Best restaurants in Northern Highlands

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Tarapoto

    La Patarashca

    Come to Patarashca for an Amazonian culinary awakening. Outstanding regional cuisine is on tap at this woody open-sided restaurant replete with pre-Columbian iconography. Don’t miss the salad of chonta, thin strips of local hearts of palm, with avocados; or the namesake patarashcas, fish served in a warm bath of tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic and cilantro wrapped in a bijao leaf. Then there's the juanes (here, balls of rice, meat, egg and olives boiled in a bijao leaf), the tacu tacu (fried rice and beans topped with plantain and an egg or meat), and the succulent river fish such as doncella. Bring a big appetite and dig into the exotic tastes.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Cajamarca

    Cascanuez Café Bar

    Every city needs a Cascanuez, a place where you can go at 4pm for your tea or merienda (afternoon snack) and have a bow-tied waiter serve you a hot drink and a sweet treat. In Cajamarca this means cafe pasado (coffee made by mixing thick coffee essence with boiling water) and a choice of nine varieties of tres leches (a cake made with three types of milk). Decor is British tearoom meets- French bistro, music is (yawn) Kenny G, and service is slightly over formal.

  • Top ChoiceRestaurants in Tarapoto

    Doña Zully

    The parrilla (charcoal grill) masters here rustle up some of the best barbecues in the Peruvian Amazon using the staple ingredients of cecina (smoked pork), and doncella (a type of freshwater fish), among others. The tilapia, steam-cooked in a banana leaf with sides of fried plantain and avocado salad, is sensational. Service is attentive and the atmosphere quietly refined.

  • Restaurants in Cajamarca

    Paprika

    Cajamarca’s poshest restaurant is located in its fanciest hotel and – no surprise – offers the most inventive food in the city. Large windows look out onto the main plaza, starched white tablecloths lend a formal edge and food arrives artistically arranged on a variety of slates, boards, spoons and sometimes even plates. More unconventional menu options include fish in a lomo saltado sauce, roast beef salad and piqueo marino, a taster dish consisting of various fish items presented in glasses or on bite-sized spoons.

  • Restaurants in Tarapoto

    Natural

    Brand new and boldly experimental, Natural is the first attempt at a true gourmet restaurant in Tarapoto and possibly one of the first to focus wholly on Amazonian food. Six-course tasting menus examine the delights of fried doncella (a type of freshwater fish) with queso de cuñumbuque (local cheese) and c hicharrón de pescado (crisp fish skins). The interior is modern and deftly designed and the staff are keen to share their love of their (as yet) little-traveled local flavors.

  • Restaurants in Cajamarca

    El Marengo

    Marengo is the smallest, hottest and most fun of the melee of pizza places in the blocks west of Plaza de Armas. With six wooden tables and a brick pizza oven squeezed into a space the size of a dentist’s waiting room, it feels more like a blacksmith’s forge than a restaurant. Choose from 14 pizza flavors. The white-asparagus-and-pineapple pizza is an intriguing option. Watch you don’t get whacked around the head by the pizza shovel (the place is that small).

  • Restaurants in Cajamarca

    10 Luces

    A casual place for lunch or a light dinner, 10 Luces is located in Cajamarca’s emerging hip quarter and sports high tables, cool stools and a straight-to-the-point menu that’s heavy on fish. Select from small ceviches, gourmet burgers (evenings only) or an array of diminutive one-person paellas. Service is sharp and the arty dishes taste as good as they look.

  • Restaurants in Tarapoto

    Zygo Café

    New coffee bar with a strong emphasis on vegetarian and vegan food where you can enjoy fresh porridge (not common in Peru) and vegan muffins alongside gap-year travelers in tie-dye t-shirts. The coffee is the best in town and the French-Peruvian owners are friendly and knowledgeable about their brews.

  • Restaurants in Cajamarca

    Salas

    This old-school diner is a weird juxtaposition of bland cafeteria-style tables and ostentatiously outfitted wait staff (with bow-ties, no less). It's located down a narrow entrance off the Plaza de Armas and has been in business since 1947. Most of the clientele look like they've been around just as long, enjoying typical Cajamarquino dishes like lomo saltado (a beef stir-fry), tamales and chicken soup. Granted, it's a tad old-fashioned and probably hasn't changed its menu since it opened, but for a basic appreciation of Cajamarca's culinary bedrock (pre-pizza era), Salas is worth a brief breakfast or lightning lunch.

  • Restaurants in Cajamarca

    Heladería Holanda

    The tiny entrance on the Plaza de Armas opens into a large, Dutch-orange cafe selling the best ice cream in Cajamarca. The staff will shower you with samples of the 20 or so changing flavors, the best of which are based on local and regional fruits. The Dutch owner buys them direct from family farms following a fair-trade philosophy. Staff members are single mothers and the deaf, an ongoing social project started by the owner. Heladería Holanda has locations at El Quinde Shopping Center and in Los Baños del Inca as well.

  • Restaurants in Tarapoto

    Café d’ Mundo

    This dark and sexy restaurant-bar is illuminated nightly by moody candlelight. It has outdoor seating and snug indoor lounges – and sophisticated live piano on Friday and Saturday evenings. Italian-style pizzas are the mainstay (try the caprese with avocado), but interesting regional lasagnas (with cecina; smoked pork) and pastas adorn the small menu. The owner is also the proprietor of the Castillo de Lamas, where there is another cafe-style branch of the restaurant.

  • Restaurants in Tarapoto

    Suchiche

    A relatively new addition to Tarapoto’s colony of bars and clubs on and around Jirón Lamas, Suchiche positions itself as a restobar, with good food, from Peruvian-Japanese (Amazonian sushi, aka maki) to Peruvian-Italian (pasta with lomo saltado). The long, handsome bar dispatches coffee, craft beer, pisco sours or freshly blended juice. The interior paints a pretty picture with flashing neon, symbolic paintings of Che Guevara and Charlie Chaplin, and some woody Amazonian flourishes.

  • Restaurants in Cajamarca

    Sanguchon.com

    This wildly popular hamburger-and-sandwich joint features an extensive menu of handheld snacks. It has 16 varieties of burgers (including vegetarian) and a dozen sauces – adding up to almost 200 different menu choices. The thick-cut chips are more than just filling. Walk in through the kitchen and grab your pew in the rowdy bar hidden behind a stained-glass partition.

  • Restaurants in Tarapoto

    El Rincón Sureño

    Tarapoto loves a steak and this is where most of the town comes to get it along with all number of other meats fresh off the grill (vegetarians stay away!). For a northern Peru flavor you might want to go for cecina (smoked pork), chorizo, chicharrón (deep-fried pork) or that old Peruvian stand-by, chicken. The wine list is impressive, too.

  • Restaurants in Tarapoto

    La Collpa

    You can practically taste the jungle air at this stilt restaurant, with its bamboo balcony over a river and a patch of rainforest. The menu offers up everything imaginable: ceviche (raw seafood marinated in lime juice), typical jungle food, grills, Chinese food and pastas. Come for lunch to best appreciate the views, though candlelit dinners are also a treat.

  • Restaurants in Cajamarca

    Cafetería Sabi

    There’s a minor coffee revolution happening in Cajamarca at the moment, built on a passion for roasting local organic beans grown in nearby Jaen and Chachapoyas. Recently opened Sabi is a leader in the field and combines good beans with a knowledgeable owner, pleasant snacks (including artisanal ice cream) and suave music on weekend evenings.

  • Restaurants in Cajamarca

    Vaca Loca

    Set in an inviting colonial house with a warm paint job, the 'Mad Cow' pays homage to the local dairy culture with bovine-print furniture and cow art. But the reason to come here is for the quality pies – they're dripping with local cheese and a wide selection of toppings including gourmet offerings such as artichoke and wild mushroom.

  • Restaurants in Kuélap

    El Terra Mia - Kuélap

    The owners of one of Chachapoyas' best coffee bars have extended their domain to Kuélap. This largely open-air cafe sits at the top of the cable car and offers the same hard-to-pass-up mix of sandwiches, coffee and cakes as the original location.

  • Restaurants in Tarapoto

    Café Plaza

    Classic central-plaza corner cafe stocked full of people sipping espressos, breaking the no-smoking policy, and discussing 'deals' hunched over wooden tables. Open to the street, it offers a front-row seat into the film that is Tarapoto. Good for coffee, cakes, snacks and milkshakes.

  • Restaurants in Tarapoto

    Brava Grilled

    Brava is where Tarapoto goes a bit Texas with big juicy beef patties and a variety of quality fresh ingredients heaped on real buns. So what if the fries are a bit of an afterthought? Wash them down with a real milkshake.