When you are traveling, there is nothing better than to eat local food to know the culture of the place. Some countries have even become well known because of its cuisine, Thailand and Vietnam for example.
Local food in Peru is heavy, nourishing, and inexpensive. However, most travelers know that eating local food everyday for the rest of your stay can be a bit too much. To avoid that, they either cook their own meals in their hostels, or have international food to break the monotony.
If you are in Cusco and you want French, Italian, or some other international cuisine for dinner, check out our recommendations.
Backpacker La Boheme and Crêperie (French)
This creperia in the trendy San Blas neighborhood is well-known for its crepes. Founded and staffed by French people, their savoury and sweet crêpes are definitely a must. Their French-Peruvian crêpes use a lot of local ingredients like pisco (liquor native to Peru and Chile) or cañihua flour (same family as quinoa) and in-season fruits, such as sauco or aguaymanto (berries), avocado, passion fruit, and mango.
The Crêperie is located in a backpackers hostel with the same name, which gives an international ambiance to the area. If you’re hankering for French food made by French cooks, La Boheme is definitely a place to check out in Cusco.
Address: Calle Carmen Alto 283, San Blas, Cusco
Carpe Diem Pizza (Italian)
There are many pizzerias in Cusco, you can see them all over the city. For a real, authentic, Italian-style pizza, however, there’s no place to be but Carpe Diem.
Located in Calle Plateros, Carpe Diem has consistently been called the best pizza in the city, not only by food bloggers and critics, but also by Italian travelers themselves. The pizzeros and the waiters are Italians, and they make their own pastas, too.
“The Only Real Italian Pizza is Here” says their sign by the door. They’re definitely telling the truth!
Address: Calle Plateros 361, Cusco
When you think of Mexico, what comes to mind? The mariachi, maybe, with their music and signature costumes. Another would be tacos, which has always been an icon of Mexican cuisine.
Mexican food is not so common in Cusco, and most of the places offering it has forgettable dishes, to say the least. The best one, however, is everything a Mexican restaurant should be. Tacomania, located in San Blas, consistently gets good reviews from travelers. Aside from tacos (their best offering), they also have burritos, enchiladas, and chimichanga, among others.
The best thing about the food aside from its taste is that the servings are big. You can have sides of your choice, too. Tacomania only opens from 6 pm onwards.
Address: Calle Tandapata 917, San Blas, Cusco
La China (China)
Some might say that Chinese food is far from being international in Peru. After all, it’s been in the country for centuries, and has morphed into what is called chifa, or Peruvian-Chinese food. Since it’s introduction to the country in the 19th century, it has undergone “Peruvianization.”
Be that as it may, chifas are still identified as Chinese, especially since they have Chinese owners, workers, ingredients, and the restaurant signs are usually in Chinese as well.
Of the many chifas in Peru, one stands out from the rest: La China. It is well known for its location (blocks from Plaza de Armas), charm, and of course, food, both in presentation and taste.
Aside from its highly-popular Peruvian-Chinese dishes, La China also offers Peruvian classics. Definitely a place to check out while you’re in Cusco.
Address: Calle Santa Teresa 364, Cusco
Braza Brava Rodizio (Brazil)
Most travelers who have been to Brazil are known to miss its food even months after they left the country. Brazilian food is really memorable, and it has found its way to Cusco!
Braza Brava is a churrascaria located near Plaza de Armas. It is a place where meat is cooked in churrasco style, or barbecue. It serves food rodízio-style, which means it’s an eat-all-you-can restaurant where you pay a fixed price and waiters bring you samples of food, usually meats on a skewer. You take as much as you want, until you tell the waiter to stop bringing you food.
Address: Calle Portal de Harinas 191, Cusco
Japanese food never did become as popular as Chinese food in Peru, despite the number of Japanese immigrants here. In fact, Peru has the second largest Japanese community in Latin America, second only to Brazil.
Kintaro, which means “the golden boy” and which was derived from Japanese folklore, offers dishes that are both tasty and authentically Japanese. A must is the Inka roll, which uses fresh and local ingredients, with avocado, fresh trout, and cucumber.
Address: Calle Plateros 334, Cusco
The Meeting Place (American)
American fastfood chains are all over Peru. If you have a hankering for American food but don’t want McDonald’s or Burger King, there’s just one place to go to: The Meeting Place in San Blas.
Founded by an American missionary and run by volunteers, The Meeting Place offers the best American-style Belgian waffles, coffee, and hamburgers in Cusco. The best thing? Their profits go to programs that serve Cusco’s needy.
Address: Plazoleta San Blas 630, San Blas, Cusco
There you go, seven restaurants that serve international food. Whether you want Italian, American, Mexican, or French food, Cusco has them all. This list is just the beginning, stay longer in Cusco and find out more!
What other ethnic restaurants can you recommend in Cusco?