Dining Local in Cusco

So far I have not done many posts on dining, and the few I have done have mainly been general in nature so I was thinking that it is probably about time to offer some blogs with more specific dining options. We often times we take guests to some of our favorite dining locations when in Cusco, both local and touristic, so this will be the first of two blogs that will concentrate on dining in Cusco, this first one will be on local dining options and and will offer specific places to go to, for trying some of our favorite meals.

McDonalds in Cusco

McDonalds in Cusco

There are a wide variety of options for dining here in the Cusco Region, you can choose from gourmet, fusion, local and even several chain restaurants like Mc Donalds. With a few exceptions we generally prefer to dine at local establishments, as this is where you get a true feel for local life and these places tend to offer some of the best values as well.

When dining local here in Cusco there is one thing that should be considered, and something that often times stops tourists from trying these truly authentic eateries, that is how the food is prepared and handled, choosing the wrong location could easily result in the loss of a few days vacation due to stomach issues. To help out my readers I have assembled this list of local dining options, these are some of our favorite local places for a variety of typical Peruvian cuisines, and we not only visit them often, but we also have taken many of our guests to them and to this date, no one has gotten sick, so check them out if you are interested in sampling some local dining while visiting Cusco.

To make these locations as easy to find as possible I have included the address if available, street name and a photo of the store front.

Gustos Y Sabores

Gustos Y Sabores

Gustos Y Sabores – Av. Tullumayo (about 870)

This is what would be called a menu restaurant, what this mean here is that the restaurant has a menu of the day that is set, and currently at Gustos Y Sabores you can get an appetizer, a soup, a main dish and a drink for S/9.00 Soles (about $3.00 USD). With this menu of the day the appetizer, soup and drink are normally set and they generally have 3 to 4 choices for a main course, which usually include a beef, chicken and fish option. Generally the best time to arrive is between about 12:30 pm and 1:30 pm, if you arrive much later you will find that the main coarse selections may be limited.

El Dragon del Marquez

El Dragon del Marquez

El Dragon del Marquez – Calle Marquez

This is one of our favorite chifa restaurants, I know why come to Peru to have Chinese food? Well chifa is a Peruvian version of Chinese food and is considered to be Peruvian cuisine. According to some reading I have don the term chifa likely comes from a Chinese word “chiha” which if I remember correctly means something like “eat” or “good”, as this is what the early restaurant owners would call out to passers by, the locals interpreted it as chifa and associated it with this type of cuisine.

Chicharroneria Delicias

Chicharroneria Delicias

Chicharroneria Delicias – San Andres #470

Fried Pork, how can you go wrong here? Chicharron is another typical local food and is common everywhere, especially at the Sunday Markets, and our choice for the best chicharroneria in Cusco is “Chicharroneria Delicias. A plate of chicharron here will cost you S/12.00 Soles (about $3.50 USD) and comes with fried potatoes, mote (a type of corn) and some thinly sliced onions with some mint leaves added, a real treat for true pork lovers.

Los Angeles – Calle Santa Clara
and Grimaldos Chicken – Calle Santa Clara #315

Both of these restaurants offer pollo a la brasa which is rotisserie chicken, and another typical dish. I have listed two locations here as they are both equally good and actually just a few doors apart, so when we are in the area of the Plaza San Francisco and want pollo a la brassa, we tend to just choose the lest busy location at the time. As with many local dining options you will find this to be another economical meal with an 1/8th of a chicken, french fries and Soup or Salad (sometimes both) running you right around S/7.00 Soles (about $2.00 USD)

de fruta Madre

de fruta Madre

de fruta Madre – Calle Santa Clara

If you are looking for something light, or maybe just a sandwich then this might be a good place to stop in, it is a little more touristy, but someplace that I would still consider a local establishment. De fruta Madre offers a wide variety of fruit smoothies, empinadas (bread pockets filled with meats or cheese), sandwiches (I would recommend the Butifara), and other light options.

Mercado Central de San Pedro

Mercado Central de San Pedro

San Pedro Market (Mercado Central de San Pedro) – Calle Santa Clara & Cascaparo

My next two locations can both be found in the San Pedro market which is a place many tourists visit, but not many will actually eat here, and unless you have a guide with you (or the information below), eating here can be a gamble. No need to worry about my choices though, we have eaten at both on many occasions, both alone and with guests, and to date, no one has suffered any ill effects.

Mama Naty's

Mama Naty’s

Mama Naty’s – San Pedro market
Another menu of the day type restaurant, a bit more local than Gustos Y Sabores, but maybe a slightly better value, you will find that Mama Naty tends to serve truck driver size portions, so unless you are really hungry, my recommendation would be to split a plate between 2 people, odds are good that you will still get full even sharing.

Elvira's Picarones

Elvira’s Picarones

Elvira’s Picarones – San Pedro market
This is not actually an establishment, or even a stall. Elvira serves her picarones up from a small cart that is located in the middle of an isle. Now you are probably wondering what picarones are, well the short answer would be they are little fried rings of heaven, but the more correct description is that picarones are like doughnuts, but are made from pumpkin and sweet potato and served with a home made syrup poured over them. Warning! Doughnuts may never be the same after trying picarones.

Kanka Mirador & Restaurante

Kanka Mirador & Restaurante

Kanka Mirador & Restaurante – Av. Argentina Mza A Lote 11
This restaurant is one of the nicest and most expensive of my local dining choices, and actually qualifies as a tourist restaurant in my opinion, but the fact that tourists almost never go here though (unless they are with us) makes it easy to consider Kanka, a local establishment. Kanka serves a wide variety of typical dishes, but done to a gourmet level, and the average price on the menu is only about S/25.00 Soles (about $7.15 USD). One of the big pluses for tourists is that if you are interested in trying the typical Andean dish of cuy (guinea pig), this is the perfect place as their Kanka Special (Especial de Kanka) has ¼ of a cuy, a piece of Lechon, baked pasta, and a stuffed hot pepper, all for S/40.00 Soles (about $11.50 USD), and considering a cuy meal close to the main plaza will run you from S/60.00 to over S/100.00 Soles, the Kanka Special is a bargain.



Anticuchos – Av El Sol & 3S
One final option before I close this out, is a very typical street food called anticuchos, Anticuchos are basically like shish kabob, without the vegetables and so it is really just meat on a stick. While I do not know the name of the lady, you will find the best anticuchos in Cusco on the corner by Qorikancha in the evenings, I believe she sets up around 6pm. Anticuchos are a very typical Peruvian street food and sellers can often times be found around major bus stops in the evenings. Choices usually include beef, chicken, hot dogs, or sausages, but for a real authentic choice, try the beef heart (corizon), and don’t forget to add a little of the green hot sauce.

Well that wraps up this post and I hope you find it useful if interested in doing some local dining while in Cusco, and if you like this post and are planning a visit, follow my page as I will be following this blog up with a blog on more touristy dining options in Cusco.

If you are planning a trip here to Cusco and would like to take this blog with you for reference, you can save this blog to your apple device by first downloading and installing the free GPSmyCity app to your device, once this has been done then simply view this blog on your iPhone or iPad and click on the link below.


About Lyle

My wife and I owned and operated a Bed and Breakfast in Cusco Peru called GringoWasi from 2012 to 2018, the property was located in the small town of Huarocondo Peru, and about 30 minutes West of Cusco Peru. Currently we are living back in the US and are looking forward to our future travels.
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16 Responses to Dining Local in Cusco

  1. lorne says:

    We tried the Chifa you recommended and it was very good. The placed where they BBQ chicken on wood that you recommended was also excellent

  2. Kavita says:

    Any recommendations for Vegetarian?

    • Lyle says:

      We have had some guests that are vegetarian and they have mentioned a place on the NW side of Plaza San Fransisco allong Calle Tordo, but I dont remember the name. While there are a variety of peruvian dishes that are vegetarian, vegetarian restauraunts fall more under tourist dining than local. I do plan on listing one in my next post which will be on more tourist dining locations, but this may not be ready untill next month as we are currently busy and will also be taking a short vacation at the end of April.

  3. So glad I found this post! Have just arrived to Cusco and we were looking for some decent local options to try 🙂

  4. wwelvaert says:

    There’s a street vendor across the street from our house, just by the UNSAAC, nicknamed “tia veneno”. There’s never less than 20 students in front of her stand but I wouldn’t recommend it to foreigners, might not end well!

    A few places you might try are restaurante Camino Real (on Camino Real, of course), Sr. Panda (greasy chicken wings, right by paradero Amauta) and my buddy’s no-name S/.6 “Menu” restaurant on the little callejon directly across from the main entrance to Colegio Sta. Ana.

  5. James C. Paw says:

    Printed this blog out and went to two local spots mentioned here. Wife and I were very satisfied with the food and the price. Truly what locals ate!.

  6. Alex says:

    We are “Overlanders” coming from Seattle.

    We enjoyed your recommendations for the chicharroneria and San Pedro Market picarones with Elvira (such a sweet lady). Thank for Posting! Have you had the fried dough along southern side if Plaza de San Francisco?….SOOO GOOD.

    A question about cabañas, we’re looking for a place to spend Thanksgiving where we have our own kitchen with an oven. Do you know of any nice spots around the Cuzco area (we have our own car).

    • Lyle says:

      Glad you liked the post, and yes I have had the doughnuts on plaza San Francisco, good but they are not typical and they just recently started making those there.

      While we do know several accommodations in Cusco that we normally recommend to guests, I can not think of any that offer rooms with kitchens, Your best option is probably going to be to look on Airbnb or Booking.com

  7. jackie aresco says:

    Beginning to plan a trip to Cusco with my friends and cant wait to visit these spots!

  8. Tim says:

    Thanks for the post. I’ve been looking for a list of local restaurants in Cusco for awhile. Any updates since this is about 2 years old now? http://www.drtimothyburns.com

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