Arequipa has the best food in Peru. There, I said it.
And if you want to find the best food in Arequipa, look no further.
oCacao is a chocolateria with an extremely passionate owner who can talk for hours about his gourmet delights. They serve the best mochaccino I’ve ever had. The croque monsieur is cooked in a waffle iron. The cabinet has handmade fudge, chocolates and truffles. Need I say more?
Top tip: the croque monsieur and waffles are both served in pairs – so if you share with a friend you can have one of each.
As you would hope from its name, Crepisimo serves incredible crepes, including several twists on Peruvian classics like Lomo Saltado – beef with onions and peppers. The fruit smoothies are equally sublime.
Top tip: Crepisimo’s rooftop lookout offers the best view of the mountains that we found anywhere in Arequipa.
Zig Zag is hands down the best restaurant in Arequipa. Though there were dozens of great places to choose from, we ate here twice; that’s how good it is. The arched stone ceiling and massive wrought iron spiral staircase bring atmosphere in spades. And it’s a carnivore’s paradise, with meat served sizzling on slabs of volcanic rock.
I chose the mixed meat option both nights, just swapping the options out. I ended up trying Lamb, Beef, Duck, Alpaca and Salmon. They were all delicious but the winners were the beef and the salmon – highly recommended.
Top tip: the salmon normally only comes with the mixed fish option, but, if you ask nicely, the chef will let you mix and match with the meats – for a little extra.
Definitely leave room for dessert. I tried the three chocolate mousse and the passionfruit and meringue. Both were served in martini glasses and absolute perfection. If you really can’t fit in dessert, at least order a truffle. They’re an Arequipa specialty and you can definitely squeeze one in.
AFTER THE FOOD
You’ll need some exercise to work off your meals in Arequipa. Put away your mapbook and follow your nose around the old town. That’s what we did, and we stumbled across all kinds of wonderful things…