La Paz is a real treat if you're looking to spoil yourself after the culinary minefields of rural Bolivia. A newfound gastronomic renaissance means you can now find creative vegan fare, homemade pastas, fresh sushi and, most importantly, inventive takes on traditional fare from the Amazon to the Andes. You won't eat better anywhere else in Bolivia, guaranteed.
Rosario & Casco Viejo
Cheap lunch spots and bustling street markets make Rosario the most affordable place to eat, though quality is hit or miss. There are plenty of international eateries on Sagárnaga, but the better options lie nearby on Murillo. Casco Viejo, a culinary backwater for decades, is slowly finding its groove thanks to young forward-thinking chefs.
A great spread of Bolivian and international restaurants at more affordable prices than further south in Zona Sur. To find out the latest and greatest in the local culinary world, look out for the free magazines La Paz In and Azafrán, which are widely distributed in restaurants near Plaza Eduardo Avaroa.
The vast majority of the city's fine dining is found in this neighborhood, where prices match the quality. Calle Montenegro has a good collection of bars, restaurants and shops all within walking distance of each other.
If you don’t mind the hectic settings and questionable hygiene, your cheapest and most-interesting food options are found in the markets. The comedor (dining hall) at Mercado Uruguay sells set meals (of varying standards), including tripe and ispi (similar to sardines) for less than B$10. Other areas to look for cheap and informal meals include the Mercado Camacho, known for its juice stands, fresh breads and puffy llauchas (cheese pastries).
When in doubt, you can can always head to Alexander Coffee, with locations in Prado, Casco Viejo and Sopocachi. Popular with La Paz’s yuppie set, this chain cafe serves java drinks, good fruit juices and tasty snacks. While they are a bit saccharine, they're good spots if your stomach is easily upset.