At the start of 2014 the famous Peruvian chef Gaston Acurio unveiled his newest restaurant in Peru – Papacho’s Cusco. Specializing in gourmet burgers right in the heart of colonial Cusco, this up-scale burger restaurant has received much hype, so a few days ago I went along to see what all the fuss was about.
Papacho’s Cusco is a medium sized restaurant in the mid to upper price range located right in the heart of Cusco’s colonial centre. Attracting not only tourists but locals too, Papacho’s Cusco offers a massive range of tasty treats loosely based on classic Peruvian fast-food dishes, but with a gourmet twist. Spectacular burgers with incredible Peruvian salsas are the main focus, but the menu also includes a small selection of chicken, steak, pork and sub-style sandwich options too. Non-meat lovers need not worry, as all burgers can also be converted into veggie burgers. Equally mouth-watering starters, desserts, juices plus a wide selection of cocktails and alcoholic beverages are also on offer too.
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Funky Decor of Papacho’s Cusco
Located on the main Plaza de Armas, Papacho’s Cusco has to be one of the easiest restaurants in the city to find. Located adjacent to Cusco’s Cathedral on the corner of the plaza that leads onto Calle Santa Catalina Ancha, Papacho’s Cusco is within a 5-10 minutes walking distance of most of the tourist hotels in Cusco. For further points of reference, Papacho’s Cusco is close to Paddy’s Irish Pub and on the other side of the Road from the famous Norton Rats Pub. Note that the restaurant is on the second floor!
Atmosphere & Décor
Un-complicated, functional and funky is the best way to describe the décor at Papacho’s Cusco. Perhaps strongly influenced by the style of a classic American diner, the restaurant is modern and oozes charm with many cool details – check out the large neon Papacho’s burger wall sign, or the slightly bizarre pictures of Inca Gods with faces of famous celebrities super-imposed on them. With music like Kings of Leon and Oasis gently pumping out of the music system, Papacho’s Cusco is certainly not meant to be a formal restaurant, but simply a casual eatery where you can kick-back and enjoy some great food with a relaxed vibe.
Don’t be mistaken for thinking that Papacho’s is just another burger joint, it isn’t. What makes it standard apart uniquely from other similar restaurants is the use of traditional Peruvian ingredients and flavours that prevail throughout the menu. Aji panca, sauco, rocoto, anticucho sauce and huacatay herb are to name a few ingredients which feature in most dishes. Furthermore, the prime succulent meat that is key to a great gourmet burger is also sourced locally and proudly from the Villa Primavera Iñapari Ranch, a community association project in the Madre de Dios region of Peru’s Amazon Jungle.
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In a city where service is generally acknowledged as being fairly poor, Papacho’s offers a refreshingly nice change. The table staff are courteous, attentive knowledgeable about the menu and if your Spanish is not very well polished they also speak English! What more is needed? If only the rest of Cusco could do the same!
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Papacha Gourmet Burger
Recommended by the Manager!
As tasting every dish on the menu was a little beyond me, I sought the advice of Tania Vargas the restaurant manager for some insider’s pointers. She said, “The two most popular gourmet burgers we sell are the Papacha – a tasty thick patty of prime veal that is topped with blue cheese, bacon, elderberry ketchup, onion rings, lettuce and tomato, and the Cordon gourmet burger – stuffed with ham and cheese, topped with elderberry ketchup, mayo and crispy onions.” Then she went on to comment, “If you want something slightly different I also recommend the Ribs, or the Chaufa Burger – Chinese fried rice (Peruvian style!) topped with a veal patty, fried egg, fried platano and nikei ketchup.”
About Gastón Acurio
Possibly one of the most famous celebrities in Peru, Gastón Acurio is a talented chef, television presenter, cook-book author and world ambassador of Peruvian food. From his original restaurant Astrid & Gaston (it’s #14 on the World’s 50 Best list) in Miraflores – Lima, Gastón has grown an empire of 30+ restaurants, bars and cafés dotted around the globe. From luxury juice bars to Japanese-Peruvian fusion restaurants to gastrobars, there isn’t much that Gastón hasn’t achieved. In 2014, in partnership with fellow Peruvian chef Virgilio Martinez, Gastón plans to open his first Peruvian cevicheria in the UK’s capital – London.
Scrumptious is Not Descriptive Enough – Author’s Thoughts
As I sat looking at the menu, I couldn’t help but notice that my eyes were popping out of my head with excitement. I don’t think there was anything on the menu that I wouldn’t have eaten; in fact, choosing just one plate was quite a tough decision. If you like hearty tasty (if not slightly naughty) food, then a gourmet burger at Papacho’s Cusco should be right at the top of your list of things to eat in whilst in Cusco. With fair prices, great service and scrumptious food, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better place to eat! See our guide to Cusco for other restaurants by Gastón Acurio.
Although Papacho’s Cusco is certainly not considered to be the cheapest restaurant in town, it is on the lower end of the price range compared to other high-end restaurants in Cusco. A starter will set you back 24 – 30 Soles (US$ 9 – 11), a gourmet burger 32 – 39 Soles (US$ 12 – 14). A couple dining out may expect to pay around 140 – 160 Soles (US$ 50 – 57) for the evening, including food and drinks. In Cusco, this is excellent value for money, in global terms is probably the same price as an average restaurant in North America or Europe.
Drinks at Papacho’s Cusco
Open from 12pm til 12am, every day of the week.
Contact Information / Reservations
Address: Portal de Belen, 115, 2nd Floor, Plaza de Armas, Cusco Reservations: +51 (0) 84 245 359 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Advance reservations are recommended any day of the week.