While travelling in a foreign country we usually want to try the local food, hoping it’s both tasty and inexpensive. Peru is a country unique in many aspects and this uniqueness makes itself known in the food. Yes, the food in Peru is delicious and definitely different.
As a rule, there are a lot of bars and restaurants in Cusco. Sometimes on one street you will find several of them.
In the cheapest, small local restaurants, you can find what’s known as Menú (soup and main course + salad + drink) This is served for lunchtime and usually costs between 4-8 soles. Typically a restaurant will have a rotation of very similar dishes with rice, french fries and chicken. Currently I cannot look at the rice, and I feel the same about chicken. Eating it every day is too much for me. In summary for Peruvians, rice, french fries and chicken is well-loved, almost being a daily necessity.
Of course some of these small restaurants leave a lot to be desired in terms of cleanliness, hygiene and freshness of ingredients. A large part of tourists rather pass these from afar, but I eat in these places because they are inexpensive and I like to be closer to the local society. Yet not all of the dishes I try satisfy me.
In contrast to these cheap local spots, in the restaurants near the plaza prices for each dish or menú begin from a minimum of 17 – 20 soles. You will see the difference: they’re much cleaner, more dishes to choose from, but also more tourists and fewer locals. The real question is: are these dishes more delicious? It depends, the higher price does not always guarantee that the dish will taste better. Some of these restaurants make really good food, and some do not, but the prices are high regardless.
During my stay in Cusco, I checked quite a lot of restaurants, some cheaper, some more expensive, some in the center, and other outside the center. And after some months of looking for the best place to eat lunch, finally I found my favorite. There’s a restaurant called Govinda, situated in San Blas market (Mercado San Blas). This restaurant meets all my expectations and desires, 100%.
Govinda Lila’s restaurant in Cusco, San Blas market
Imagine you are walking in San Blas area in Cusco and finaly visit San Blas market (mercado San Blas).
It looks like an inconspicuous place, some stalls with fruit/vegetables, some with fresh juices, and some small sandwich stands.
And among all these stalls there is one which differs a lot from the others. It is called Govinda Lila restaurant, standing in the market for 7+ years.
What differ this place from other around?
First of all there’s the owner: lovely, warm Peruvian woman – Mrs. Lila, an example of a true businesswoman. She was the only one who noticed an increasing demand and interest among tourists for typical vegetarian restaurants, which were as not popular in Cusco some years ago. What’s more important is that she has managed to fill this need. She created something that a lot of tourists were waiting for, and is still going strong many years later. Mrs Lila has all the time for a lot of clients, hungry clients, who visit her place with pleasure and enjoy having a lunch there.
Her restaurant is very small and simple also very clean and cosy. She takes care of all the details: from the dishes, to the table. Everything is very hygienic.
But not only this separates Govinda restaurant from other this kind of places in Cusco. People who come here have the possibility for interesting conversation with her or other clients. So it is not just a place where you can eat well but also a great place to make acquaintances, to acquire new knowledge, to learn about Peruvian culture, and to just chat. To sum up, Mrs. Lila cares not only about the taste of her meals but also about atmosphere.
What kind of meals you will find in Govinda restaurant?
- Completely Vegetarian
- Currently not only vegetarian, but also typically vegan (without gluten, without milk, etc)
- Healthy and fresh, cooked with what nature gives us, in addition to new ingredients every day. There is no space here to use the meals from the previous day.
How much does the menu cost in Govinda restaurant?
The price for menú (soup and main course) costs only 6 soles. Soup alone costs 2.5 soles and only the main course costs 5 soles. Once you taste the menú of Govinda, you will return to this place sooner or later . There is no tastier deal in Cusco than in this restaurant.
The restaurant is opened from 12-midday until 4 pm.
If you want to eat cheap and healthy plus experience a typical Peruvian environment, visit Govinda Lila’s restaurant in San Blas Mercado experience for yourself.
Now you will know how to find the best restaurant in Cusco on a budget!