The Cusco Gastronomic Scene

July 12th, 2010

Cusco feels like it has been reborn since the re-opening of Machu Picchu and the end of the tourist dry-spell. Business is booming once again as the hordes arrive in the Inca capital to visit the region’s star attraction. But seeing Cusco’s great archaeological legacy is done during the day… so what’s a visitor to at night?

Cusco night-life never stands still, it continuously re-invents itself. There are always new haunts to check out, and the old ones never fail to draw you back. Despite is location huddled between the high peaks of the Andes far away from the rest of the world, Cusco is a cosmopolitan city with travellers and residents from all over the world. You see this in the streets, the open spaces, the cafes, the restaurants and in the wild night-life – rich diversity, different tastes, foreign and local.

The Cusco Gastronomic Scene

For many people great food is essential for a memorable trip. For those who missed out on a lengthy culinary stay in Lima, don’t pass up what Cusco has on offer.

Lima’s best chefs have decided it’s time to take a chance on the imperial city and have either opened restaurants or made alliances. This is the case of Gastón Acurio and his new restaurant Chicha, and Oscar Velarde who has partnered with La Cicciolina.

Chicha, Gastón Acurio

Causa Mixto – Chicha, Gastón Acurio

Also part of the exquisite repertoire not to be missed include Coque Ossio’s restaurant Limo, and Sicilian chef Elio Guliano’s Cosa Nostra. Here on the second floor of a building on Plateros street, far from his Mediterranean home he serves up authentic fare of various pastas with fish, seafood and meats.

Another originality in these parts is La Mammacha, which serves a delicious fusion of Italian and Andean food, such as guinea pig lasagne and alpaca carpaccio.

To this, and the already ample supply of Cusco cuisine characterized by novoandina food represented by the likes of Inka Grill and Incanto, are added examples of Asian food from India to Thailand.

Al Grano has offered Asian cuisine for years now with dishes like lemon verbena chicken curry and Thai red beef curry.

Another option for not only a great meal but some light entertainment in the form of theatre is Divina Comedia, which in a creative montage by French owner Joel Evrad unites the culinary arts with those of music and drama. The menu has options for all tastes, from Spanish tapas of jamón serrano, Andean brochette alpaca and lamb ribs with risotto al pesto.

Cusco’s best hotels also offer culinary options and might be a pretext to enjoy their luxury accommodations. Such is the case with the Monasterio hotel that has renovated its menu. Chef Mariano Takinami with his Japanese influence presents a number of original creations based on local ingredients, such as alpaca with wasabi emulsion and salmoned-trout with passion fruit and caramel sauce. Hotel Casa Cartagena also offers an appealing menu that is worth taking a look at.

Don’t miss part two: The Cusco Bar SceneSubscribe by Email, Like on Facebook, or Follow on Twitter

Adapted from an article in Spanish by María Helena Tord for El Comercio. Photos property of their respective restaurants.

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