Cochabambinos pride themselves on being the most food-loving of Bolivians and their city's reputation as the culinary capital of the country is deserved. The highest concentration of good restaurants is in la Recoleta, an upscale neighborhood north of the center; there are several recommended Argentinian-style churrasquerías in a pedestrian plaza here.
There's a dazzling array of local specialties, including pico a lo mancho (a gut-busting portion of various meats and sausages, onions, spicy peppers and tomatoes on a bed of thick french fries); silpancho (schnitzel-style meat on rice and potatoes); lomo borracho (beef with egg in a beer soup); and picante de pollo (chicken in a spicy sauce).
There’s tasty street food and snacks all over Cochabamba, with the papas rellenas (potatoes filled with meat or cheese) at the corner of Achá and Av Villazón particularly delicious. Great salteñas (meat and vegetable pasties) and empanadas are ubiquitous, and locals swear by the sizzling anticuchos (beef-heart shish kebabs).
At the corner of Av de las Heroínas and España – crowding one another in a jumble of fluorescent lights, neon signs of child-friendly mascots, and kaleidoscopic displays of gelato flavors – are a jumbo-sized Dumbo, Cristal and Donal. All serve a range of foods throughout the day, from pancakes to bland-but-decent burgers, but crowds flock here in the evening for helados (ice creams), shakes and gut-busting servings of cake. Competing for cochabambinos' ice-cream and dessert bolivianos is Globo's, with four locations across the city; the multistory outlet on Av Pando in la Recoleta is an impressive mix of child-friendly elements with a sophisticated nightclub feel for adults.