Ayacucho  has an excellent range of restaurants. Do not miss the local specialty qapchi, a delicious sauce of queso fresco and chives over boiled yellow potatoes.
For breakfast or a light snack, Cafe-Bar New York (28 de Julio 178, tel. 066/80-2851, 9 a.m.–midnight Mon.–Sat., 4 p.m.–midnight Sun., US$1) has a peaceful, sun-filled colonial patio.
The busy Café La Miel (Portal Constitución 11–12, Plaza de Armas, tel. 066/31-7183, 9:30 a.m.–10:30 p.m. daily) has good service, empanadas, and desserts. Or get a cone to go.
Lalo’s Cafe (Lima 169, tel. 066/31-9012, 7 a.m.–1 p.m. and 4–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat.) is a warm café, good for an evening espresso with a slice of cake or pie. Try the cherimoya mousse, pie de lúcuma, and empanadas.
Past its humble door, Wallpa Sua (Garcilaso de las Vega 240, tel. 066/40-3987, 6–11:30 p.m. Mon.–Sat., US$7–9) is a warmly lit republican house with great food ranging from spit-roasted chicken to tender steaks smothered in basil and garlic. Locals are met at the door by owner Mario Chahud, who joins them for a long, slow dinner, and on Friday and Saturday nights a bit of regional music.
The best place for comida típica is Restaurant La Casona (Bellido 463, tel. 066/31-2733, 9 a.m.–11:30 p.m. daily, US$5–6). Locals fill the tables for the daily lunch menu of qapchi or puca picante. Portions are huge and prices reasonable.
Urpicha (Londres 272, tel. 066/31-3905, US$5–6) serves sectioned and pan-fried guinea pig, which is much easier to eat than the roasted, fuller-bodied version.
Cámara de Comercio (San Martin 432, 9 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, US$2–3.50) serves spit-roasted chicken after 4 p.m., as well as fried trout, ceviche, and salads in a colonial courtyard.
Next door to Café New York is the town’s best pizzeria, Antonino’s (tel. 066/31-5738, 5 p.m.–midnight daily, US$7 for big pizza). This is a hangout spot for the whole city. Locals come to drink beer and watch soccer games.
Pizzeria Italiana (Bellido 486, 6 p.m.–midnight, US$6) serves pizzas from a wood-fired oven in a cozy atmosphere.
The best, and safest, Chinese food in town is Chifa Tio Min (Mariscal Cáceres 1179, tel. 066/31-1274, 6–11 p.m. daily, US$2–4).
Maxi Market (28 de Julio 100) and its neighbor Maxi’s (28 de Julio 236) have a reasonable selection of cold cuts, yogurts, and dry goods.