Cafés, Bakeries, and Ice Cream
The most popular café in Cusco is Jack’s Café Bar (Choquechaca/Cuesta San Blas, tel. 084/25-4606, 7:30 a.m.–11 p.m. daily, US$5), and with good reason. It is famous for big breakfasts, such as “El Gordo”: a huge pile of eggs, home-made baked beans, fried potatoes, bacon, and sausages. For lunch there are great salads and sandwiches made with homemade bread. There is a fully stocked bar, as well as milk shakes, fruit juices, and coffees. In short—a real taste of home.
Along Cuesta San Blas, you’ll eventually walk into the warm baking aromas of Buen Pastor (Cuesta San Blas 575, tel. 084/24-0586, 7 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Sat.). This bakery run by nuns has warm empanadas and sweet pastries all at very affordable prices.
For an authentic French bakery there is Qosqo Maki (Tullumayo 465, tel. 084/23-4035, www.qosqomaki.com, 8 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Sat.), which has very good brown country loaves and tasty croissants. It is part of the long-standing and respected NGO Centro Bartolomé de la Casas, and proceeds go to the foundation.
To satisfy a chocolate craving, stop in the tiny
Chocolate (Choquechaca 162, tel. 084/25-8073, 7 a.m.–11 p.m. daily), a shop serving steaming mugs of hot chocolate and chocolates by the piece.
If you fancy sampling some creative coca-flavored chocolate and baked goods head to the Coca Shop (Carmen Alto 115, 9 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Fri.).
If you are after a hefty sandwich head to Juanito’s (Qanchipata 596, tel. 01/994-170-852, 12–3 p.m. and 6–11 p.m. Mon.–Sat., Fri. and Sat. open until 3 a.m., US$4). There is a selection of 30 fillings both meaty and vegetarian, including alpaca and lechon.
For a lighter lunch on the lovely Plaza de las Nazarenas there is Mama Oli (Plaza Nazarenas 199, 8 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Sat. and 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Sun., US$4). This Peruvian-French–owned café has great juices, fresh soups, quiches, and desserts.
On the Plaza de Armas, the laid-back Trotamundos (Portal Comercio 177, tel. 084/23-9590, 8 a.m.–11 p.m. daily, US$5) has balcony seating over the Plaza de Armas and is a great place to wile the day away. It serves some of the best french fries and pie de limon you’ll find in Cusco.
The classic Cusqueño Café Ayllu (Marqués 263, 6:30 a.m.–10:30 p.m. Mon.–Sat., US$4) opened 35 years ago, and its glass display still cases pastries made from the age-old recipes. Be sure to try the ponche de leche, a pisco and milk cocktail, or a sliced roast suckling pig sandwich.
Dos Por Tres (Marquez 271, tel. 084/23-2661, 9 a.m.–9 p.m. daily, US$2.50) is another Cusco classic and artist hangout. The coffee, almost always made by the owner, is cheap and delicious.
No café is better located for postcard-writing than Don Esteban & Don Pancho (Av. El Sol 765-A, tel. 084/25-2526, 8 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 8 a.m.–8 p.m. Sun., US$5). Directly across from the post office, this café has a varied menu of sandwiches, empanadas (try the aji de gallina one), desserts, and bread made on the premises.
Dolce Vita (Santa Catalina Ancha 366, tel. 084/24-7611, 10 a.m.–9 p.m. daily, US$2) is the best place for homemade ice cream. Your only trouble will be deciding on a flavor: chicha, pisco sour,
lúcuma,and coca are just a few of the exotic creations.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition