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Restaurants & Bars

Cusco and Lima Report

FoodDude2 | Oct 27, 201511:59 AM

So I thought I would write a post trip report as Chowhound has very little information on Peru. We spent 4 nights in Cusco and another 4 days in Lima with a 4 day trek to MP in between.

Our first afternoon in Cusco was spent wandering the city center and we stumbled upon a festival where we ate some delicious chicharones with boiled potatoes, fried yucca, and a spicy green salsa.

The first night I spent in the hotel room as I was feeling the effects of the altitude but my wife and sister-in-law chowed down on some pollo ala brasa and caldo de gallina (chicken noodle soup) at a place near our hotel.

Day two was spent eating at the San Pedro Market where we stopped at a stand and had lunch. Everyone got the soup of the day (a vegetable soup) and I ordered the fried trout with rice and my wife ordered the lomo saltado. Shortly after the meal, my sister-in-law became very sick and we had to go back to the hotel.

Luckily for me, my sister-in-law is a trooper and we made our way to Gaston Acurio's Chi Cha for dinner. This meal was fantastic. We ordered the grilled octopus with elderberry sauce, corn ravioli, stuffed and fried peppers with ground beef, and the chifa style roast pork sandwich and the pineapple panna cotta for dessert. Everything was delicious with the octopus and ravioli as the two standout dishes. My wife and I split these dishes as my S-I-L mainly watched us eat.

That evening, however, the soup from the market at lunch caught up with me and I joined by S-I-L in the bathroom all night long. Luckily, we had brought medication from the U.S. and immediately started taking it and within 24 hrs we were both OK. The next day was spent mainly recuperating in the hotel as we did not want to further upset out stomaches before the trek the next day.

The food on the trek was excellent and we were served 4-5 course meals for lunch and dinner. We used Alpaca Expeditions and highly recommend them.

When we returned from the trek, we had a celebratory late dinner at Gaston Acurio's Papachos, which is his version of a burger restaurant. I had the Anticuchera burger, which the waiter said was the spiciest burger on the menu, and it was excellent. The onion rings were also very good. 6 of us ate dinner here and everyone enjoyed it. As this was a post-trek meal, we were all very happy to scarf down on some burgers.

The following day we went back to Lima, which is where our best meals of the trip were.

First up was lunch at La Mar, which is also a Gaston Acurio restaurant. It was fantastic but it was a Sunday afternoon and we had a 75 minute wait at the bar. We ordered the ceviche sampler, the causa with fried shrimp, a tacu tacu with stir fried seafood, the broiled scallops with parmesan, and a coconut mousse dessert. Our favorite ceviche was the Nikkei, which is an Asian inspired version. The tacu tacu was also a surprise hit dish.

We quickly realized that it is very hard to eat two big meals when the ceviche lunches usually take 2 hours and we tend to order too much to reasonably be hungry for dinner.

The next day we had a Peruvian sushi lunch at Edo Sushi, which was disappointing and not worth hitting up. This was a spur of the moment decision and all three of us agreed it was good but not worth seeking out on a trip.

For dinner we went to Amaz, which specializes in Amazonian ingredients. My wife and I enjoyed it. We ordered the giant amazon snails with tapioca pearls, a shrimp and mushroom in butter sauce, a dried shrimp soup with smoked ham and noodles, the grilled pache (giant Amazonian fish) wrapped in banana leaves, the smoked pork ribs and a cassava cake dessert. Our favorite dishes were the shrimp and mushrooms and the snails. The others were good but not special. The cassava cake was also nothing special. Overall, it was good and an interesting meal but not amazing.

Our next two days we ended up eating at El Mercado twice for lunch and La Lucha for a light dinner. El Mercado was our favorite restaurant of the whole trip. A good tip is to show up when they open around 12:30 and you will be seated immediately. Between our two visits there we ordered 3 ceviches, a tiradito, grilled octopus, an amazing special of fried langoustines with a seafood tamale in this incredible yellow aji seafood sauce, seafood raviolis in an amazing seafood cream sauce, and picarones (fried sweet potato doughnuts) in a fig honey sauce. Everything was extremely good with the tiradito exotico (special board) that included sea urchin, scallops, clams, and fish, the fried langoustine with seafood tamale (special board), and the seafood ravioli as the 3 ultimate must order dishes. The fried langoustine and seafood tamale was so good that it was the number 1 reason we returned the following day for lunch, which is something we rarely do on a vacation. The picarones for dessert were also incredible and we ordered them on both trips.

At La Lucha, I ordered the roast pork (lechon a la lena) and the carne asada (roast beef with gravy) with the aceituna (olive) sauce and the orange aji sauce as well as an order of fries. My wife ordered the roast chicken (pollo a la lena) and the chicken, pineapple, and cheese sandwiches. She preferred the roast chicken. The fries were also very good as were the frozen juices.

The only other recommendation I have is to get a stuffed churro at Manolo, which is near Kennedy Park in the center of Mirraflores.

Overall, the best food of the trip was at the fancier restaurants. Lima has incredible food options and the city itself grew on us the longer we were there. We had a reservation at Maido that we ended up canceling as we enjoyed the cevicherias so much that we wanted to focus our eating on them. I also had recommendations to try Pachipapa in Cusco as well as Punta Azul, La Picanteria, Central, and Astrid and Gaston in Lima. Also, Uber is now available in Lima, which makes the taxi situation way easier.

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