Arequipa is Peru’s second largest city and is often overlooked by people visiting on their vacation to Peru. Arequipa has beautiful architecture, picturesque lush valleys, volcanoes, adventure sports, great hiking trails and not to forget the Colca Canyon located just outside of Arequipa, which is where you can see the largest raptor in the world, the Andean Condor (National Geographic video here). Arequipa has a lot to offer everyone and one thing that locals and tourists love is the food.
You can find a wide selection of restaurants in Arequipa, Peru; from fine-dining to local traditional cuisine. There is definitely something to everyone’s taste in the real culinary capital of Peru. Below, we have comprised a list of 5 top places to eat in Arequipa.
Zig Zag Restaurant
The upscale Zig Zag restaurant is set in one of the old colonial buildings in the historic center of Plaza San Francisco, spreading over two floors. This intimate restaurant features an antique iron staircase made by the architect of the Eiffel tower, and has seats that offer views of the plaza.
They serve modern takes on the classic Andean and European Alpine dishes, using only the freshest local ingredients, with modern culinary techniques. Their specialities are lamb, beef and alpaca on a hot volcanic rock, but they also serve fish, desserts and refreshing cocktails.
Chicha por Gaston Acurio
Chicha is the restaurant of renowned Peruvian chef Gaston Acurio (owner of many worldwide restaurants), named after a traditional Peruvian drink composed of corn. The restaurant is housed in an old building with a courtyard, near the Plaza de Armas, and its Spanish/Peruvian décor gives the place a classy yet casual atmosphere.
Chicha is among the priciest restaurants in Arequipa, but most of the dishes are still affordable, as the servings are large and you can share many items from the menu. The menu features a blend of Peruvian local cuisine, serving beef, fish, and exotic dishes, such as deep-fried Guinea pig. We recommend that you try their amazing Pisco Sours.
La Nueva Palomino
This restaurant is in close proximity to two great attractions in Arequipa, Yanahuara and Mirador, and just a short taxi ride away from Plaza de Armas.
La Nueva Palomino offers great traditional Arequipa dishes served in the Peruvian style, which involves sharing big sized portions of food with flavours that will leave your taste buds dancing.
It is a very popular restaurant in Arequipa, where locals gather to eat in an open-air setting. La Nueva Palomino has a casual vibe, being decorated to resemble traditional picanterias, with simple wooden benches and bare tables. The restaurant is visited by many travellers that want to try the real food of Arequipa.
Sol de Mayo Restaurant
One of Peru’s oldest restaurants, Sol De Mayo, has been serving traditional Arequipa food for more than 100 years.
This is one of the best places to eat in Arequipa, as you can taste good food in a beautiful courtyard which features picturesque gardens, fountains and relaxing live music.
Sol de Mayo serves large portions of traditional Peruvian dishes that have been perfected over generations.
Another great restaurant in Arequipa, is the small and elegant Dimas. The restaurant is hidden in one of the courtyards along Santa Catalina, a short walk from the Plaza de Armas.
Their menu includes a mix of Peruvian and international cuisine with bold traditional combinations, such as alpaca and quinoa risotto, as well as vegetarian dishes. If you are in the mood for something sweet, try their amazing chocolate mousse and Arequipa ice cream (known to the locals as Queso Helado).
The two airy vaulted rooms are elegantly decorated, but the vibe is very casual.
If you visit one of these restaurants in Arequipa, please share your experience on our Peru Vacation Tours Facebook page to help other travellers decide where to eat.