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Restaurants in Cusco

Recently, Peruvian food is starting to garner acclaim across the globe and one region with a proud culinary tradition is Cusco. With various stews, soups of choclo (a type of maize) and, of course, roasted cuy (guinea pig), there's plenty to try. In recent years the city's restaurant scene has come on leaps and bounds, and it is now possible to dine in style throughout the historic centre. Local restaurants are also worth a look for truly authentic, no-frills fare.

The Cusco restaurants below have been hand-picked by our guide author and are grouped into three pricing categories:

Expensive (over PEN 80)

Moderate (PEN 30 to PEN 80)

Cheap (up to PEN 30)

These Cusco restaurant prices are for a three-course meal for one, including half a bottle of house wine or equivalent, tax and service. Tipping at 10% is optional, unless a service charge has already been added to the bill.

Expensive

Baco

Cuisine: International

Another Tammy Gordon eatery, but newer than Cicciolina, this handsome bistro feels more like a gastro pub than its elegant sister restaurant. The specials are chalked up on a board and its countless bottles of wine are stacked in a huge cabinet. The food is a mix of Mediterranean and Peruvian, with treats such as grilled Andean cheese, terrific salads and a mixed grill starter, which includes a local speciality, anticucho (heart), and fine chorizo. The sticky toffee pudding with pecan ice cream and fig jam is unmissable.

Address: , Calle Ruinas 465, Cusco,
Telephone: (84) 242 808.
Website: http://www.cicciolinacusco.com

Cicciolina

Cuisine: Peruvian

One of the innovators of Cusco's dining scene, Tammy Gordon opened Cicciolina a decade ago, and it has become a local institution – as well as popular with visitors in-the-know. Back then, there were only a handful of places offering high-end cuisine here and now there are several on each street in the city centre. It has a homely bar area and an alluring red dining room with broad-brush contemporary portraits on the wall. While it's a charming place to try Peruvian, Argentinean and Chilean wine, guests come for the inventive mix of nouveau cuisine and Peruvian cooking. Don't miss the prawns coated in toasted quinoa and seared alpaca.

Address: , Calle Triunfo 393, 2nd floor, Cusco,
Telephone: (84) 239 510.
Website: http://www.cicciolinacusco.com

Incanto

Cuisine: Italian

Modern Incanto serves Italian pasta, pizza and contemporary Peruvian fusion. Inside, the bright white plaster gives way to exposed stone walls. An open kitchen sits at the back of the restaurant and a large pizza oven perches in the middle. Try the alpaca and rosemary pizza or pop in for an afternoon helping of the excellent hot chocolate, which is served with sugar-coated, deep-fried churros.

Address: , Santa Catalina Angosta 135, Cusco,
Telephone: (84) 254 753.
Website: http://www.cuscorestaurants.com/incanto

Moderate

Jack’s Café

Cuisine: International

Serving up comfort food at its best, Jack's Café is a beacon for tourists in search of a brief pause from their Peruvian adventures. A relaxed western-style restaurant, open from very early until late, it's renowned for its hearty breakfasts, particularly the huevos rancheros (fried eggs on tortillas with salsa). For lunch or dinner, there are excellent soups (try the roasted pumpkin), huge cheeseburgers, deliciously indulgent toasted sandwiches, Thai curries and plenty more besides. Jack's is also one of the best stops for coffee in the city.

Address: , Calle Choquechaka 509, Cusco,
Telephone: (84) 254 606.
Website: http://www.jackscafecusco.com

Muse

Cuisine: International, Peruvian

Everything about Muse is eclectic: from the food and drink to the music. Its lounge area is a flamboyant living room, with leather sofas and armchairs, pink walls, high ceilings and curious light fixtures like floating orbs; while the bar serves up a formidable selection of cocktails. The restaurant is barely more restrained: all sultry red, colourful paintings and dark wood furniture. The menu offers good pasta, excellent burgers and Peruvian classics like lomo saltado (strips of sirloin cooked with onions, tomatoes served with rice and potato slices).

Address: , Calle Triunfo 338, 2nd floor, Cusco,
Telephone: (84) 242 030.
Website: http://www.themusecusco.weebly.com

Tapa Tapa y ¡Ole!

Cuisine: International

Unsurprisingly, some of today's Peruvian cuisine is related to Spain's 16th century conquest, so it's worth visiting an Español eatery while in Cusco. Run by a couple from Valencia, Tapa Tapa is known for its rich paellas, fideuà (noodles with seafood) and other favourites from the Mediterranean coast.

Address: , Calle Suecia 343, Cusco,
Telephone: (84) 529 091.

Cheap

Café de Mama’ Oli’

Cuisine: French

Next to the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, this little café serves up the best coffee in the city from traditional red-coloured ceramics. Perhaps because the owner's husband is French (his photography of indigenous people graces the walls), there's a Parisian feel to the place, with French music, children's books and decoration. The quiches are delicious, as is the banana and chocolate cake, which is baked fresh daily.

Address: , Calle Nazarenas 199, Cusco,
Telephone: (84) 779 928.
Website: http://www.mamaoli.com

El Encuentro

Cuisine: Peruvian

This inexpensive vegetarian restaurant resembles a tavern. It has benches instead of tables, so diners are encouraged to squeeze in and get to know each other. Business and shop owners flock in to fill up on the healthy choclo (Peruvian corn) soup, plentiful salads with local ingredients, omelettes and much more.

Address: , Santa Catalina Ancha 384, Cusco,
Telephone: (84) 247 977.
Website: http://www.restaurantelencuentro.blogspot.co.uk

Panaderia Qosqo

Cuisine: French, Peruvian.

Another French-run café, this handsome little spot is great for breakfast, with freshly baked croissants filled with chocolate or ham and cheese, bocaditos de maracuyo (sweet mini-pastries packed with passion fruit), excellent cookies and superb coffee.

Address: , Avenida Tullumayo 465, Cusco,
Telephone: (84) 234 025.
Website: http://www.qosqomaki.org

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Featured Hotels

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Inkaterra La Casona

Cusco's first luxury boutique hotel is located in what is probably Cusco's first Spanish construction. The colonial courtyard is surrounded by 11 sumptuous suites furnished with antiques and all mod cons imaginable. Brilliantly located for the arty San Blas district and Plaza de Armas, Inkaterra La Casona is a quiet oasis of serenity with an eco conscience.

Palacio del Inka

Just moments from the Plaza de Armas, the Palacio del Inka combines utmost luxury with an Incan and Spanish twist. Expect framed dark ochre (a nod to Andean spirits), gold and burgundy furnishings that reflect the conquistador influence and original artworks. There are 203 wonderfully fitted rooms to choose from and all boast handcrafted furniture, huge beds and historical décor, along with fast internet, LED TVs and big bathtubs. The Inti Raymi Restaurant downstairs plates up remarkable Peruvian fine dining and there is a tranquil spa onsite as well.

Hotel Monasterio

Located two blocks from the Plaza de Armas, this is the best hotel in Cusco. A sensitive conversion of the 16th-century Seminary of San Antonio Abad, this former monastery has retained its original infrastructure and colonial décor but is now a 5-star international hotel boasting a gilded chapel, superb fine dining and oxygen-enriched air in every room. The therapy suite is also ideal for those returning from a long Machu Picchu trek.

Hotel Costa del Sol Picoaga

Formerly the colonial home of the17th-century Spanish noble, the Marqués de Picoaga, this top-end hotel in Cusco close to the heart of the city makes the most of its handsome colonnaded courtyard, beautiful stone columns and elegant archways. Service is excellent and the hotel has its own bar and high-quality restaurant.

Mama Simona

Quite frankly the coolest hostel in town, Mama Simona (named after one of the mountains in the Scared Valley range) is a clean, kitschy hostel that offers private rooms and dormitories. With varnished wooden floors, comfy beds and artworks adorning the cream walls, those that stay here could quite as easily be bedding down in a New York apartment. Free Wi-Fi and a decent breakfast buffet come as standard with the odd live music night providing the ideal opportunity to make friends too.

Hostal Suecia II

This friendly, budget Cusco hotel option is set in a colonial-style building located two blocks from the Plaza de Armas. Its 16 rooms are set around an attractive interior courtyard and are basic but spacious, clean and comfortable. A safe, sociable, economical option, this hostel has a family atmosphere and is particularly popular with backpackers, especially as Wi-Fi is now available. Ask for a room away from the street. No breakfast.