Arequipa is one of the most charming cities in Peru. It’s set within a valley surrounded by three dormant volcanoes and known as the ‘white city’ because the houses are made from white, volcanic rock. The city has a slow, sleepy atmosphere and features great museums and awesome nearby hiking opportunities. We’ve selected the five best restaurants in Arequipa, from ancient Peruvian cuisine with a twist, through to the country’s oldest restaurant, here are our top picks:
1. Sol De Mayo
Sol de Mayo is known to be one of Peru’s oldest restaurants at over one hundred years old. The restaurant is a traditional picanteria, which serves up cheap, hearty food and light bites. One of its main draws is its daily live folk music that starts at 1 pm and goes on until around 4 pm. The menu is traditional and includes quinoa soups, lomo saltado, stir-fried beef, and meaty rice dishes. There’s also a beautiful courtyard that you can sit and enjoy Arequipa’s sunny weather.
2. Salamanto Restaurante
Salamanto Restaurante serves ancestral dishes cooked with a modern twist. While the menu is pricey, it’s totally worth it. The best thing to order is a seven or ten-course tasting menu, which lets you sample the restaurant’s unique fusion cooking. Some of the top dishes include alpaca and trout cooked in quirky sauces that will blow your mind. It’s definitely a restaurant for the adventurous foodies out there!
3. Pasta Canteen
If you want a break from Peruvian cuisine, head to the Pasta Canteen. It’s a restaurant where you can build your own pasta dish by choosing the type of pasta, sauce and toppings. It’s simple, delicious and cheap. If you aren’t sure what pasta bowl to build, try the combination of spicy mussel pasta. There are also a few options for craft beer and cider to accompany your dish.
Hatunpa is a must-visit if you want to sample some of the different varieties of Peru’s famous potatoes. The potato is a staple in Peruvian cooking and there are almost 4,000 different varieties of potatoes that are grown in the Peruvian Andes. Hatunpa serves up a bed of sliced potatoes covered in Peruvian sauces and toppings. For the base, you can choose from seven different types of potatoes, from purple potatoes through to white potatoes. The topping menu is extensive — try the traditional Papas a la Huancaina sauce, a traditional, spicy yellow sauce made with yellow pepper and cheese.
5. La Lucha
Photo by La Lucha Sangucheria Criolla
Peru is known for its delicious sandwiches, or sanguches, packed with meats, vegetables, and cheeses. La Lucha is arguably the best sandwich joint in Arequipa, if not in all of Peru. It has fresh, perfectly crisp bread and tons of options for the fillings. You can also find a La Lucha restaurant in Lima. They have great vegetarian dishes too.