Pachapapa (Plazoleta Plaza San Blas 120) in Cusco is a real retreat from the hustle and bustle of Cusco, with an attractive outdoor dining area in the quaint San Blas neighborhood, enlivened by a Peruvian harpist and a wood-burning oven in full view. Pachapapa’s name is a riff on Pachamanca, a traditional Andean meal, cooked in an underground oven. You can sit either in the outdoor courtyard at large wooden tables, warmed by heat lamps, or in one of many comfortable, indoor side rooms.
The food at Pachapapa is a mix of traditional Andean flavors with more European-styled touches. The menu at Pachapapa has a wide variety of roast meats and veggies, Peruvian standards like papas a la Huancaina (R21 – seen below), quinoa soup, trout ceviche, lomo saltado, and aji de gallina, as well as wood-fired pizzas for the less adventurous. The menu is expensive by Peruvian standards (mains between S30 and 70), but reasonable American ones. You are also paying a little bit more for the setting and ambiance.
The specialty of the house is roast cuy (the famous guinea pig – S72) – which can be ordered in advance. We did not have time to order it, but we saw several cuys being brought out, roasted whole and with all of the trimmings, set up like a suckling pig on a plate. We started off our meal with something a bit lighter – the classic Papas a la Huancaina, potatoes covered in a creamy aji pepper sauce.
For mains we ordered the ordered the Pachapapa sampler platter (S48) and the beef short ribs (S45). The Pachapapa platter consisted of an alpaca anticucho skewer, a stuffed rocoto pepper, an Andean tamale (cooked in a banana leaf) and an assorted of oven roasted potatoes. The short rib was incredibly tender and the spicy aji quinoa risotto was a nice Peruvian touch. We had become a fan or alpaca meat on our journey, and it worked well in anticucho form, skewered and roasted. Another standout on the variety plate was the mildy-spicy red-skinned rocoto pepper, filled with cheese and cream.
One thing to note though, as we went through our meal, we found that the tables were communal, and there were 3 other people eventually seated with us. It was fine, but just keep that in mind for your romantic night out. Pachapapa was a wonderful place for a Peruvian meal with an Andean flair, especially on a nice night.