The indescribably magical old Incan capital of Cusco
is a magnet for tourists and backpackers. A common starting point for the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
, the historic city houses a fine range of restaurants and bars which showcase the best of Peruvian gastronomy. The central Plaza de Armas is perhaps the jewel in Cusco’s crown; here we review the best restaurants in the vicinity of this famous square.
Incanto offers its customers a successful and splendidly tasty fusion of Italian and Peruvian food, just a minute from the eastern corner of the Plaza de Armas, on Santa Catalina Angosta Street. This professionally run establishment has a rustic warmth, with its stone floor, wooden tables, brick walls, and large central oven. The menu is broad, if a little on the pricey side, ranging from risotto to Alpacan chorizo and guinea pig meat.
Address: Santa Catalina Angosta, 135. Plaza de Armas, Cusco, +51 84 254 753
Bar, Restaurant, Peruvian, $$$
Limo restaurant is a high-end venue in the northeastern corner of the Plaza de Armas, and boasts the most spectacular views of the square from its street-side dining rooms. The slick, minimalist décor contrasts pleasantly with what’s left of the building’s colonial architecture, and modern art adorns the walls. It offers a varied menu of Peruvian food (with some Japanese dishes thrown in for good measure), and doubles up as a Pisco bar; Peru’s trademark grape brandy refashioned into a number of exciting cocktails.
Address: Portal de Panes,Plaza de Armas, Cusco, +51 84 240 668
Restaurant, Peruvian, $$$
Flanking the Plaza Regocijo, just east of the Plaza de Armas, is Chicha restaurant, which offers a hearty range of classic Peruvian dishes. With modern furnishings and a relaxed atmosphere, Chicha will please even the most fussy of diners. The menu can be tricky to decipher at times, but the options are broad and tempting, some of the highlights include the chicharrón (deep fried pork belly) and the grilled octopus.
Address: 261 Plaza Regocijo, Cusco, +51 84 240 520
Jardin Secreto Restaurant Bar
Bar, Pub Grub
Jardin Secreto Restaurant Bar
Just a few minutes north of the Plaza de Armas up Calle Plateros, is the Jardin Secreto Restaurant Bar. A decent menu of local food, this is a great place to sample some Peruvian guinea pig, and the prices are very reasonable. Popular with locals and tourists alike, the indoor garden is the perfect spot to spend an evening, with live music played every night from 8pm. It caters for vegetarians very well too.
Address: Calle Plateros 381, Cusco,+51 84 262972
Inka Grill is sat along the northwestern edge of the Plaza de Armas, and offers its customers a combination of first-rate food and first-rate views. Looking out onto the Cusco Cathedral, you can dine on a range of traditional Peruvian fare, often with a modern twist. This contemporary take on classic local dishes is called novoandina, and is a popular but costly synthesis for travelling foodies.
Address: Portal de Panes 115,Plaza de Armas, Cusco, +51 84 262 992
Just five minutes from the Plaza de Armas, tucked into the courtyard of the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, is the fantastically stylish MAP Café. The restaurant is contained within a glass cube structure that seats 50 people, and it another exemplary venue for the culinary delights of novoandina. Elegant, romantic, and a well-judged mixture of the old and the modern, MAP Café is a quiet space that promises a memorable evening.
Address: Plazoleta Nazarenas,Museo de Arte Precolombino, Cusco, +51 84 242 476
This simple place, located just along the south eastern side of the Plaza de Armas, offers generous portions of Peruvian fare at very reasonable prices. Quick service, amiable waiters, and a fine selection of local wines make this cosy venue stand out from the dozens of other restaurants in the area. The soup dishes come particularly recommended, especially on chilly winter evenings.
Address: Calle Plateros 309, Cusco, +51 84 222 027
Restaurant, Fast Food, $$$
Bembos is a Peruvian fast food restaurant with a prime location in the Plaza de Armas, adjacent to its Western counterparts McDonalds and KFC. An excellent joint to feast on some juicy burgers and greasy chips if you need a break from traditional Peruvian grub, but want to resist the pull of the American mega-chains. Cheep, cheerful, and with some Peruvian touches here and there, Bembos is definitely worth a visit if you’re on a budget and short on time.
Address: Plaza de Armas, Cusco
Deli, Market, Peruvian, Healthy, Soup, $$$
Half a block from the Plaza de Armas on the second floor of a beautiful colonial-era building is Greens Organic, a trendy organic deli which offers only the best local produce. Light, airy, and tastefully furnished, Greens makes for a terrific breakfast venue (their range of fresh juices is exceptional), or a relaxing place to read or work in the afternoon. Their steamed local trout is famous citywide.
Address: Santa Catalina Angosta 135,Piso 2, Plaza de Armas, Cusco, +51 84 254 753
Plus Restaurant, on the northern side of the Plaza de Armas, is a charming second floor bistro showcasing the best of Peruvian food to an international clientele. Considering the location, Plus is reasonably priced, and you can’t knock the quality of its food. The Peruvian risotto and the strips of Alpaca bathed in anticuchera sauce are exceptionally delicious. Get there early for a balcony table and one of the best views in the city.
Address: 2nd floor, Portal de Panes 151,Plaza de Armas, Cusco, +51 84 246 870