Latest update: 2 February 2022
Lima is known for its fantastic food, but Arequipa is definitely not far behind. This city in Peru is packed with great restaurants and cafes. From Peruvian cuisine to vegan sushi. You will not go hungry in Arequipa – I promise you. Check out these restaurant tips.
La Petite Francaise: crepes
Arequipa actually has an impressive number of creperies. For me, La Petite Francaise stands out. It is a tiny place that is cheerfully and lightly decorated. There’s a choice of sweet and savory crepes. I tried the strawberry cheesecake crepe and can absolutely recommend it. The cappuccinos are kind of okay, but I wouldn’t go here if you’re just having a cup of coffee.
El Buda Profano: vegan sushi
Vegan sushi. Maybe you are immediately enthusiastic; maybe you raise an eyebrow. My mind directly goes to the sushi rolls with cucumber and the one with that sweet egg. Yikes. I don’t like the latter, and it’s not even vegan either. I’m not quite sure how I am going to like vegan sushi. Well, it’s fantastic! The food is deliciously fresh at El Buda Profano. In the afternoon you can choose a complete menu for a bargain – 15 sol (about 4 euros). You’ll get a small miso soup, a main dish AND a drink—all vegan of course. I choose a sushi bowl for a main and am extremely happy with my choice. This has nothing to do with Peruvian food, but please don’t skip this restaurant if you are in Arequipa – I actually went multiple times during my stay.
Pasta Canteen: fresh pasta
At Pasta Canteen, the pasta is freshly prepared for you. In this small restaurant, the kitchen staff does its best to make you feel you are in Italy. Well, they try. It’s not quite there, but it is still rather nice. Just don’t expect pasta pesto to taste exactly as it does in Italy, or back home for that matter. You can put together a pasta dish yourself, or you pay about 25 soles for a salad with some bread, the pasta of the day, and a drink. And you get cheerful service for free – or better yet, tip them!
La Despensa: quiche, pizza and more
La Despensa is also located in the pretty and pleasant neighborhood around the Santa Catalina monastery. It really is full of nice places to eat here! I settle down at La Despensa for lunch and have to stop myself from ordering a pizza. I am not that hungry, but they look deliciously fresh. In need of something smaller, I try the Caprese quiche, and it is fantastic – size wise not even remotely sufficient if you’re dying for some food. The staff is a bit slow, but the wi-fi fast. You can also just have a cup of coffee and a cake here.
Marengo Pizzeria: pizza
Pizza? Nice and local – NOT! Well, apparently, in the mid-19th century, many Italians found their way to Peru. And, Peruvians immediately embraced the pasta and the pizzas – can you blame them? The guide on the walking tour in Arequipa will even tell you that pizza is an authentic Peruvian dish. At Marengo Pizzeria, you can choose from three sizes and many different styles of pizza. Generously topped with cheese and served with a garlic sauce and a spicy sauce – that’s the Peruvian influence, I’m guessing. Order a pisco sour – they do those very well at Marengo.
Tip! Are you looking for traditional Peruvian cuisine? Then opt for the small-scale local restaurants or a traditional picanteria. Are you up for a guinea pig or alpaca tonight?
La Valeriana: cakes, cupcakes and more
La Valeriana has two branches, one in Cusco and one in Arequipa. The most beautiful cakes lure me in. They look like small works of art, and it’s just way too difficult to choose. The interior reminds me a bit of the Riviera Maison style (shabby chic), if you know what I mean. FYI: the coffee is just ok – the sweets are the main reason to come here.
Kao: Thai x Peruvian
Kao is a slightly more expensive restaurant in Arequipa. Count on about 30 sol for the main course. You do get something special at that price – at Kao they have found a delicious mix between Peruvian and Thai food. I’m in love with the shrimp and pork spring rolls with fried beans and potatoes. So good! The plating just adds to the experience.
La Lucha: the tastiest of sandwiches
A few years ago, I discovered the chain La Lucha in Lima. Before opening hours, I was already in line for its sandwiches. La Lucha is now also in Arequipa – muchas gracias! What a party. My favorite sandwich is – without a doubt – the one with jamon del pais. It has a tasty ham and topped with sweet onions for less than 4 euros. Beat that.
Masamama: local bakery
Masamama is a small bakery in the San Lázaro district. They make artisanal bread. You can buy it to go or have a drink at one of the two tables. Yep, it’s that small. If you are in Peru, you will be served a lot of mediocre bread for breakfast. So the tasty bread from Masamama is a very welcome treat.
Kaffeehaus: coffee, specialty beers, and gin tonic
With the name Kaffeehaus, I expect coffee. Kaffeehaus does serve good cappuccino, but its craft beers and cheap gin-tonics may just convince you to set up camp for an afternoon. Back home, In The Netherlands, I easily pay 15 euros for a gin tonic; you pay 15 sol here – that’s like 4 euros people! Settle down in the nicely furnished garden, and you won’t want to leave any time soon. This cafe has a German slant, so besides the beer garden, you can also expect good bread – are you loving Arequipa yet?
Espacio Lagom: ramen
Espacio Lagom is a small hole in the wall restaurant behind the monastery in Arequipa. The kitchen is Asian, so you’ll definitely want to order sushi and ramen. There are a few types of ramen on the menu. It’s up to you to decide on the level of spiciness. Peruvian spicy is incredibly spicy for me, so I’m being smart and choose the mild one – it is delicious. Nice touch: a raised tray is placed on the low tables so that you can eat more easily. I was already wondering how on earth I would slurp away my ramen without making a mess.
Espacio Lagom on Google Maps
Chaqchao: chocolate milk, brownies, and more chocolate
Fancy some chocolate? Then Chaqchao is the right place for you. A very rich hot chocolate with a brownie, perhaps? If you can’t get enough of chocolate, you can join one of the workshops at Chaqchao. You can also order craft beers, and in the evening, the terrace turns into a chill bar with live music on some evenings.
Prana: extremely cheap vegan food
Lunch at Prana is ridiculously cheap. For 10 sol, you get a vegan lunch with a starter, main course, salad bar, drink, AND dessert. Wow!. Don’t expect very exciting dishes, though—just simple and healthy food. Of course, there’s also the option to order from the menu. But you would basically be stealing from yourself if you do – just have the lunch deal!
La Queseria: cheese and cheese and cheese and cheese and cheese
This is the place to be for cheese lovers – ME! An extensive cheese board (including Dutch Gouda cheese) and some red wine? La Queseria is waiting for you. There is also pizza from the wood oven and pasta on the menu. It is a modern, cozy restaurant where the service is nice and fast. La Queseria is open only in the evening and is located in the San Lázaro district.
13 Monjas: food to share
13 Monjas is a fairly new restaurant in Arequipa – it opened up at the end of 2019. A monja is a nun. An appropriate name, since the restaurant is directly opposite the monastery – I told you this is a great neighborhood! The menu features modern dishes and an extensive wine list. Nice are the different options to share food – bar bites or tapas-style. The interior is contemporary: light, lots of wood, simple murals. You can also just go there for a drink or a coffee.
Cooking Peruvian at home?
Would you like to get started with Peruvian cuisine at home? These are easy Peruvian cookbooks: