Whatever your budget, you can look forward to enjoying some truly memorable meals in Cusco!
Quintessentially Cusqueño (or Peruvian) foods
Chicharrón (crispy pork)
Cuy al horno (guinea pig)
Eating guinea pigs was a privilege of the Incan nobility, though the rodent's culinary history actually goes back millennia.
Chiriuchu (this dish defies translation!)
Chiriuchu originated in Cusco and is without doubt the city's most iconic traditional dish.
If you want to go super authentic while in Cusco, I would say to try any of the caldos – caldo de gallina (chicken soup) being the most accessible, but if you want to be really adventurous, then you might try a caldo de cabeza (sheep's head soup) instead!
Choclo con queso (corn with cheese)
Papas a la huancaína (creamy egg and potato)
In Cusco, vegetarians and vegans can, for once, feel that they're eating just as well as the meat-eaters!
Aguadito de quinua (quinoa soup)
Picarones (Peruvian doughnuts)
Be sure to try a picarone while in Cusco! You can just pick one up in a market while strolling around the city.
Fine dining in Cusco
Chicha por Gaston Acurio
El Tupay specialises in Peruvian fusion cuisine.
Morena Peruvian Kitchen
The best mid-range restaurants
There are so many great places to eat all around the centre. I would just stay away from the ultra-touristy places (you’ll know them when you see them), that tend to have boring same-old food, bad pizza (don’t be fooled by the wood fire in the corner!) and bad service. Keep your eyes peeled for places with trendier décor, innovative menus, and of course, a full house.
Best Peruvian food
If you’re thinking like a local, then the go-to places for some of the classics are La Moqueguana for cuy , San Antonio in Saylla (south of the city) for chicharrón , and Don Belisario for chicken.
Best plant-based food
Green Point is definitely regarded as the vegan restaurant in Cusco these days, and they also offer a lunchtime set menu for S/15-18, which is consistently good.
Did you know that your digestive system slows down a little at high altitude? It might be a good idea to eat plant-based meals when you arrive in Cusco and are acclimatising.
Green Point! Man, I love it, and many people love their kombucha. Chia Vegan Kitchen is also great (I like that the main course is between S/30-40 – I thought it was going to be more). I also like El Encuentro , but this is just a S/9 menu option. The place is quite charming for the price though, and they have a yummy salad bar.
Top tips for vegetarians and vegans in Cusco
Best comfort food
It has so many options for breakfast and lunch, and their dishes are huge! I never finish one meal just by myself. I think prices are around S/25-S/45.
Cusco's food markets
I love having breakfast at San Pedro Market: fresh fruits and the ladies are incredibly warm! Visit Govinda Lila – a little food stall on the corner of San Blas Market. She’s famous locally!
The best desserts, breads, coffees and drinks
Cusqueño chefs often like to reinvent familiar desserts using local staples, like making cheesecake with sweetcorn!
Chuta (traditional bread)
I don't know myself about the best coffee, though I once heard Three Monkeys was the best. My favourite cafés are Xapiri and Catfetin Cat Cafe (but the latter is for the cats!). I have it on good authority from a coffee snob that D’Wasi has the best coffee. Their two locations also have great atmosphere. I had coffee at the Piedra & Sal Restaurante , inside the Antigua Casona San Blas Hotel, not long ago, and really enjoyed it! I also like Cercania Coffee (and great desserts too!).
Chicha morada (corn juice)
Chicha de jora (maize beer)
Avoid alcohol when acclimatising
Cafés and restaurants with the best views
Although quite small, it has a great spot for people-watching in their balcony seats on the second floor, which look out over Carmen Alto in San Blas.