For our first “married Christmas” we decided to fly to Peru and take a group trek to Machu Picchu. In doing so, we ended up spending a lot of time in Cusco, Peru — 3 nights to let our bodies adjust to the altitude, and then back again for 2 extra nights after the trek. We absolutely fell in love with the town, and along the way, we found some of our favorite restaurants in Cusco…
Our favorite restaurants in Cusco
While getting burgers isn’t exactly the most Peruvian thing to do (though it is the casual chain of our favorite South American chef, Gaston Acurio) Papachos was the first place we ate in Cusco. And I’d say it’s actually a good choice for a first meal — it’s very gringo-friendly menu helps ease you into Peruvian cuisine. Plus if you can get a table with a view of the town square and beyond, you’ll be instantly wowed by the beauty of Cusco.
Don’t be fooled by the “cafe” part of MAP Cafe — it’s actually fine dining in a glowing glass box of a restaurant in the courtyard of the Museum of Pre-Colombian Art. It weirdly looks cooler on the outside than the inside. But the dinner is as fun and slightly experimental as you would want from a fancy restaurant in a museum. Mike enjoyed his mushroom soup covered with a puff pastry and I got a dessert where they shattered a glass made of sugar into it.
We came to La Bo’M for a “light lunch” of fruit juices and crepes. But I ended up eating my entire crepe, even though I wasn’t really hungry, just because it was so incredibly good. See if you can snag a spot on their small outdoor dining space with another beautiful view out over the central courtyard of the hostel it’s attached to, surrounded by red tile roofs with the ubiquitous rolling verdant mountains in the near distance.
Marcela Batata may have been one of our favorite meals of the trip. Their rooftop terrace had an almost 360 degree view of Cusco and everything we ate was incredible. We had a great meal of chicken with golden berries, salted avocado, and a quinoa and veggie soup that I continued to crave every day.
So good we ate here twice. Yup, when our flight to Lima was cancelled, we took that opportunity to eat at Chicha for a second night in a row. And it was even better than our first yummy experience. We highly recommend the Peking Guinea Pig, quinoa tabuleh, the garden vegetable ceviche (seriously, why isn’t that more of A Thing?), and the alpaca carpaccio. If you have any room left over, their chocolate souffle was delicious, but ALL their desserts looked amazing.
Jack’s is an Australian restaurant that has amazing breakfast choices. We in fact constantly skipped out on our hotel’s free (and perfectly good!), breakfast buffet to eat at Jack’s instead. I love their pancakes, and Mike digs their huevos rancheros.
Morena Peruvian Kitchen
The food at Morena is as colorful as it is tasty. We had a glorious lomo saltado, a nice causa (a muy popular Peruvian potato dish), and Megan’s favorite: fried bananas for dessert.
No, this isn’t a museum. Museo del Pisco is actually a bar that makes some of the best Pisco Sours and Chilcanos (Pisco + ginger ale — their variation had a little Chili kick and a guava flavor — it was amazing). If you go at night they may have a live band playing. But we suggest walking up the stairs to the quieter dining space and sitting at the bar. It was a lot of fun to watch the bartender slinging drinks made with some of the well-labeled, obviously home-made tinctures and infusions on the shelves.
Those were our favorite restaurants in Cusco, and since we can’t wait to go back, we’d love to hear your recommendations if you have any!