One of my favorite parts about living in Cusco has been the vibrant food scene.
Sure, Cusco is a tourist city first, which means super expensive hotels and restaurants line the streets to cater to the wealthy travelers. However, even if you’re on a budget, you don’t have to miss out on the great dishes on offer in the city.
I lived here on a budget for two months and ate A LOT. Use my guide to find the best cheap restaurants in Cusco!
1. Le Buffet Frances
Location: Atoqsayk’uchi 616, Cusco 08000, Peru
This cute little European cafe tucked away on a side street of Cusco isn’t a buffet, but it’s definitely French! Run by a young French couple, all the food here is phenomenal and it 100% deserves its place in the top spot on TripAdvisor.
The set meal with a sandwich, fresh juice, and dessert is my go to, while Daniel usually opts for the bacon and pumpkin quiche. You can also stop by for desserts and coffee, or meat and cheese platters to share.
The fresh, light taste is such a welcome change from heavy Peruvian food. The best part? A complete meal for two with food, drinks, and dessert doesn’t even set us back $20. For me, it’s definitely one of the best cheap restaurants in Cusco.
2. Fuego Burgers and Barbecue Restaurant
Location: A Perú, Calle Plateros 358 A. 2do Piso, Cusco, Peru
This American spot was a great find, and one of our favorite cheap restaurants in Cusco.
Daniel and I hit it up for the amazing lunch menu. A sandwich or burger, fries, coleslaw, drink and dessert for $8. Yes please. I opt for the cuban sandwich with pulled pork, while Daniel usually tries something from the burger menu.
If you’ve been traveling in South America for awhile, you know a good sandwich is HARD to find. Check out Fuego for your fix!
3. Creperia & Backpacker La B’om
Location: Calle Carmen Alto 283, Cusco 08000, Peru
I love this little creperie because the ambiance inside is magical. It has low ceilings, colorful cushions, a living room with couches to lounge in and a balcony with an amazing view of the city. Oh, and the food is great too!
The “menu of the day” with a crepe, espresso, and fresh juice will only set you back $5 and will definitely leave you feeling cozy and full.
Another great aspect of this place is that it has the cheapest beer prices we’ve seen so far! $2 for a Cusquena brew is (sadly) a great deal here in the city. Because of that it’s one of the best cheap restaurants in Cusco to visit for lunch on a weekend and some casual afternoon drinks.
4. Best Breakfast – Museo Del Cafe
Location: Espaderos 136, Cusco 08000, Peru
Museo del Cafe has the best breakfast I’ve tried so far in Cusco. Yes, the meals are $9 to $10 but don’t get scared away!
First, they are HUGE. I had to skip lunch afterwards because I was still so full. And second, they include everything. Coffee, fresh juice, and all the food you could ever need. We checked out a few cheaper spots in Cusco, but once we added juice and coffee to our meals, the price almost always exceeded those from Museo del Cafe.
Finally, the food is delicious and the ambiance is great. Comfy couches line the wall and we snagged a great seat on the balcony overlooking Cusco’s cobbled city streets. It’s right by Plaza de Armas, making it one of the best cheap restaurants in Cusco when you’re searching for the early morning cure to your next hangover!
5. Best Peruvian Food – Menu of the Day
The menu of the day is not a restaurant, but an option. Classic Peruvian cuisine has some of the best cheap restaurants in Cusco because many Peruvian restaurants offer traditional food at an insanely cheap price every day.
The “menu of the day” changes daily (makes sense) and usually includes a soup, a main dish, and a juice. You can find the choices hanging in windows of restaurants or written on signs outside advertising the prices. If you want a filling meal on a budget, the menu of the day is the BEST option.
At the small restaurant by my apartment, we can get a large potato and veggie soup, rice and fried fish, and a cup of juice for only $1.50. Seriously, it’s crazy. However, the closer you get to the center of the city, the more expensive the menu will be, and I’ve even seen them range up to $10 at nice restaurants. So, if you’re on a budget my advice is to prowl the side streets to get the best deal!
6. Best Value – Maikhana Indian Buffet
Location: Av. El Sol 106, Int. 207 | 2nd Floor, Galerias La Merced
I love Indian food. I try every Indian restaurant in every city we visit and to be honest, in South America, they’ve all been average at best. Its not surprising, but still a little disappointing! Who knew I would eat the best Indian food of my life in little Oxford, Ohio??
Anyway, the Maikhana Indian Buffet in Cusco is great for two reasons. First of all, if you’re on a budget, it’s less than $5 for all you can eat rices, curries and a salad. It even includes water, which is so rare and so great to find outside of the US.
Second, while the curries are fine, the real star of the show is their garlic nan. Omg. It is far and away the BEST nan I have ever had in my life! The pieces are huge and so flavorful, and you can add it to your meal for only $1.50 more. That alone immediately categorized Maikhana as one of the best cheap restaurants in Cusco.
Seriously if you’re an Indian lover like me, don’t miss this awesome buffet!
7. Best Drunk Food – Rey Kebab
Location: Peru, Tecsecocha 400, Cusco, Peru
Rey Kebab is just the best. It’s set up right across from the best bars and clubs and open late so you never have to head home unsatisfied.
The classic kebabs are only $5, and they’re big, hot, and filling. However, my favorite dish here is definitely the pita and hummus plate. I lOVE hummus, and theirs is exceptional. Their pita is also always hot and fresh and for only $3 it makes the perfect midnight snack.
No matter what time of day (or night) it is, definitely stop by Rey Kebab for a delicious and cheap meal in Cusco.
8. Best Dessert – Qucharitas
Location: 372 Procuradores, Cusco, Peru,
Guys. This place.
Qucharitas is a cafe, ice cream, and dessert shop in Cusco. The most interesting thing about it is that they make the ice cream right in front of you! They have a cream base that they pour on large freezers, then they mix in whatever toppings you ask for and let it all freeze together into their delicious ice cream.
Oh, and did I mention their waffles? Put your ice cream on a fresh waffle with nutella, or in a homemade waffle cone. They also have smoothies, cakes, milkshakes and crepes to tempt your sweet tooth. A half waffle with ice cream and nutella (my go to) is more than enough to split with a partner and will only set you back $4. Not bad, because the quality and flavor is absolutely phenomenal!
9. Best Snack – Churro Bar and Vegan Bakery
Location: Choquechaca 216-C | 2nd floor, San Blas, Cusco 88, Peru
Ok, this little whole in the wall cafe is just too cute.
Run by a young couple, the place only has two tables, a couple chairs, and a small menu. But, you don’t need to look at it long because it’s clear what they do best: churros.
You can get mini churros to dip in chocolate, churros filled with caramel, or even churros topped with different candies and toppings like a sundae. Pair it with a coffee or tea and your sweet tooth will definitely be satisfied for only $2. Check it out!
2018 UPDATE: The Churro Bar has moved into a bigger space, and now has chairs and tables to chill at. Plus, it’s in a more convenient location right in San Blas. Nice!
10. Best Bar – Indigo
Location: Tecsecocha #415 first floor | First Floor, Cusco 08000, Peru
This restaurant isn’t too cheap (around $10 for a meal) but I’m putting it on the list because it’s my favorite bar in Cusco and has the best atmosphere.
Order a beer, a pisco sour, or even a hookah to smoke for the night, grab a few board games from the bar, and enjoy the music and cheerful ambiance while you relax. Arrive at just the right time and maybe the table set with a porch swing will even be available to snag for your group.
If you’re getting dinner too, the best options on their menu are definitely the Thai curries. The musandam curry with peanut butter and rice is my go to. It’s large enough to split for two if you grab a cheaper appetizer also, which can help keep costs down.
Definitely don’t miss Indigo for a night out in Cusco.
Cusco is one of my favorite cities to live in so far because the array of different restaurants and cuisines has been so delicious and fun to try. I promise, even if you can’t afford $30 ceviche, there are plenty of cheap restaurants in Cusco where you don’t have to trade flavor for price.
Use this guide to find the best 10 cheap restaurants in Cusco and try all of my favorite meals!
PS trying to save money on your trip? Visit the nearby Laullipata Park for a picnic or check out these super cheap day trips to pair with the best cheap restaurants in Cusco. A hike to Huchy Qosqo, the Temple of the Moon, or even Kinsa Cocha, Pisac’s three lakes can all be done on your own to save big money.