In the last 10 years the demand for luxury travel to Peru has significantly grown. Nowadays it’s not just a vacation spot for hardy backpackers and hikers, but a destination that serves travellers seeking a higher level of service and comfort. With the majority of international visitors heading to the heartland of the Inca Empire – the City of Cusco, high up in the Andes has seen an influx of high-end and innovative eateries catering to the more discerning traveller.
Although there are literally hundreds of restaurants to choose from, only a handful actually make the grade. If you are planning on staying in the city for a few nights here is a guide to the very best 5 fine dining restaurants in Cusco.
By Paul Jones.
Located in Cusco’s main square Plaza de Armas – above the rather un-Peruvian McDonalds restaurant – Limo is a popular draw for tourists and locals alike. Offering views across the plaza, the 70 seat restaurant is split into two distinct areas: the Balcony and the Comedor.
With daily deliveries of fresh seafood brought in from Lima and Arequipa, Limo is one of the best places to enjoy a Peruvian ceviche and even a Japanese sushi. During high-season advanced bookings are recommended.
Portal de Carnes 236, 2nd Floor, Plaza de Armas, Cusco
Although commonly mistaken for an Italian restaurant, Cicciolina’s offers a wide range of international and local dishes that incorporate their own unique twist. The restaurants décor is warm and attractive with a feel that is unpretentious and inviting.
Diners can choose to sit either in the bar area (at tall tables) or relax in the elegant main restaurant. With an open kitchen and waiters busily working the floor, Cicciolina’s has an atmosphere that is rarely found in many restaurants in Cusco.
Calle Triunfo 393 2nd Floor, Cusco
The Inka Grill Restaurant
The Inka Grill was one of the first up-market restaurants in Cusco, serving up innovative novoandina and international dishes for more than 15 years. For visitors not wanting to venture very far, the restaurant is easy to find and centrally located on the corner of Plaza de Armas and Calle Plateros.
The menu heavily features dishes that utilize ingredients sourced locally, including organic salads and vegetables from the nearby Sacred Valley of the Inka’s. For a traditional take on a classic dish try their quinoa risotto.
Portal de Panes 115, Plaza de Armas
Greens Organics Restaurant
Although the name might suggest that this is a vegetarian restaurant, it actually refers to the restaurants ethos to provide a menu that uses organically grown produce. Recently refurbished, the décor of the restaurant is fresh and colourful with an emphasis on using recycled products. Look out for the lamp shades at the bar ingeniously made from old Inca Cola bottles.
There is plenty to choose from on the menu; but Greens is most famous for its inventive salads like their Spring Salad, made with roasted baby beets, grilled fennel, caramelized pumpkin and chestnuts.
Santa Catalina Angosta 135, Piso 2, Plaza de Armas
Created by Peru’s celebrity chef Gaston Acurio, ChiCha offers a gourmet take on traditional food from the region of Cusco. Set on the second floor of a Spanish colonial Casona, the restaurant is large and spacious with a distinctively classy feel.
Lomo saltado with tacu tacu, adobo and causa are popular dishes on the menu. But for a special treat, you might want to try the pacha manca, a selection of Peruvian potatoes, broad beans, meats and cheese’s served in an earthenware pot – similar to those used in the Andean highland communities.
Plaza Regocijo 261, 2nd Floor, Cusco