Most of Puno ’s best restaurants are along Lima, the upscale pedestrian street off the Plaza de Armas. A good local dish to try is chairo, a soup of beef or lamb, potatoes, beans, squash, cabbage, chuño (dried potato), wheat, and chalona (dried mutton). Trucha (trout), pejerrey, and ishpi are excellent local fish, and sajta de pollo is a chicken stew mixed with potatoes and peanuts.
The most charming place to hang out is Cecovasa (Deústua 576, tel. 051/35-1921, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Tues.–Fri., 10 a.m.–2:30 p.m. and 5–11 p.m. Sat.–Sun., US$1), set in the 17th-century Casa del Corregidor. The café is an NGO, whose 5,000 members work in the Puno  coffee industry. All eight types of coffee are local and delicious. The menu also offers Greek salads, gourmet appetizers, and a range of teas. There is no place better to enjoy a snack than on the café’s sun-filled patio.
Café Ricos Pan (Lima 424 and Moquegua 326, tel. 051/35-1024, www.ricospan.com.pe , 6 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 3–9 p.m. Sun., US$2) serves good milk shakes, quiche, and espresso drinks at incredibly cheap prices. Standouts include the apple pie, gooseberry cheesecake, and US$1.50 pisco sours.
Start with a coca sour at Coca K’intu (Lima 401, tel. 051/36-5566, 8 a.m.–10:30 p.m. Sun.–Fri., 4–10:30 p.m. Sat., US$7–14), and you’ll be nicely warmed up for the forthcoming creative and sophisticated dinner. The causa de trucha is smooth and flavorful, and the pejerrey with tomatoes and olive sauce robust and delicious.
Famous for its antique iron collection, which hangs on its whitewashed walls, Restaurant Museo La Casona (Lima 517, tel. 051/35-1108, 9 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, US$5–7) is an institution in Puno . This is your chance to try guinea pig, garlic alpaca meat, and anticuchos.
Its more elegant sister restaurant La Casona Rivarola Restaurant (Lima 775, tel. 051/36-9401, US$7–12) is on the same street, one block past the Plaza de Armas.
A cheaper option for similar food is Don Piero (Lima 364, tel. 051/36-5943, 7:30 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, US$5–7), which has been around for more than 20 years and has especially good trout and a US$5 menu.
Off Lima, La Estancia (Libertad 137, tel. 051/36-5469, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, US$6–8) serves excellent parrillas (grilled meats) and trout, and has an unlimited salad bar.
Two recommended Novoandino restaurants that also make a good afternoon coffee stop are the friendly Mojsa (Lima 635, 2nd Fl., tel. 051/36-3182, www.mojsarestaurant.com , 7 a.m.–11 p.m. daily, US$3–7), with a view over the Plaza de Armas, and Fondo de Santiago (Lima 394, tel. 051/975-3188, 11 a.m.–midnight daily, US$6–8), in the Casona Parodi.
When in need of a filling, home-cooked meal, there’s Café de April (Tarapacá 391, tel. 051/36-9261, 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Sat., US$2–5), whose Argentine owner, Viviana, is full of energy.
Flip open the black-and-white, artsy menu of Colors Restaurant Lounge (Lima 342, tel. 051/36-9254, 10 a.m.–midnight Sun.–Fri., 4 p.m.–midnight Sat., US$7–10) and you’ll quickly realize that the same artistic sensibilities have reached the food. A lomo saltado is whipped into a sandwich, and trout and beef are sliced thin into carpaccio. The most popular dish is the Andean cheese fondue, but the menu also offers Greek- and Thai-inspired dishes.
A few doors down, and by the same owners, is IncaBar (Lima 348, tel. 051/36-8031, 8 a.m.–10 p.m. Sun.–Fri., 4–10 p.m. Sat., US$6), which has really good food. Greek salads; guacamole; pomadoro pasta with plum tomatoes, basil, and garlic; and chicken curry are just a few of the tempting dishes. Unfortunately, time has begun to wear on the restaurant and it is not as popular as it once was.
Located inside the Colón Inn is the tiny Sol Naciente (Tacna 290, tel. 051/35-1432, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. and 6–10 p.m. daily, US$7–9), with a menu of Peruvian, Belgian, French, Italian, and Hungarian dishes.
Locals say the cozy Machu Pizza (Arequipa 409, tel. 051/992-1838, 4:30–11 p.m. daily, US$2) holds the honor for best pizza. It also delivers.
Del Buho Pizzería (Lima 346 and Libertad 386, 4–11 p.m. daily, US$3–7) serves good pizza in town and becomes lively at night.
More expensive than the others, but worth it for the atmosphere, is Pizzeria Europa (Tacna 290, tel. 051/35-1432, 6–10 p.m. daily, US$5), inside the charming Colón Inn, whose pizzas are wood-fired.
The reliable Govinda (Deústua 312, tel. 051/35-1283, noon–7 p.m. Mon.–Sat., US$2–3), found in nearly every Peruvian city, serves torta de quinoa and saltado de broccoli to four tables in a tiny café.
Near the Mercado Central, where you can buy produce, cheeses, and meats, there is a Supermarket (Oquendo 226, 8 a.m.–10 p.m. daily), which sells yogurts, cold cuts, and dry goods.