Inexpensive cafés intermixed with a few upscale restaurants line the Panamericana, which becomes Avenue Piura and then Grau as it passes through Máncora . On the north end of town, in the residential neighborhoods, are the local favorites: cebicherías and pizzerias. The most formal dining is in the elegant hotel restaurants in Las Poncitas  and Vichayito .
In the evening, the quiet patio of Café Restaurante La Bajadita (Piura 424, tel. 073/25-8385, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Tues.–Sun., US$6) is full of travelers and locals alike, sipping sweetened passion fruit juice and snacking on sandwiches. Midday the restaurant offers several prix fixe menus, all of which include a delicious homemade dessert: apple crumble to tres leches cake to brownies.
At the American-owned C.S.I. Mancora (Piura 261, tel. 073/407-8939, 7:30 a.m.–1 p.m. and 4–10 p.m. Wed.–Mon., US$3–4), you can be sure that your café con leche is just brewed, made from Peruvian beans, and finished off with real milk. The café also offers a small selection of international cheeses, homemade desserts, and wines. At nighttime, the TV and DVD collection can turn the café into an unofficial cinema.
Looking to escape the standard continental breakfast? Head to Green Eggs and Ham (BirdHouse Commercial Center, tel. 073/25-8004, 7 a.m.–1 p.m. daily, US$3) for waffles, French toast, pancakes, or omelets. Service can be slow.
El Muelle (John Kennedy s/n, tel. 073/25-8319, 9 a.m.–9 p.m. daily, US$5) has two locations: a beachfront shack and a small neighborhood restaurant. Ceviches, tiraditos, and seafood rice are the house specialties, but the menu also lists meat options, like lomo a lo pobre (steak and eggs).
If you head to Cevicheria Meche (John Kennedy s/n, tel. 073/25-8412, 7 a.m.–9 p.m. daily, US$3–7) for lunch, your tart lemon-cured octopus is likely to be accompanied by a noisy background of midday soap operas. Despite the lack of ambience, ceviche, grilled fish, causas (mashed potatoes filled with fish and vegetables), and seafood omelets are all reliably good.
Tucked behind a large, table-filled patio, the kitchen of El Encuentro (Pasaje Piura across from BirdHouse, tel. 073/25-8048, 7 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, US$1.50–7), or The Find, whips up everything from natural juices to tuna steaks to lomo saltado.
La Espada (Piura 501, tel. 073/25-8338, 7:30 a.m.–11 p.m. daily, US$4–8) has two locations just blocks apart on Avenida Piura. Both restaurants have a big dining-hall feel, specialize in seafood, and offer a 2-for-US$13 lobster special.
After studying Novoandino, new Andean, cuisine in Lima, chef Juan Seminario returned to Máncora and opened Sirena (Piura 316, tel. 01/9811-5737, 7:30–11 p.m. Mon.–Sat., US$8–10). Juan’s cooking fuses local products with international ingredients and techniques. While the menu changes, you are likely to find Peruvian tamales spooned with an Asian curry sauce and a fresh tuna steak seasoned with the Argentine chimichurri sauce. Set in a small boutique clothing shop, the atmosphere is chic but intimate, and reservations during peak tourist season are recommended. Sirena has a less formal location in BirdHouse, where it serves up lunches (noon–5 p.m. daily) of tunaburgers and pasta dinners (7:30–11 p.m.) for about US$6.
In the evenings, light ocean breezes and classical music fill the Italian restaurant Chan Chan (Piura 384, tel. 073/25-8146, 6:30–11 p.m. Wed.–Mon., US$4–12). Best known for its pizzas, Chan Chan also offers mushroom pasta, rich lasagna, and classic antipasto plates.
On Sunday nights, when locals want authentic Italian and an escape from the rumbling main street, they sneak into Pizzeria Ristorante Volentieri (Talara 331, tel. 073/962-1575, www.vivamancora.com/volentieri , 7 p.m.–close daily, US$5). The pizza is wood fired, the pastas are made fresh, and the owner is 100 percent Italian. Pizza delivery in Máncora is free.
Austrian Angela entered the restaurant business biking along the beach selling baked goods. Now, Cafeteria de Angela (Piura 396, tel. 073/25-8603, www.vivamancora.com/deangela , 8 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, US$2.50–3) has a quiet storefront and an almost entirely vegetarian menu. The whole-grain breads are dry and the passion fruit juice unsweetened, but the quinoa, garbanzo, and lentil dishes promise to be filling.
Small minimarkets, with sufficient dry goods selections and minimal produce options, are concentrated on Piura near the BCP ATM. Because of its competitive prices, Roviluz (Piura in the Oltursa bus stop, 8 a.m.–10:30 p.m. daily) gets the most local business. Closing hours are extended during high season.