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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Classic dinners

Cusco had good night life and lots of restaurants to choose from around the Plaza de Armas. Each night as we walked around the plaza, touts from the restaurants would rush up to us with menus and fliers, offering us traditional Peruvian food and free pisco sours. Even with the specials, these restaurants were inevitably more expensive than the average local place - but I guess it's all part of the experience.

Located right on the plaza, Yaku Mama's is one restaurant that offered a nice ambience, especially if you are lucky enough to snag one of the two balcony tables. We tried papa rallena, a fried potato stuffed with tiny pieces of ground beef, onions, and carrots. We also tried an alpaca filet (well, I couldn't really bring myself to eat the alpaca...), which was served with fries (of course) and steamed vegetables. The portions were big enough to share - in fact, we could have ordered one entree and been more than satisfied. But we enjoyed our meal at a slow pace, taking in the spectacular views of the heart of Cusco.

A few nights later, we chose Los Faroles de Dukes, not far up Plateros from the plaza. Since this restaurant was not right on the plaza, it was less expensive and less crowded - so we had no problem getting a table on the balcony. By this time, we knew enough about dining in Peru to ask for the cena touristica, a multi-course menu offered at a special price. For S/10, we got to choose from a list of five soups, seven entrees, and several beverages. We selected sopa a la ciolla (a noodle soup with meat), spaghetti a la Carbonada (OK, so it wasn't exactly Peruvian, but we wanted to see how pasta would be prepared here), and coca tea. The service was fairly slow, but that's not surprising for Peru. And it was actually a good thing we were there for awhile. When our food was finally served, live music started up - and so we moved inside to listen during our meal. Not a bad way to end another busy day in Peru!

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