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Jul 16, 2008 08:15 PM

Iquitos, Cusco, Machu Pichu, Lima food tips

Restaurants, food finds, street food? Special fruits or vegetables? I'm going for the first time on Monday. Anything to share on this is appreciated.

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  1. Cusco, Machu Pichu, and Lima are well covered on other threads. Just a note on Iquitos: fascinating place. Have drinks on the developed waterfront. For the real thing, explore the part of the city built in, on, and over the water--sometimes slimey, wet; but bustling and with some good food surprises and pleasures.

    1. Avoid the Frommer's / Lonely Planet places. In Cusco... Quinta Eulalia borders on disgusting. The Swiss owned cafe on the street with all the art galleries is decent (better than the other Cafe / Pastry shops around the main square), the MAP cafe is not bad Nuevo Andino (my first taste of Alpaca & Cuy).

      1. chinese food is great in Peru (Lima has one of the largest chinatowns in the world).... "Pato con frutas" is one of my favorites.. it's a sort of sweet and sour duck.

        Anticuchos are a must.. get them from a street vendor.. it's marinated, skewered, veal or beef heart -- sounds yucky.. but delicious.

        The andean fresh trout is wonderful...

        Ceviche is killer...

        There are over 200 types of potatoes in Peru.. so keep your eyes out for the SMALL cafes -- they're more likely to have the locally grown ingredients.

        oh.. freshly made cheese -- DIVINE.... I had some homemade from an older woman in the mountains outside of Huancayo... amazingly good.

        Eucalyptus honey is another treat you'll find in Peru...

        And the Aji -- (hot chilis) of which there are many varieties...


        1 Reply
        1. re: karmalaw

          Good reminder..... beware of the Chifas in Cusco / Sacred Valley... even the transplants from Lima would rather be deprived than eat at them.

          Second, in Pisaq there is a restaurant in the main square... if you are facing the giant trees... its on your right... the guide books recommend the Trout dish there.... avoid it at all costs... the fish was muddy, old, metallic, the sauce was way too oily & lukewarm.... definite tourist trap.

          Be careful about having Ceviche in the Sacred Valley... when you go to the Pisac market and see the week old fish, with clouded eyes sitting out in the sun... you will understand why.

          Enough negativity.... the things I liked most in Sacred Valley were the Salads... particularly the Palta (Avocado)... they grow some beautiful Greens & Asparagus in Peru... and the quality almost everwhere was outstanding.

          Oddly enough... the restaurant in the Sonesta Posada at Urubamba was pretty good (there are somethings you will learn to avoid at breakfast buffets like the bacon & the tasteless Andean cheeses etc.,)... dinner was very tasty... I had Cuy in a Plum sauce that could be raved about in any fine restaurant in the Bay Area, Chicago, L.A. etc.... a good example of Peruvian-Chinese fusion.

          Finally.... French Fries were ubiquitous throughout Sacred Valley... but almost all versions were pretty bad... look for other preps of Potato.

          Overall... get very specific recommendations from Chowhounders because I can tell you that Peru is not a place to nosh around via the Guide Books or randomly stopping at places.

        2. Have a look at our Lima Restaurant Reviews on the South American Board of Chow at Go to La Mar for lunch. And go to Rodrigo (de Rodrigo Conroy), Av. Francisco de Paula 231, Miraflores, fono 446-0985: Our rating: 9/10. This may well be our favorite restaurant in Lima. For a much longer version of our LIma experience go to our blog and do a search for "Lima" at Enjoy Peru

          1. Ceviches at La Mar in Lima is a must ( Other than Lima, you will probably only find trout elsewhere.

            Prickly Pears / Tuna in Peru is much2 better there, of course, so make sure to get those!
            If you're adventurous make sure you try some Cuy (


            Also, try some alpaca meat if you can find a good place! Pachapapa in Cuzco had an AMAZING alpaca anticucho (


            Also, if you drink - make sure to try some Pisco Sours and a cold bottle of Cusquena Negra (

            8 Replies
            1. re: burumun

              We're going to Lima on Saturday. Dinner Saturday night hopefully at Astrid y Gaston. No firm plans on Sunday yet, the possibilities are Brujas de Cachiche, Costananara 700, and Jose Antonio (mostly because many restaurants are closed on Sunday). Again, no real plans for Monday lunch and then Monday dinner is at Huaca Pucllana. Tuesday's lunch is at Rosa Nautica (more for the view than the food). Recommendations for other restaurants on Sunday would be appreciated and particular items to try at the restaurants are also welcome. Cost isn't a factor and we would rather try many appetizers rather than have a hefty entree. The goal is to try as many dishes as possible without getting sick (not overeating, but diarreah). No constraint on what we eat (guinea pig sounds fun!). We're only in Lima until noon Tuesday. We're staying at Miraflores Park Hotel while we're in Lima. Any dim sum recommendations (is it authentic, does it some kind of Peruvian spin)?

              1. re: Ericandblueboy

                Sunday lunch should be at La Mar is a real Limeno happening. Make sure you have a reservation. (Have a look at our Lima Restaurant Reviews on the South American Board of Chow at you don't have to worry about an important meal for dinner Sun. night. Just have a light meal at your hotel. For Monday lunch, I'd suggest another of the seafood restaurants. Fish is generally eaten at lunch only, by the way. I wouldn't recommend you go for dim sum in Lima. The dim sum you have in your home town is probably better. On the other hand, Japanese restaurants (not just sushi and sashimi) are very good. Have fun.

                1. re: aledm

                  No web-site for La Mar. I guess we'll have to call for reservation? I think there's a Japanese restaurant in Larco Mar that's good, maybe have lunch there on Monday?

                  1. re: aledm

                    Hi aledm... You may already be here in Peru, but I would not recommend the Japanese restaurant at Larco Mar. If you are looking for good Peruvian-Japanese go to Toshiro's in San Isidro. Toshiro is a long-time Lima favorite and he offers a first class experience. Hanzo is very good too. As is Matsuei (which is the restaurant famous for being once co-owned by Nobu).
                    That's my 2 centavos...

                    1. re: aledm

                      Ah, but I have to worry about Sunday dinner in Lima. I arranged a long layover on my return from Cusco so I could have a leisurely dinner in Lima, and now I see that most restaurants are closed Sunday nights. So, where does one go? I see conflicting information on hours at Huaca Pucllana. I've written re: a reservation, and I'll see what happens. That was my first choice, for the setting, despite mixed reviews. Surely there must be some place to eat on a Sunday night.

                      And what about Chifas? That's one thing I won't be getting the best of in Cusco.


                      1. re: Peter Cherches

                        Emergency over. Just got a confirmation from Huaca Pucllana, so they're open Sunday nights.

                        1. re: Peter Cherches

                          I had the cuy at Huaca Pucllana. Very fatty, no meat....I've had better cuy elsewhere. Huaca Pucllan is fantastic settinng, enjoy.

                          1. re: Ericandblueboy

                            When I finally went on a vacation a few years ago to take my Colombian wife around Peru with a Peruvian colleague and his wife, we had cuy in restaurants in tourist cities (we wenty to places in Peru where we didn't work). It was all bone and very, very little meat, and not good at all - and tediously expensive. Then last year while working in the coffee growing area of Cajamarca, Peru, farmers served us cuy - huge, meaty and delicious. My real first time eating what cuy can be: really, really good. The downside was that on one day we had to eat three cuy meals in three communities along with lots of ronpopo (a strong, sweet pisco drink mixed in buckets with lots of sugar and hand whipped egg whites). Three cuy meals between 730 am and 100 pm. In spite of our complaints, that was really good and memorable cuy.