Cicciolina's Alfresco Lunch in Chinchero: The Best of Peruvian Cuisine
Following some excellent demonstration of weaving and dyeing techniques at the Center for Traditional Textiles' main courtyard, our group was guided to another enclosed yard area where we were served an alfresco lunch at long tables topped by colorful clothes and under the shade of large umbrellas. The lunch, catered by "Cicciolina Restaurant" from Cusco, was an excellent array of Peruvian dishes from appetizers to sweets and the servers couldn't be more pleasant or efficient.
I tried just a little of almost everything -- and there were a few things I tried more than just a little -- such as the Beetroot & Sweet Potato chips with guacamole; the appetizers of Andean rice with smoked trout; and quinoa with herbed yogurt salsa. Entrees included Alpaca terrine with caramelized onions and Aguaymanto chutney; oven baked quinoa-crusted chicken with Huancaina; vegetable & white wine quiche with arugula; Cuzquenan solterito; corn, fava beans, fresh cheese & herbs; potato & quinoa salad; fresh avocado. There were just 2 desserts offered but each one was so good! The homemade "wild sauco" cheesecake and banana muffins with Manjar were as tasty as I've ever had. Since there were menus on each table, I kept one which is why I can name all these dishes! (See photo 3.)
Everything was served family style and each table had huge platters of the tasty food for everyone at the table to share. Nearly all the ingredients in the meal were new to my taste buds, but I can truthfully say that this was my favorite meal while in Peru. Based on the quality of this meal, I would be very likely to visit their restaurant in Cusco.
As the Center for Traditional Textiles in Chinchero is said to be at an altitude of about 12.500 ft., several people were having more than a little difficulty breathing. More than just a few of us were trying out the Mate de Coca tea which is reputed to help ease this condition. However, it did not seem to make a difference in the way I was feeling. Read more about Mate de Coca tea in my local customs tip here.
Our time spent here was probably 1 1/2 to 2 hrs. and was quite a learning experience. From here we would make our way to Huayllabamba to our hotel and base camp for 4 nights and when we would next visit Cusco, our first experience with the city would be in the historic Plaza de Armas.
Favorite Dish: The vegetable and white wine quiche was particularly good and probably my favorite dish. The dishes using quinoa were also tasty. Another of my favorites was the beetroot & sweet potato chips with guacamole on the side; the chips were a big favorite with the kids on our tour. These types of chips can be found here in the US, but I had not previously tried them --- now I often buy them! Of course, everyone loved the desserts!
Sara, The Organic Cafe and Bistro: Nice Buffet in a Pleasant Setting
Just a very short distance from the Plaza de Armas, "Sara, The Organic Cafe and Bistro" was our pre-arranged lunch stop. The restaurant has an attractive, trendy-looking entrance just off a busy, narrow cobblestone street. Passing through the brightly painted lounge and bar area, our group was seated at a long table in a room with vaulted ceilings. After ordering drinks, we were invited to help ourselves to the nearby buffet.
The aim of this restaurant is to offer organic food and new, tasty ways. As I was still recovering from illness, I wasn't particularly hungry. I was still hesitant to try food that I felt might make me sick again -- so green salads, thin-skinned fruits, certain meats, and anything that might have been washed in local water for that matter had to be avoided. However, the Sara had a chicken soup that looked appealing and accompanied by a couple warm, soft Peruvian rolls, this made a very tasty (and safe) lunch for me. In fact, of the Peruvian food that I tried, my favorite selection was nearly always the soup with breads, or rolls.
Other choices on the buffet were crispy chicken tenders, a pasta dish, vegetables, salad, and some others that unfortunately I can't remember. Soft drinks (sodas), bottled water, and tea were offered too and dessert followed the meal.
Despite the fact that there was another large group lunching here, the service was very good. The restaurant also had an interesting decor which was artsy if not exactly cohesive. The ceiling was decorated with a meandering length of dyed corn husks in colors of pale blue, pink and yellow.
We enjoyed our brief interlude at the restaurant eating and enjoying the company of others before moving on to check into the Libertador Palacio del Inka hotel where we would be staying while in Cusco.
Favorite Dish: My favorite selection was the chicken soup and soft rolls, but the crispy chicken was also good!
Chifa Sipan: Chinese Peruvian Fusion
The Chinese influence is one of the factors (along with Spanish and Inca cuisine) which make Peruvian food so good. So it made sense to try out a 'Chifan' (literally 'eat rice') restaurant (as all Chinese restaurants in Peru are dubbed).
Chifa Sipan was only a short walk from our apartment, so very convenient. The atmosphere was noisy, A TV was on in the background (we thought to discourage Peruvian Flute bands from panhandling!).
We ate chicken, duck and fried dim sim dishes, accompanied by fried rice. All were tasty and filling and also keenly priced.
We liked it enough to come back a 2nd time during our stay.
Conveniently, one can read the menu on the window!Related to:
- Food and Dining
Inti Raymi Restaurant Pizzeria: Comprehensive menu!!!!!
The sign attracted us. We could choose from, well, pretty much anything! Whilst we avoided pizza, we stuck to the local dishes.
As always in Peru, the Quinoa soup was delicious, hearty and warm on a cold night.
They do a couple of different versions of cuy here too (the roasted one is better than the deep fried variety). This is a pretty good place to try out your first guinea pig!
Service is smart, though the tables are close together.
Overall good value and tasty.
And you can get your Laundry done!!Related to:
- Food and Dining
TIKA Bistro Gourmet: Local - with Asian flavours!
We were walking down from San Blas towards Plaza de Armas, and a couple of blocks from San Blas Square we spotted the ‘TIKA Bistro Gourmet’ in a small backyard. There were a couple of tables outside, but it was too hot in the midday heat and we ended up inside the restaurant.
The specialty of the restaurant are dishes made from local ingredients – and combined with Asian flavours! It sounded a little weird, but the food was really tasty. We had a chicken dish with rice and a spicy Asian sauce... You must try their coca tea (‘mate de coca’), besides coca leaves it also contains lemon and lots of honey. Very nice for a sweet tooth like me…
Melody´s: Exquisite Indian & Thai curries, etc.
Melody´s is a tiny place just started 2 months ago, and run solely by it´s owner & chef Melody. You can tell Melody is quite an accomplished chef, most unassuming, sweet, pleasant and meticulous, starting out on her own, following her parent´s footsteps - both are chefs.
It has a limited menu of appitizers, mexican and curry dishes (Indian & Thai), and drinks (hot drinks, fruit juices, lassy). The place is very modestly decorated. It only has 4 small tables and a counter against one wall that serves as her work area. Hi-fi music from Bon Jovi and Cat Stevens played the two times we were there.
Since there are only 4 tables, your best bet is to go during non-peak hours, and/or be there when you´re not in a rush to eat. Order and leisurely spend time with an appetizer or a delicious fruit drink, listen to music while watching how focused Melody is as she goes about preparing your (custom ordered) meal so carefully and meticulously for you. As the only person running the place, I imagine she may not be able to accommodate a full house (of diners). Maybe, she´ll have to start taking reservations soon.
Favorite Dish: On our first visit, we had Indian-Hindu (vegetarian) curry and ChickenTikka curry ... after a glass each of the most luxuriously delicious thick mango lassy ... made from fresh mango (that Melody carves up to make it). We had the choice of spicyness - hot, medium or mild. I picked medium and my wife picked mild. She uses fresh red chili pepper to spicy it accordingly.
On our next visit, we had Thai red prawn curry and Thai lemon grass (vegetarian) curry ... after a glass each of similarly delicious thick lucuma lassy. I can understand if some would just go there for the fresh fruit juice-lassy ... and be done. The curry dishes were presented-served (as usual) like a work of art (see pictures).
What makes me rate the curries so highly ? I now live near Vancouver, BC, but I was born and raised in Singapore. So, I´ve had very discriminating tastes in curries, from the Singaporean, Malaysians, Indonesians, Thai, Sri Lankan, Northern & Southern Indian curries - cuisines, etc.. Even in my travels to Hong Kong, I know which Indian restaurants there serve great Indian cuisines. The curries at Melody´s is something to write home about !
Too bad we only had 2 days in Cuzco !
(Sorry, we didn´t have a chance to try her other appetizers and mexican dishes)Related to:
- Food and Dining
TakaTaun: Deliveries to my hotel
At 22PM we got hungry. We so a sign of food deliveries. They actualy get everything: alcohol, cigarettes,chinese,burgers,grills, pizzas...
We called them on the phone.
They told us we can order directly from their web site or call them by skype(wifi on my phone lol). When you get there you'll see its hard to get a cold beer there. Takataun actualy gave as ICE COLD beers.
Their web site is http://www.takataun.com
I warmly recomend the service.
Favorite Dish: No doubt anout it... The grill combo:
They told us its a big dish for 4 people.We were 4 hungry people and got-
2 Mixtet Brochette,1 Sauge Salame,5 Sauge 1 Suage Blood,2 Pork Chop,2 Grilled Steak and a Grilled Chicken,Kidney AND a great soup.
We paid 30$ for all of us, including 4 beers.Ice cold.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
- School Holidays
sumaq misky and nicks sports bar: after nearly a year on the road the best breakfast
there is something for everyone here, it says that it is the only alpaca speciallist in cusco, and the steaks are really something else compared to other alpaca experiences we have had. we only went in to use the wi fi in the morning, but ended up having the best breakfast for nearly a year and stayed all day in the bar section watching nfl all day sunday. their sunday ticket is a bit limited but they do get 3 matches at 12 and 3 at 3, and all 3 are on different tvs. in the evening i had an alpaca sirloin and sharon had crispy aromatic guinea pig and both dishes were presented like a 5 star restaurant. it was a shame we couldnt come back the next sunday but we had to go to bolivia to meet some friends.
Favorite Dish: favourite dish in the morning was the "unhealthy breakfast" thats what its called. the owner was telling me that he makes his own sausages and constantly looks for better bacon. but it was massive and very tasty and we didnt have to eat again until dinner
sumaq misky and nicks sports bar: dont miss the pisco
it costs a little more to eat there, but the kitchen is open and the portions are big. when we were there, we had to wait for half an hour, which wasnt a problem as they have a very comfortable bar on the side of the restaurant, but better if you book a table. a good selection of local and gringo food. the bar alongside has 4 tellies showing evry sport you could ask for. massive england is playing as the owner is english and is very happy when england wins, so happy to buy us a drink when we were there!!!!!!!!!!!!
Favorite Dish: cuban mojito with 7 year havana club in a long glass
Sumaq Misky: only place in cusco to see the football!
This is a restaurant and sports bar combined. Food is fantastic offering selection of local and gringo food. Always guaranteed to have rugby football american football or baseball on one of his 3 TVs.
Run by expat Nick and his wife when he moved over here from the UK.
Favorite Dish: all day breakfast!Related to:
- Work Abroad
- Hiking and Walking
Moni: Moni - Good Vegan Place
This is really a cafe rather than a restaurant. I decided to try this out for lunch as it was a sunday and they would be closed for dinner.
I had a peruvian appatizer with a yellow sauce. I think it may have been made of Yuca. The main course was a spicy vegetarian curry with rice. This was very nice and filling.
I had a generous serving of the tea to try and kill by altitude related head ache
Favorite Dish: The veg curry is definitly the best choice.
They do not speak much english, so just brush up you spanish if you want something custom prepared.
Aldea Yanapay: Cosy little restaurant in the heart of Cusco
Decorated by childrens own creative work, this place is absolutly adorable. Its like stepping into memory lane back to your own childhood. The personal welcomes you with these funny hats, and there are hats for everyone.
The food is nice and the drinks are too. If youre in cusco make sure to pay a visit to this place. Even the profit goes to social project "aldea yanapay"Related to:
- Food and Dining
- Budget Travel
Cafe COSITAS: Excellent Food for a Good Cause!
COSITAS is a non-profit restaurant with excellent food. They are related to two social projects - one with street children & orphans and the other one providing professional formation for women.
You can buy jewelleries, puppets and bags from the projects at the same place.
Opposite the restaurant you will find the 13 (!) angled stone in the Inka wall.
Favorite Dish: The carpaccio de lomo de alpaca and the andean tiramisu were delicious! They have great hot chocolate and café as well.Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Arts and Culture
- Food and Dining
Nuna Raymi Restaurante: Good food & friendly service
This nice cozy restaurant is around the corner of the main plaza in Cusco city.
You have to walk up to the 2nd floor but his restaurant cafe Bar offers friendly excellent service and very good food. If you do not mind smaller portion, you can request the touristic menu, which is of excellent value at 15 soles as of Feb 2010. It includes tea, a small entree & a dessert.
This place speaks very good english & I had eaten there twice during my stay in Cusco. On the second night, we also saw another table which we overheard they were also tourists and had returned many times & they enjoyed the food there.
Apu Tayta: Cafe, Pizzeria, Restaurant
Another hidden gem, just off Plaza de Armas. Although this restaurant doesn't give you the view, but comparing its price to all others clustered around the Plaza, this place is a champ! Good food, wide-variety of dishes at reasonable price. The restaurant front might look a little shady and worn-out (see pics), but once you step inside, you'll be greeted with an array of homemade pastries. Start out your meal with hot soup, I strongly recommend the smooth Creme de Maize (corn soup). For entree, you have choices of local treats, trouts, pasta, and pizza. Don't forget to finish it up with a dessert, their apple pie (pye de manzana) was one of the juiciest I've ever had!
We didnt really think of coming here until we started mapping out a plan of our independant walking...more
While in Cusco, we would spend 2 nights at the "Libertador Palacio del Inka" hotel. It's a rather...more
Very nice hotel including all amenities, even wi-fi. Recommend the tours booked via Sergio at the...more
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