The locals’ favorite lunch spot is the clean and well-run Yavarí (Plaza de Armas 604, tel. 054/48-9109, 7 a.m.–9 p.m. daily, US$3), serving spit-roasted chicken or a delicious daily US$3 menu with lots of options.
The best meal in town is served up on the long wooden tables of Witite (Siglo XX 328, tel. 054/53-1154, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. daily, US$5–7). The English-speaking owner offers an excellent midday buffet for US$6, which includes trout caught in the nearby river and alpaca meat.
El Nido (Zarumilla 216, tel. 054/53-1010, 10 a.m.–11 p.m. daily, US$6–8) is probably the classiest choice in town. It serves alpaca seven different ways and has a good wine list. The most intriguing cocktail is El Inca Rabioso (The Pissed-Off Inca), a concoction of maté de coca and pisco. It also has a nightly peña (live criollo music) at 8 p.m.
A simpler choice is Killari (Plaza de Armas 601, tel. 054/53-1225, 9 a.m.–9 p.m. daily, US$4–6), whose lunch menu often features the potato dish causa and trout.
For pizza, Lobo’s Bar Pizzeria (Plaza de Armas 101, tel. 054/53-1081, 9 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, US$4) is the trendiest place, with hip music, pizzas from a wood-fired oven, and three drinks for US$4 during happy hour.
For drinks try McElroy’s Irish Bar (General Morán, Plaza de Armas, tel. 054/53-1086, 6 p.m.–midnight), with a pool table, Heineken, and two nightly happy hours.
For local music and dancing, there is Yllalkuy (22 de Agosto 330, tel. 054/80-3353, 9 a.m.–11 p.m. daily, US$6). This odd sunken chamber is in need of a good scrubbing and, like most peñas, is best known for its drinks and dancing—not its food.
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition