Cusco is undoubtedly one of our favourite cities in South America – UNESCO site with beautiful architecture, postcard perfect plazas, rolling hills but most importantly unbelievable choices of both local and international cuisine. It was so hard to pick our preferred restaurants having spent almost three weeks in this city volunteering but here is a selection of some not so pricey gems we came across.
This enchanting French creperie in the bohemian San Blas district is not to be missed. All crepes are made to order. If you cannot choose from the endless variety of fillings, you can create one by yourself! Beware though – you may get lost amongst the myriad of options: smooth bechamel, crunchy walnuts, traditional Peruvian aji de gallina and juicy pears to name but a few. Pricing is definitely in the backpacker range at only 8 to 15 soles per crepe.
A tiny Mexican restaurant with huge flavoursome portions and menu choices of nachos or a four step build-your-own taco, enchilada or chimichanga. Our favourite had to the crisp and spicy chicken chimichanga. Again, pricing here is very affordable at about 20 soles per dish.
Don’t let the funny name put you off! An ‘English style’ curry house located right beside Tacomania, and apparently under the same ownership. Garlicky naan, hot curries (priced at about 25 soles), cool beers, low lighting and comfortable seating… what more can you want?
Open all day but famed for their huge breakfasts of pancakes, bacon and egg sandwiches or huevos rancheros. The place is proud of using the freshest ingredients, providing rich and exciting menu. And – quite often – one dish is sufficient for two people, with pricing from 15 to 25 soles per plate. The only downer of this delicious little spot is that if you visit at peak times you might have to wait 15 to 30 minutes to get a table.
Brave enough to eat a Guinea Pig? Generally speaking, you should be wary of where you order this local delicacy as it needs particular preparation and cooking time. It should take approximately 40 minutes to cook from time of order unless you have pre-ordered it earlier in the day which some restaurants allow. It can also be an expensive menu choice as some Peruvian restaurants are aware that it’s a popular dish amongst foreigners, therefore charge accordingly. Here’s the good news though – if you go to Plaza San Francisco on Sunday you can pick up a plate of Cuy with tasty sides for only 12 Soles! Okay, so technically this is not a restaurant but this is a super option for trying Guinea pig or ‘Cuy’ (called for the sound the little critter makes). Bargain!
To throw in a sneaky bonus recommendation number 6, Green Point is a great vegan option (and this comes from a couple of devoted carnivores!). With 3 course set lunch menus from only 12 soles and dinner menus from around 15 soles, you can’t go wrong here! Menus change daily depending on what fresh ingredients the kitchen get uses that day.
Some may tell you to go to Lima to get decent food, however Cusco has an overabundance of dining options. You only need to know where to look. Enjoy exploring the city’s narrow streets and most importantly – eat well! For even more information on this incredible city, check our complete Cusco city guide!