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Best Restaurants in Cuzco: Review of Cicciolina Restaurant
Restaurant Review for Cicciolina of Cusco, Peru
If you are looking for upscale dining in Cusco then Cicciolina is your restaurant of choice. Boasting Italian-Andean cuisine in a hip atmosphere, the service is as exceptional as the chef's daily pasta specials. Although pricey for the Cusco area and portions are a bit scanty, you can expect creative dishes prepared with high quality ingredients from the Sacred Valley.
Centrally located just a few blocks from the Plaza de Armas, Cicciolina is housed on the second story of a charming Colonial house. Modern red walls and local artwork warmly embrace you after a long day of shopping or hiking. Enjoy wine and tapas in the bar area or, if you'd like a formal dining experience, make reservations for dinner in the small dining room.
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What to Order
Start with beetroot soup, sweet and comforting. Salads are fresh, organic and large enough to share. For the main course sample homemade pasta, both intensely flavored and filling.
I enjoyed the pasta bowl of the day which was chock full of sauteed mushrooms, roasted garlic and red peppers, grilled chicken, fresh basil, carmelized onions and ground pepper bathed in light cream sauce: earthy, slightly sweet and silky.
Beetroot ravioli is another excellent choice with mushrooms, parmesan shavings and balsamic reduction. Risotto is a delicious option. Cicciolini is the perfect place for those adventurous enough to sample guinea pig or cuy, which is roasted until crispy and flavorful.
If you have a hankering for beef tenderloin, expect chewy texture. Portions are very small, more the size of an appetizer, so this wouldn't be a good option for diners with big appetites.
For travelers seeking a lighter meal, try tapas and wine in the bar area. The tapas are unusual and creative; the list of South American wines is extensive.
ATMOSPHERE: Hip, modern, charming
SOUND LEVEL: Quiet and intimate in the dining room
RECOMMENDED DISHES: Homemade tagliolini pasta specials, ravioli, salads, soups, risotto and guinea pig are all delicious choices.
BEVERAGES: A good selection of South American wines, beers and cocktails such as Pisco sour.
PRICE RANGE: Expect to spend about 150 Nuevo Soles or $50 US per couple.
HOURS: Open for lunch and dinner
RESERVATIONS: Highly recommended for dinner as seating in the dining area is limited. For a great view reserve the table for four in the dining room window alcove, or try the table for two on the bar area's balcony.
CREDIT CARDS: Yes
For Reservations call (084) 239510 or write at email@example.com
Value: 4 stars
Atmosphere: 4.5 stars
Service: 5 stars
Food: 5 stars
Portions: 3 stars
Breakfast: 8 a.m. - 11 a.m. (last order)
Lunch: 12 p.m. - 3 p.m. (last order)
Dinner: 6 p.m. - 10 p.m. (last order)
ALL MAJOR CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED
How to Get There
Baco, Cicciolina's Sister Restaurant
After an outstanding lunch experience at Cicciolina we returned the following evening without a reservation and, to our dismay, found the dining room full. When we decided we didn't want to be accommodated at the bar, the hostess offered us a table at the sister restaurant, Baco.
One of the restaurant staff accompanied us to Baco, about a five minute walk from Cicciolina. A larger restaurant, Baco offers more seating. Service was decent, food was tasty and décor was slightly rustic and beautifully comfortable.
I highly recommend the homemade pasta dishes and gourmet pizzas. The chicken is melt-in-the-mouth tender. Try alpaca or cuy (guinea pig) and fig cake or mojito ice cream for dessert.
Insider's tip: Right across the street you'll find the best picarones (Peruvian donuts) in town. Instead of ordering a pricey dessert at Baco, opt for deep-fried Peruvian donuts drizzled with fig syrup. You won't regret it!
What to Order at BacoClick thumbnail to view full-size
If you have yet to discover the unique cuisine of Peru, you're in for a treat! For an intimate dinner in upscale ambience, reserve space in the dining room at Cicciolina.
Baco is a better option for dinner without a reservation. Either restaurant offers delicious, creative dishes made with fresh ingredients. Set aside funds for at least one special meal while visiting Cusco. You won't be disappointed!