Our Peru Guide Editor Paul Jones gives his verdict on the restaurant Divina Comedia.
Restaurant Davina Comedia
I am a fan of great food (just ask my wife), and over the years I have been lucky enough to eat in many of the best restaurants that Cusco has to offer (Amongst many bad ones!). It is fair to say that Cusco really only has a limited number of good restaurants, with many trying to live up to the reputation of being something better than they actually are. Therefore the other day, when some friends invited me to a special birthday surprise at a restaurant I had heard of, but was not over familiar with, I was a little unsure of what we were in for.
The place in question was the Divina Comedia restaurant, located, on Calle Pumacurco just a 2 minute walk from Plaza Nazarenas (close to where the famous Hotel Monasterio is located). The restaurant which forms part of the Hotel Arqueologo, is known for having singing waiters, which previously had rather put me off from trying it out.
On entering the restaurant, I was immediately struck by the warmth of the décor and large arch at the back of the room, where the kitchen was open for all to see. For me it always adds to the experience when you can see chefs methodically working away to create the food you are about to eat, rather than being crammed away in another room like they have something to hide (and in Cusco they often do).
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We were all seated and presented with the menu. The menu which was only a few pages long, included just about something for everyone. Starters included some light tapas bites, and salads, whilst the mains were a mixture of international and Peruvian dishes, including alpaca, duck, chicken, fish and steak and pastas.
The small tapas plate I ordered for starters was really only a taster dish, but was surprisingly very tasty, letting me know that we were in for a treat on the main course. All the mains arrived together in a swift fashion, and everyone around the table agreed that the food was well prepared and very good. Although my steak came with a kind of layered potato cake, and a tasty sauce, I felt that a small dish of fresh vegetables would have made me just that little happier.
I mentioned before that the Divina Comedia was famous for singing waiters, and they didn’t disappoint! Although you could probably say that the singers were not attending the tables, and were more dedicated to just singing, they really brought a lovely ambience to the restaurant and enhanced the whole evening. Accompanied by piano the singers (both a male and female) sang various classical opera songs throughout the evening. They singers were just at the right level, and didn’t over power the conversation around our table, only adding to the enjoyment of the evening.
As an overall eating experience, I would thoroughly recommend this to anyone visiting Cusco. However, that said I felt that the service was really quite poor, and the owners could do something to improve this. For example, we asked for some wine shortly after we initially sat down, and it eventually arrived 20 minutes later. This was compounded by the fact the one of us had to point out to the waiter that he was serving a completely different bottle than we ordered.
Also, at the end of the night you will be pleasantly surprised by how much it all costs. A similar restaurant in the US or Europe would probably set you back 3 or 4 times more. The Divina Comedia Restaurant was really quite a nice experience, and I recommend it to anyone visiting Cusco.