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Best Restaurant near Machu Picchu: Review of the Indio Feliz Restaurant
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Indio Feliz Restaurant of Aguas Calientes, Peru
“We’ve stumbled onto the set of Pirates of the Caribbean,” I thought as we came upon the Indio Feliz restaurant, its colorful décor brightening the darkening alley like a pumpkin patch at twilight. Built to look like a two-story ship with elaborate woodwork that took six years to complete, the quirky restaurant with European flair is an oasis amidst the drab, cloned restaurants in Aguas Calientes.
Patrick Vogin, the owner/chef of the award-winning restaurant bustled over. “No reservation?” he asked. As we observed the tables full of contented diners, we realized we’d made a mistake. It seemed every tourist in town had turned out for dinner. “Thirty minutes,” he said, forehead wrinkled, hands raised apologetically, as if our lack of preparation was his error instead of ours.
Twenty minutes later we plunked down in front of a freshly cleared table, legs weary from a day at Machu Picchu's ruins. Although cramped and a bit noisy, the restaurant’s cozy, high-energy verve embraced us.
We browsed the menu of Franco-Peruvian cuisine, with several vegetarian offerings, and quickly decided on the three-course meal which includes appetizer, main dish and dessert for S/. 54.50 Nuevos Soles, a bargain.
What to Order?
All dishes are homemade under the watchful eye of French-trained chef and owner Patrick Vogin, who crafts his specialties from fresh local ingredients delivered daily by the local train. Portions are good-sized, service is friendly.
For starters, the Quiche Lorraine is highly recommended. French onion soup and Fresh tomato soup are savory and flavorful; Avocado with Papaya is mild and refreshing.
For the main dish, Tagliatelle Indio Feliz or homemade pasta served with sides of pesto, roasted tomatoes and garlic, mushrooms, peppers, basil and olive oil tastes earthy, tangy and slightly spicy. Pineapple chicken, served in a hollowed-out pineapple and scented with vanilla and orange, is delicious but very sweet. Salmon Trout in a Spicy Sauce comes in a sauce of tomatoes, carmelized onions, hot peppers and Chilean white wine. The trout was cooked to perfection with not a bone in sight.
Several desserts are offered including chocolate mousse, homemade apple or orange pie with custard and vanilla ice cream or my favorite, creme caramel.
Some nice touches include homemade potato chips sprinkled with parsley and garlic and hot, soft rolls made in house and served with a crock of butter. Try an imported draft beer or a bottle of Chilean wine with dinner.
Sit back and enjoy the atmosphere. You might even recognize a celebrity or two on their way back from Machu Picchu.
ATMOSPHERE: Quirky, Caribbean, colorful, eclectic
CUISINE: French Andean
SOUND LEVEL: Loud but not intrusively so.
RECOMMENDED DISHES: Quiche Lorraine, Tagliatelle pasta and creme caramel. The soups, trout, ginger chicken and pies are also delicious.
BEVERAGES: Wine and imported draft beers available, besides usual Peruvian offerings.
PRICE RANGE: A la carte options available for 20-40 Nuevos Soles; 3-course meal highly recommended at only S/. 54.50 Nuevos Soles
HOURS: Open for lunch and dinner
RESERVATIONS: Highly recommended
CREDIT CARDS: Yes
For Reservations call 51 (84) 211090
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How to Get There
Calle Lloque Yupanqui 4-12
Aguas Calientes, Peru
After a long day at Machu Picchu nothing will satisfy your hunger like Indio Feliz restaurant, a bright spot in the drab little town of Aguas Calientes. Don't miss it!