2008 Roadtrip Puno, Perú Restaurant Reviews by ALEDM

We were in Puno for about a week and ate out for every meal. While Puno is not the gastronomic capitol of Perú, we had some very nice meals. Here are our reviews (exchange rate S/.2.84 = US$1):

1. Our Favorites:
1.1 Casa Andina Private Collection Puno, Av. Sesquicentenario 1970-1972, Sector Huaje, Puno, tel (51-51)363992, e-mail: informes@casa-andina.com, web: http://www.casa-andina.com/ . We went to this restaurant twice and had two good meals. It’s a little out of town but the taxi ride is only S/.8, at most. The room is lovely, with 2 fireplaces, and the service is quite good.


Dimitri loved sitting in front of the fire at dinner at Casa Andina Private Collection

We shared everything and ordered a Tacama Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc + Vigonier from Perú (S/.50) that was surprisingly good. At one of our meals there, our starter was the Raviol de ragout cordero con gelatina de menta - muña y jugos del conccion (S/.30). It was one big ravioli and it was delicious. The reduced sauce too was very good. For our main we shared the Trucha de lago en chutney de recotos y manzana sobre mini tacu-tacu de pallares (S/.38).



The Lake Titicaca trout with the chutney of apple and recoto, a delicious local fruit

It was very good even though the trout was too dry for our taste. The tacu-tacu de pallares is a purée of pallares which is a delicious white broad bean. I really like pallares and I have started to make a dip of pallares at home for aperitivo. Wikipedia translates pallares as lima beans or butter beans but I'm not sure that's correct.

The chef came to our table (which we love) to ask us about our meal. That makes a meal quite special for us. For dessert we shared the Caneloni rellenos de mouse de caramelo y castaña camotes confitadoes en miel y gelatina de Baileys S/.25. The dessert was unusual and we liked it. We had one agua (S/.7) and one tea de muña (S/.14). Tea de muña is made with a local herb that looks and tastes like oregano. We had our first at a home style café on the Isla del Sol near Copacabaña, Bolivia. It was delicious.

1.2 Tour of the Isla Taquile, We had a perfectly cooked trout lunch on our tour of the Isla Taquile. The meal was a delight at a local home, with the family in local dress and perfoming local dances. We went with Sacred Lake Servicios Turisticos US$77 each, including entrance fees, lunch, the fast boat (Crusero Sasci) and guide. (Urb Chanu Chanu I H-3, fono: (51-51)356-085, e-mail: info@titikakadventures.com and reservas@titikakadventures.com, web:
www.titikakadventures.com)
We were entertained by the family who made the excellent Lake Titicaca trout lunch


1.3 Coca Kinto, Jr Lima 401, esquina Lima y Libertad, (51-51) 365-566, Puno, We spent a total of S/.85. We only had 1 glass of Tacara Malbec which was good. As usual we shared all of the dishes. We had the Sopa Incaica (S/.10) which we loved when we had it at the Coca Kintu restaurant in Arequipa. It is described on the menu as: riquisma sopa a base de quinua con un toque de huacatay y leche/a hearty, warming soup broth based on local quinoa grain enhanced by the special flavor of the local herb huacatay and milk. We were even given the recipe (which follows below).
For our main we shared the El sabor de nuetra alpaca en salsa de yucón [or yacón] (local fruit) y manzana con un toque de vino blanco (S/.30)/ the incomparable flavor of the best local alpaca filet in yucón [or yacón] and apple sauce finished with white wine. The alpaca was a little tough but the sauce was delicious. For dessert we had a cheese cake with a local raisin like fruit called aguaymanto in the jam and it was good. We also had a coca maté, which is a tea with coca leaves floating in it. The service was lovely even though the restaurant had lots of customers. It was kind of cold in the restauarnt and the staff made sure that the big gas heater was pointed at us. Very nice. We also had a very good meal in the Coca Kintu restaurant in Arequipa last year.

Recipe for Sopa Incaica from Coca Kinto Restaurants in Arequipa and Puno (translated by Chef Melanie Bayly Loero, Gastronomy Section Writer with the virtual magazine called
www.livinginperu.com and Pastery Chef at La Caja Amarilla in Lima, Perú)

Ingredients

3 cups Beef broth
2 Bell pepper diced
1 Zucchini diced
2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup fresh milk
2 potatoes
1 cup fresh cheese in cubes
1/2 cup potato starch (you can use tapioca flour or cornmeal, it's for
thickening the soup)
Huacatay (this is an herb that tastes like grass to me (Audre); so, substitute grass?)
1 tbsp garlic diced
2 onions diced
salt

Brown garlic, onions, bell pepper and zucchini in a bit of oil.
Add the broth and milk bring to a boil.
Add quinoa and cheese, let boil again.
Then the potato starch dissolved in some water, the potatoes and the
paprika for color. Let cook until potatoes are done and the soup is thick
enough.
Before serving add the huacatay and salt to taste.
It should serve 4 people.

I would add the milk and cheese at the end, try both ways and see how it
goes.

good luck!
Melanie

2. Good Restaurants

2.1 Los Uros Restaurant, Libertador Lake Titcaca, Isla Esteves s/n, Lago Titicaca, Puno, Perú, tel (51-51)36 7780, e-mail: hpuno@libertador.com.pe, web:
www.libertador.com.pe This restaurant is outside of town and would cost about S/.8 to get there by taxi. We had two good meals that were a little on the expensive side and a bit unimaginative. The wine prices were almost double those in the other restaurants in town for the same wines.

2.2 Chifa Nan Hux (de Chae Shu Tian), Jr. Arequipa 378, Puno tel 365-070, The restaurant (upstairs) was cold but the 2 soups we had for lunch were surprisingly good. We spent 2 x S/.8 = S/.16, fried wanton and tea = S/.26

2.3 Giorgio, Jr. Lima 430, Puno, telf (51-51)367-771, cel 951317946, e-mail: giorgioss33@hotmail.com, restaurantgiogio@yahoo.com, web: www.restaurantgiorgio.com, restaurantgiorgio.net We didn’t like any of the wines they had so we brought our own. The restaurant was empty when we arrived and cold but they went out and bought a gas cylinder for their heater and eventually it got warm enough. It also got packed. We shared everything and it was good but not memorable. We spent S/.110 (without wine) but with big tip instead of corkage.

3. Restaurants we would not recommend

3.1 La Casona, Jr. Lima 517 ( a 1/2 cuadra de la plaza de armas), Puno, tel (51-51)351-108, e-mail: soniafrisancho@hotmail.com, web: www.lacasonapuno.com This is a restaurant that everyone recommends. We had one good lunch and a terrible dinner. At lunch the service was good and we had a local dish called Pesque de quinoa, described as mashed quinoa seasoned with milk and cheese. It was delicious. The other soup was legumbres and was a little uninteresting. With the addition of some of the Pesque de quinoa, it improved. We had 1 jarra de limonada which was huge and very good. For lunch we spent S/.30.

When we went back for dinner we spent S/.77. The food was terrible and the service wasn't too good either. We shared everything and ordered a Casillero del Diablo (S/.40)--they only had Cabernet Sauvignon. It was okay but we prefer Malbec. We started with a Papas con Queso Puneño Frito (S/.8) which was so bad we didn't eat it. The potatoes weren't tasty and the cheese was terrible (and we had bought really good cheese at the Mercado Central--so it exists in Puno). For our main we had Lomo asado (S/.25) with Ensalada de Legumbres and Quinoa graneada. The meat was tender and cooked the way we wanted it. The vegetables were out of a frozen bag and the quinoa (which we typically love) wasn't up to snuff. For dessert we had a Panqueque con miel y kiwicha (S/.4) which was cold and rubbery.

3.3 Vida Natural on Lambayeque near Jr. Lima. We had one set menu vegetarian lunch for S/.12. It wasn’t tasty enough.