Cusco prides itself on its traditional dishes, which have evolved this century into a novo andino cuisine, fusing the best ingredients of the Andes with exquisite Mediterranean and even Argentinian influences. Generally speaking, trout is plentiful, reasonably priced and often excellent, and roast guinea pig (cuy) can usually be ordered – but pizza seems to lead in the popularity stakes.
The central market by San Pedro train station sells a wonderful variety of meats, tropical and imported fruits, local vegetables, Andean cheeses and other basics. The market also has a wide range of daytime hot-food stalls where you can get superb, freshly squeezed juices.
Eating out in Cusco is enjoyable, and restaurants range from cheap-and-cheerful pizza joints to exceptionally fine gourmet establishments. Many of the best restaurants and bars are within a block or two of the Plaza de Armas and uphill towards San Blas; the more central places serve anything from a toasted cheese sandwich to authentic Andean or criolla dishes. Quintas – basic local eating houses – serve mostly traditional Peruvian food, full of spice and character. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to categorize some of the establishments in Cusco as distinctly cafés, restaurants or bars since many fulfil all three functions, occasionally simultaneously, sometimes varying between different hours of the day.