By Maureen Santucci
Although Lima is known to be the best place in Peru for going out to eat, it goes without saying that you might also get hungry while you are in Cusco as well. Though the city is small, it has many restaurants of all types and price ranges, depending on your tastes and your budget.
That being said, by international standards, nowhere in Cusco is truly expensive. Among the higher priced places to check out are MAP cafe in the Plaza de Nazarenas, Cicciolinas on Triunfo, Divina Comedia on Pumacurco and Marcelo Batata on Calle Palacio. All of these offer a variety of cuisine to choose from. A special plus at Divina Comedia, which offers French cuisine with a Peruvian twist, is a really nice bottle of French wine for 60 soles.
If you want to try traditional Peruvian food such as guinea pig, Pacha Papa in San Blas Square is a good choice. This is middle range in budget with tasty food prepared well. The Muse on Triunfo offers both Peruvian and International food, including simple but yummy burgers, sandwiches and salads. The Real McCoy on Plateros is an English pub/restaurant with full English breakfast and standard English favourites for lunch and dinner including the best curry in town. Both The Muse and The Real McCoy offer low to medium price range choices.
For those on a budget, two other excellent choices, although not Peruvian cuisine, are Justina’s and Tapas Barcelona. Justina’s is quite simply the best pizza in a town where so many restaurants offer it you might be confused as to what country you are in. The ambiance is cosy so you may have trouble getting a seat on busy nights. It is worth making the effort, especially for wine priced at 6 or 7 soles for a generous glass.
Tapas Barcelona is, not surprisingly, a Spanish tapas bar. The plates are reasonably priced and delicious. They offer some specials such as a 15 sole lunch including soup, main and a beverage which can be wine or their homemade sangria. The wine here is also quite reasonably priced, always one of my personal prerequisites for landing on my short list of best places to eat.
Places to go for coffee and dessert are somewhat more difficult to find. La Bondiet has two locations, one on Plateros and the other on Heladeros, and offers a nice selection of cakes and pastries.
My favourite, however, has to be Cafe Dos x 3 on Calle Marques. It feels like it should be a musician/artist hangout which isn’t surprising considering the Cusco school of fine arts is right next door. For me, this is the best coffee in Cusco, with some great dessert options. The best part, though, is the charming and completely unpretentious owner, Gustavo.