The area around the Cusco’s Plaza de Armas  is overflowing with Peruvian restaurants. Here are some of the better quality ones.
La Retama (Portal de Panes 123, 2nd Fl., tel. 084/22-6372, 11 a.m.–11 p.m. daily, US$10) has a great kitchen and wide-ranging Peruvian menu. A nightly buffet accompanied by a live folkloric music-and-dance show makes dinner into theater.
On the ground floor of Portal de Panes is Inka Grill (Portal de Panes 115, tel. 084/26-2992, www.inkagrillcusco.com , 11 a.m.–11 p.m. daily, US$13), the first restaurant to bring Novoandino cuisine to Cusco and one of passionate restaurateur Rafael Casabonne’s six restaurants (all excellent: www.cuscorestaurants.com ). The ensalada de langostinos has quinoa-encrusted shrimp that literally melt in your mouth. The valley trout is fresh and tasty, and the pepper steak is also a popular choice.
Pucara (Plateros 309, tel. 084/22-2027) has a worthwhile daily US$3.50 lunch menu. The dishes are clean and simple, and the desserts and chocolate truffles are very good.
Café Restaurant Victor Victoria (Tecsecocha 474, tel. 084/27-0049, 7:30 a.m.–10 p.m. daily) also has a reasonable lunch menu for US$5. The food is homey and there is an ample salad bar.
Pacha Papa (Plazoleta San Blas 120, tel. 084/24-1318, www.cuscorestaurants.com , 9:30 a.m.–10:30 p.m. daily, US$11) occupies a sunny courtyard across the street from the Iglesia San Blas . Peruvian specialties such as tamales, quinoa soup, and an acclaimed lomo saltado are also served.
A local favorite in San Blas is Quinta Eulalia (Choquechaca 384, 12:30–5 p.m. daily, US$6), which has been serving traditional Andean food since 1941. Prices are very reasonable and servings are massive. Dishes include cuy, chicharrón, and rocoto relleno (stuffed pepper). Besides the excellent food, this place has a great atmosphere, with tables in a sunny courtyard and live music.
A highly recommended, unpretentious restaurant that serves fantastic Peruvian food is Trujillo (Tullumayo 542, tel. 084/23-3465, restaurant_trujillo [at] speedy [dot] com [dot] pe, 9 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Sat. and 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun., US$10–15). The menu is vast, servings are generous and everything is bound to be genuine and delicious. It is particularly famous for its ají de gallina, and the meat of the asado a la olla literally melts in your mouth.