to fit any budget. In our list of top 10 Arequipa restaurants below, a main course ranges from $10-$30 per person. Although it is difficult to select just a few, we recommend the following restaurants based on their long standing reputations, use of high quality ingredients, and the general dining experience they offer.
An Arequipa food introduction
In a country widely lauded for its culinary diversity, the city of Arequipa stands out for its special offer of regional food specialties. Arequipeñan dishes are generally characterized by flavors that are rich, complex, and unmistakable. Arequipa is most famous for its picanterías, local eateries that serve traditional cuisine. The name derives from the word picante, meaning spicy, another key characteristic of local cuisine.
A great way to try typical dishes is to order the Americano (a sampler of popular plates), either a Doble or a Triple (two- or three-dish sampler). Foodies with big appetites will be delighted with the local tendency to serve large portions.
If you are lucky enough to be in town on a Sunday, you’ll definitely want to try the local favorite, Adobo. This pork stew—typically served from morning until noon—is slow-cooked in a clay pot over an open fire. Follow up any meal with some cooling helado queso, which is ice cream made of, you guessed it! Cheese. You can find this delicious confection at stands throughout the city.
Top 10 Arequipa Restaurants
AT A GLANCE
Price range: approximately $10-30 per person (main course)
Suggested tipping: about 10%
Dress Code: Flexible/Casual
Reservations: recommended, but not always necessary
1. La Nueva Palomino Picanteria
Picanterias are lunchtime eateries that were born in the countrysides of Arequipa, and serve up typical regional cuisine. La Nueva Palomino is one of the most beloved of such establishments in the city of Arequipa, and has been led by three generations of the women of the family—who have been lovingly guarding their culinary secrets for more than 100 years.
Tucked down a colonial street in the adorable Yanahuara district, this restaurant has cultural flair like nowhere else. The waiters are welcoming and traditionally dressed, and the ambiance with its wood accents, hanging peppers, greenery, and checkered table cloths will transport you to the heart and soul of Arequipa.
Peru for Less Travel Advisor Michael Nyberg recently visited this traditional restaurant, and shares, “La Nueva Palomino is a great place that extends an amazing opportunity for travelers to try really authentic comida Arequipeña.”
The restaurant offers a large variety of meats, stews, and other classic specialties like adobo, chupe de camarones, and pastel de papa (cheesy potatoes). There is something for all tastes, and generous portions for those hungry adventurers.
LA NUEVA PALOMINO
Address: Pasaje Leoncio Prado 122, Yanahuara
Cuisine: Picanteria (traditional Arequipeñan)
Hours: 12-5pm Monday thru Saturday, 7am-5pm Sunday.
2. Zig Zag Arequipa
Alpine cuisine and Andean flavors combine to create a truly unique dining experience at Zig Zag restaurant in Arequipa. The “Alpandina” cuisine is the perfect union between modern culinary techniques found in both the Alps and Andes.
The restaurant’s location in front of lovely Plaza San Francisco makes this the perfect occasion to explore the city center before or after your meal. Housed in a refurbished sillar stone colonial home, the locale itself boasts two levels of seating, with the two floors connected by a gorgeous iron-wrought Gustave Eiffel spiral staircase.
“I loved Zig Zag,” says Alexandra Aguinaga here at Peru for Less. “It is great—they serve different types of meat [typically beef, alpaca, and lamb]sizzling over a plate of hot volcanic rock with a variety of side dishes. Their bread and homemade butter was also superb.”
Vegetarian sandwiches and to-go lunch orders are available by request. For something lighter, stop by Crepisimo, Zig Zag’s sister restaurant specializing in crepes and wines, located in front of Monasterio Santa Catalina.
Address: Zela 210, Arequipa
Cuisine: Alpandina (Andes meets the Alps)
Hours: 12pm-11pm daily
Note: Reserve balcony seating for a romantic dinner with a great view.
3. Chicha Arequipa
Chicha enjoys a prime location in a beautifully restored colonial mansion facing the convent of Santa Catalina, one of Arequipa’s main attractions. The restaurant is the enterprise of celebrity chef Gaston Acurio, whose refined culinary training is reflected in the preparation and presentation of classic Peruvian dishes with a modern twist.
Start your meal with the Ocopa, which features potatoes, eggs, and fried
cheese, topped with Arequipa’s famous creamy huacatay sauce (huacatay is like an Andean cilantro). The gastronomic journey continues with a main of luxurious ceviche; corvina from matarani (similar to seabass, from the Arequipa coast) with a flavorful peas risotto; or, if you are feeling adventurous, Pekin guinea pig. Vegetarian meals are also available upon request, and include options such as a veggie version of stuffed rocoto peppers; or delicious Areuipeño cannelloni, topped with Andean cheeses.
If you miss happen to miss out on Chicha in Arequipa, you have a second chance at Chicha in Cusco—or vice versa!
Address: Santa Catalina 210, Arequipa
Cuisine: Fine Dining (traditional Peruvian with a modern twist)
Hours: Mon – Sat: 12:00 pm – 11:00 pm & Sun: 12:00 pm – 8:00 p
Reservations: Highly recommended
A visit to Zingaro adds an enchanting edge to any dining experience, be it a midday meal, romantic dinner, or evening cocktail session. The illuminated domed ceilings of this lovely restaurant are set inside a traditional Casona (colonial mansion) conveniently located in the Historic City Center. Traditional Arequipeñan and NovoAndino cuisine are both on offer, with an infusion of Mediterranean flavors .
The restaurant’s menu includes a selection of grilled meats, salads, pastas, and homestyle comfort foods. Try the shrimp chowder or alpaca filet in rosemary sauce. You can also try granpa’s favorite steak, salmon filet with mango carpaccio, or even the iconic Arequipeñan rocoto relleno (Peruvian stuffed peppers) in lasagna form.
Complement your meal with any of 250 varieties of wines from the Americas, Australia and South Africa, found at Zingaro’s wine bar and cellar. Old world wines from Spain, France, and Italy also available.
Address: San Francisco 309, Arequipa
Phone number: +51 54-217662
Cuisine: Traditional with a Mediterranean Twist
Hours: Monday-Saturday noon-11 p.m., Sunday noon-10 p.m.
5. Sol de Mayo
Sol de Mayo is one of the oldest restaurants in Peru, and is a pioneer when
it comes to the traditional cuisine of Arequipa. The locale aims to charm with its lovely garden patio, friendly staff, and smart presentation of robust meals. This classic Arequipa picanteria has been winning the tastebuds of tourists and travelers for four flavorful generations, and is conveniently located in the charming neighborhood of Yanahuara.
Try the Chupe de Camarones (crawfish stew) or Cuy Chactado (stone pressed Guinea Pig) for your main course. The rich flavors of a robust meal will create food memories that will stay with you for years to come.
SOL DE MAYO
Address: Jerusalen 207, Yanahuara, Arequipa
Note: Open for lunch only. Live music from 1pm to 4pm
Tip: Request patio seating for sunny views and proximity to live entertainment.
If you have more of a sweet tooth when it comes to dining, head over to one of the best pastelerias (bakeries) in Arequipa! Sweetening up the neighborhood since 1992, this cafe, which also serves up breakfast, lunch, and dinner, is located less than a block away from the Plaza de Armas.
“I only ordered wine and carrot cake at Capriccio,” says Peru for Less Travel Advisor Michelle Talsma. “But it was absolutely delicious, the atmosphere was really nice, and its super close to the main square.”
Other menu items include chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast; a variety of sandwiches on a delicious ciabatta bread for lunch; and for dinner, traditional meals like lomo saltado or quinoa risotto for vegetarians.
Address: Calle Mercaderes 121, Cercado de Arequipa
* Other restaurant locations around Arequipa.
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Cuisine: Cafe (desserts, sandwiches, Peruvian plates)
Hours: Sunday thru Thursday 8am-10pm, Friday and Saturday 8am-11pm.
7. Casta Fior
For those looking to put on the best clothes in their suitcase and delight in some fine dining in an elegant setting, Casta Fior is the place. This sophisticated restaurant boasts a beautiful ambiance in the lovely Yanahuara district.
The menu serves up a blend of National Peruvian as well as International cuisine. The varied and creative selection of meats, fish, shrimp, and vegetables are presented artfully and provide a burst of flavors that visitors proclaim is “outrageously delicious.”
Address: Avenida Francisco Bolognesi 106, Yanahuara
Cuisine: Fine Dining (International, National, and Regional)
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 8:30am-10pm; Friday and Saturday 8:30am-11pm; Sunday 8:30am-4pm; Monday Closed.
8. El Buda Profano
This restaurant is not traditional Arequipeñan by any means, but it is some of the best sushi that you can have outside of Japan. The best part for veggie-loving travelers: it’s 100% vegan! Located just an 8 minute walk from the main plaza, this endearing stone oasis is embellished with castle-like archways, local art, and wood accents.
Start off your meal with some warming ramen or miso. Continue by sampling the tomato petal nigiri; spicy mango Gunkan maki; yam Tempura Hosomaki; or the scrumptious California Uramaki, complete with fried tofu, avocado, and Japanese cucumber. Round off your meal with sake or cup of wine from their diverse selection of Peruvian and international options, and finally sweeten it all up with choco maki for dessert.
EL BUDA PROFANO
Address: Calle Bolivar 425, Central Arequipa
Cuisine: Vegan Sushi Bar
Hours: 12-10pm daily.
9. Las Gringas
Craving pizza? You can find this neighborhood gem just 1.5 blocks from the Plaza. The interior features rustic white stone, wood accents, and colorful decor, plus there is a pleasant courtyard area to enjoy your slice out in the fresh air.
“This pizzeria features organic/local ingredients (with cool crusts like quinoa!), veggie-friendly pizzas, vegan-friendly salads, gluten-free options, and craft beer,” says Peru for Less’ Rachel Walker. “It was super good!” Enjoy wood burning masterpieces with a delectable Peruvian twist any day of the week. Note that it is closed between 3 and 5.
Address: Santa Catalina 204, Arequipa Center
Cuisine: Pizzeria (with Peruvian ingredients)
Hours: 10am-3pm and 5-11pm daily.
10. La Plaza Bar & Grill
La Plaza Bar & Grill is a delicious restaurant located onsite of the Casa Andina Select Hotel, and conveniently situated at the northeast corner of the Plaza de Armas. The stylish grill serves up breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day of the week.
“I went to eat there twice, they have a nice big terrace that overlooks the cathedral and main plaza,” Aguinaga says. “It has a great solterito (vegan or vegetarian option) and pastel de papa (with local cheese). Also great for some beers (Arequipeños) at night with the lights on the plaza.”
They also have monthly specialties, which is currently at the time of writing this, a flavorful Honey Chicken, featuring grilled chicken with cheese and bacon in honey mustard sauce accompanied by sweet turmeric rice with mushrooms and asparagus.
LA PLAZA BAR & GRILL
Address: Portal de Flores 116, Arequipa
Cuisine: Peruvian and International
Hours: 6am-11pm daily.
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