Huancayo has some excellent places for comida típica, all of which are a taxi ride from the center. The region’s most famous dish is papas a la huancaína, yellow potatoes smothered with a yellow sauce made from fresh cheese, oil, ground yellow chili pepper, lemon, and egg yolk—and topped off with black olives.
Cafés, Bakeries and Ice Cream
The best place for a rich cappuccino, light snack, or dessert is Pasteleria Koky (Puno 296, tel. 064/23-4707, 7 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 8 a.m.–1 p.m. and 4:30–9 p.m. Sun., US$2). It also makes homemade bread and sells good-for-picnics deli meats and cheeses.
A good place for hamburgers, pizzas, cake, or ice cream is La Moderna (Paseo la Breña 165, tel. 064/21-3288, 8 a.m.–midnight daily), though the best chocolate cake is at the tiny Berisso (Giráldez 258, tel. 064/22-5634).
Cafeteria Loredo (Loreto 632, tel. 064/21-2853, 7:30 a.m.–noon and 3:30–10 p.m. daily) has been around for 40 years and is a cheap, unpretentious place to have coffee, oatmeal and milk, biscocho, and empanadas.
Huancahuasi (Mariscal Castilla 2222, El Tambo, tel. 064/24-4826, www.huancahuasi.com, 9 a.m.–8 p.m. daily, US$9) is a great place for Sunday lunch, with live folkloric music and steaming chunks of pork, beef, and lamb from the pachamanca pit, followed by humitas. La Tullpa is also highly recommended and has one of the town’s only chefs certified in Peruvian food.
La Chacra del Abuelo (behind the cemetery and near the corner of Daniel Carrión and Ica Nueva, tel. 064/23-7143, 11 a.m.–8 p.m. daily, US$4–7) has the town’s best tiradito de trucha (strips of trout cooked in lemon juice), cuy chactado (pan-fried guinea pig with corn), and excellent cuts of meats.
After an evening’s stroll around the Parque de la Identidad, wander over to Restaurant Comida Wanka (next to the park, 10 a.m.–9 p.m. daily), where 10 food stalls each sell yummy, safe local dishes, including chicharrón colorado, picante de cuy, and pachamanca.
On Parque Túpac Amaru, there is Tejados (Francisco Solano 220, tel. 064/22-2000, 5:30 p.m.–close daily, US$5–6), which has rich pasta alfredo and light lemon-marinated brochettes.
El Viejo Madero (Paseo a la Brena 125, tel. 064/21-7788, noon–11 p.m. daily, US$2) serves only one thing: huge chunks of juicy, spit-roasted chicken, topped off with french fries and a salad that is safe for foreigners. It’s delicious.
The welcoming La Cabaña (Giráldez 652, tel. 064/22-3303, www.incasdelperu.org, 5–11 p.m. daily, US$7) is a cozy place with a fireplace, art, and great pizza. Live folk music plays Thursday–Saturday from 8 p.m. It also serves grilled meats, sandwiches, and pitchers of sangria.
Good pizza, sandwiches, and inexpensive lunch menus can be found at Antojitos (Puno 599, tel. 064/23-7950, 7 a.m.–1 a.m. daily, US$6–8), which has live rock music on the weekends.
In the San Carlos neighborhood, try Italia (Leandra Torres 441, at Parque Túpac Amaru, tel. 064/23-3145, 6–11 p.m. daily), which delivers and has lasagna and a range of other pasta dishes.
The quiet oriental music is the perfect background to the upscale cuisine of Chifa Centro (Giráldez 245, tel. 064/21-7575, 1–11:30 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 1 p.m.–midnight Fri.–Sat., 1–10:30 p.m. Sun., US$4–6). Popular plates include grilled duck with pineapple and arroz chaufa. There is a second location in the San Carlos neighborhood at Leanda Torres 240.
The best small market is Comercial Huaychulo (Paseo a la Brena 174), with fruits, vegetables, deli meats, and cheeses. Grocery stores include the modern Supermercado Días (Giráldez 271, 8 a.m.–10:30 p.m. daily) and Supermercado Casa Sueldo (Real 696, corner of Loreto, 9 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 9 a.m.–2 p.m. and 3:30–9 p.m. Sun.).
© Ross Wehner and Renée del Gaudio from Moon Peru, 3rd Edition