Machu Picchu

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Until recently, leaving Cusco for Machu Picchu, about 50 miles away, meant leaving behind avant-garde Peruvian cuisine. Yet thanks to recent trends, one can encounter cutting-edge meals along the Inca Trail. The opening of two excellent hotels in the 1990s – Inkaterra’s Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel and Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge – raised the town’s dining standards. Qunuq, the restaurant at the Sumaq Hotel, launched in late 2007, lifted the bar even higher. Still, most of the eateries in Machu Picchu Pueblo (an adjacent way station characterized by dive bars, tourist markets, and backpackers) line the two main roads – Avenida Imperio de los Incas and Avenida Pachacútec – and offer a range of eats, from pizza and buffets to French cuisine. And just as in Cusco, restaurant hawkers flood the streets, menus-in-hand, trying to lure you in with lunch specials and free drink offers.

Top Restaurants in Machu Picchu

Café Inkaterra

Located at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel, this upscale eatery takes traditional Andean cuisine and adds contemporary touches to create dishes like trout flavored with herbs and butter and alpaca tenderloin brochettes spiced with ají panca – all served beneath an Amazonian palm-thatched roof.

Inkaterra Machu Picchu Hotel, Ave. Imperio de los Incas; Km 10 Linea Ferrea Cusco,
Tags: expensive | smart splurge | culinary

El Huerto

En route to Machu Picchu, visitors frequently pass through the Sacred Valley town of Urubamba. Here, Rio Sagrado is one of the latest in a string of luxury resorts where cuisine takes center stage. At its restaurant, El Huerto, chef Claudia Canessa (the rare female chef at an haute Peruvian restaurant) takes a more rustic approach, incorporating a large variety of organic vegetables, spices, and fruits grown on the hotel's compound into ravioli, spaghetti, and other such dishes.

Km. 75.8, Carretera Cusco – Ollantaytambo, 800-237-1236, www.riosagrado.com
Tags: notable chef | hotel restaurant | peruvian | organic

Indio Feliz

Head to this plant-bedecked, bi-level restaurant for the best dining in Aguas Calientes. French chef Patrick Vogin and his Peruvian wife, Cannie, blend their respective native cuisines into a prix fixe menu, serving dishes like ginger chicken topped with Caribbean mustard and rum sauce.

Lloque Yupanqui 4, 011-51-84-211-090
Tags: moderate | views | culinary | prix-fixe

Manu

Menu items at this cozy jungle-theme joint (think walls strung with snakeskin) include wood-fired oven pizzas, crepes, and traditional Peruvian dishes. Grab a seat outside when the weather is nice.

Ave. Pachacútec 139, 011-51-84-211-101
Tags: budget | culinary | peruvian

Pueblo Viejo

This animated spot on restaurant row is perfect for meat lovers (choose from Argentinean-style parilladas, grilled lamb trout, pork, or alpaca). Order à la carte or from one of several prix fixe menus. Vegetarian options are also available.

Ave. Pachacútec 108, 011-51-84-211-193
Tags: moderate | culinary | prix-fixe | peruvian

Qunuq

The restaurant at the Sumaq Hotel launched in late 2007 with chef Rafael Piqueras at the helm - an Acurio devotee who studied at the Lima outpost of Le Cordon Bleu. Unlike most Lima chefs, Piqueras emphasizes ingredients from the surrounding Andes, like alpaca and olluco (a yellowish root vegetable), as well as trout from Lake Titicaca, which he turns into a knockout ceviche. Hotel guests can take a cooking class with Piqueras's sous chef to discover the formula: diced trout marinated in lime juice, rocoto chili, piquillo pepper, garlic, ginger, cilantro, and red onion, with sweet potato and Peruvian choclo corn with super-size kernels - all local ingredients prepared sans gimmicks. His novo Andina (new Andean) menu also includes an excellent alpaca carpaccio served with porcon mushrooms, as well as chicken fingers coated in crunchy two-colored quinoa with Thai-Andean wasabi sauce. His rendition of causa rellena (a traditional dish of cold mashed potatoes layered with avocado and fish or chicken) comes as a Jenga-like tower of trout tartare, smoked trout, and shoestring yellow potatoes with a mint-flavored sour cream emulsion.

Av. Hermanos Ayar Mz 1 Lote 3, 866-682-0645, www.sumaqhotelperu.com
Tags: expensive | notable chef | hotel restaurant | peruvian

Tampu Bar Restaurant

Only hotel guests can indulge in the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge’s stellar Peruvian and international cuisine, but the menu (and the panoramic views of the ruins from the dining room), provide yet another reason to book into this exclusive property.

Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, Base of the ruins, 011-51-84-246-419, www.monasterio.orient-express.com
Tags: expensive | culinary

Toto's House

When the clock strikes noon, beeline to Toto’s house for its steal-of-a-deal $11 lunch buffet. The treat? A mixed selection of grilled dishes ranging from trout to pizza and exceptional views of the Vilcanota River.

Ave. Imperio de los Incas s/n, 011-51-84-211-020
Tags: budget | great value | culinary

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