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7 restaurants I loved in Peru

Perú has a rich culture and one of the greatest cuisines in the world. When you visit Peru you awaken all your senses, discover new flavors and fusión cuisine one of their specialties.

It is no coincidence that Peru has 8 of the 50 best restaurants in Latin America and 3 in the world ranking. In this post I want to share some of the restaurants that I visited and which I believe were a memorable experience for the palate and the eyes.

Chicha – Cusco. Located in front of Plaza del Regocijo, and a few blocks from Cusco’s main square, we enter an idyllic inner courtyard with the sounds of bird’s singing and running water from an old stone fountain. The pots hanging from a blue balcony, with incandescent red flowers were an invitation to stop and take some pictures before we enter in the relaxed atmosphere of this cozy restaurant. We tried some typical dishes like alpaca carpaccio, a meat so soft it felt like butter in our mouths and it tasted delicious. As I am a cocktail fan, and wanted to experience a local flavor I ordered a Cusco Mule, a heavenly combination of pisco, muña, lemon, cucumber and tonic water (it has gained my love for eternity).

MAP Café– Cusco. We discover this restaurant a little bit from a recommendation and a little bit by chance. How so? Well, a friend told us about a great restaurant that looked like a crystal container… but he didn’t remember the name nor the location (seriously?) When we visited the Pre-Columbian Art Museum (MAP in Spanish) and entered the big inner patio, almost every colonial construction in Cusco have one, we discover the modern crystal container that made a huge contrast with the old stone courtyard. We made a dinner reservation and when the time came we went walking because it was only a few block from our hotel. Do not be fooled by its name, MAP it’s almost nothing like a Café and everything about high Peruvian cuisine. We had a 3 course dinner, and everything was just perfect: the presentation of the dishes, the taste of each course and the polite attention of our waiter. My favorite? The dessert, hot organic chocolate truffles, flambe with pisco, vanilla ice cream and a surprise shot. Which was the surprise? You’ll have to go and see it for yourself.

Qespi – Cusco. EThis restaurant it’s located inside JW Marriott El Convento Hotel, where we stayed in Cusco. As the name indicates, this was an old convent turned into a hotel, and it’s great architecture filled with Spanish details takes us to another century. The day we arrived we had lunch there, I don’t know if I was starving or that the Tequeños were melting in my mouth, but they were a delicious first course. If you’re wander what Tequeños are, let’s say it’s cheese wrapped in filo and then fried, accompanied by an avocado sauce that tasted like glory.

Indio Feliz – Machu Picchu. I’ve been recommended this restaurant prior to my trip and I have to say I loved it. On the first floor the walls are all covered up in travelers business cards from all over the world, so if you’d like to leave some piece of you in Machu Picchu this is the place to go. On the second floor, where we had lunch, the wooden deco was really colorful and spread like the restaurant name (happy Indian in English) a sense of happiness. The menu had many options but one caught my eye right away, tomato soup. Yes, I’m a tomato soup fan, yes it was really hot, but I can’t find it easily in Argentina’s restaurants and sometimes I’m too lazy to make it myself, so I went for it and it was a good decision. With a touch of pepper and Italian Parmesan cheese, it’s one of the best I’ve ever tasted.

Osaka – Lima. This was Sebastian’s choice, he’s a big fan of this restaurant in Buenos Aires and wanted to try the original. He ordered the best presented sushi I’ve ever seen so far, he and Francesca are sushi lovers ¿Me? No thanks, as my mom used to say when I was a child “You don’t eat anything that swims” (well, almost). I ordered a Wagyu beef but in the meantime they brought salmon slices with a passion fruit sauce that was so tempting I had to try it. Let me tell you about my relationship with fish as food, it’s not that I don’t like it, I just can’t bare the taste in my mouth at all, BUT to my surprise I ended up having 5 slices of it. The salty taste of salmon combined with the sweet passion fruit sauce was too good to resist. We had lunch at the courtyard which has an oriental and relaxed atmosphere, it the weather allows it I really recommend dining there.

Cala – Lima. If having lunch or dinner by the sea is your thing, then this is your restaurant. With breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, you can enjoy a nice lunch or early dinner to witness the sunset. We went for a late dinner (we Argentinians are used to having dinner between 9 and 10 p.m.) so the view wasn’t as wonderful as it should be by day. The menu has many options but if you’re going for local dishes you can’t miss on the ceviche or the lomo saltado (tenderloin cooked in a pan with vegetables) on of my favorite Peruvian dishes.

Astrid & Gastón – Lima. This was my second time at this famous restaurant, the first time was 4 years ago when I had to travel for work to Lima. I ate alone at the counter that was facing the kitchen and I could see through the glass the rush of the entire kitchen staff while in the salon there was a really calmed atmosphere. This time I went with my family and the lunch was once again up to the expectations. What I found really amusing was dessert, we ordered a chocolate tasting that consisted in 4 shots of cocoa mousse and a game to defy the senses. Each shot had a little sign indicating the cocoa percentage and its origin, and other 4 signs with the notes each cocoa had (caramel and toffee, wood and berries, citric and… I forgot the last one hahaha). The challenge was to taste the 4 shots and place each sign where you think it was right, once I’ve tasted all 4 I placed the signs without a doubt. Sebastián laughed incredulously, “they taste all the same” he said, but when the waiter came to the table and asked surprised if someone had help us because they were all correct, he stopped laughing. At that lunch I discovered a hidden talent of mine.

What to try:

  • Ceviche

  • Saltado de Lomo o Pollo

  • Ají de Gallina

  • Cui (not suitable for impresionable peolple)

Do you have any foodie experience to share?