El Tabuco is a family run Italian restaurant on Calle Meloc, Cusco. If you’re looking for somewhere with character and a lot of heart then El Tabuco is the spot. This little gem might be small but it has great atmosphere. Three friends and I visited on Wednesday evening, some of us for the first time. The family are so welcoming, whether it’s your first visit or you are a regular you’ll get hugs and kisses to say hello and you’ll feel right at home straight away. El Tabuco is cozy and intimate, and on a chilly Cusco night the wood burning oven will warm you right up. If you’re feeling a bit lazy, luckily they do delivery. But you’ll miss out on meeting the family which is one of the best bits of visiting El Tabuco.
The El Tabuco Family Posing for a Photo
There is a really good pizza menu on offer and a good variety of pastas to choose from too. I’ve tried a lot of pizzas places in Cusco and this one is definitely top of the list. From my pizza experience in Cusco I’ve found that pizza in other places tastes the same no matter what one you order, really cheesy! We all ordered different pizzas on Wednesday and to my surprise they all tasted different. They tasted like they should have and had the ingredients that were listed on the menu! WOW!! A menu that doesn’t lie. One of the great things about El Tabuco is that everything is freshly prepared and cooked right in front of you. I really enjoyed watching the pizza chef in action. It was like a little pizza show just for us. All the ingredients are freshly chopped and set out neatly for the chef to use and work with. The smell of roasted garlic and fresh pizza bread will fill your nose and make your belly rumble. While we were waiting for our pizzas the mother of the family happily chatted to us about where we were from and how we liked Cusco. She was extremely affable and friendly, and genuinely interested in what we had to say.
Delighted With Our Masterpiece!
This fun and quirky little pizza joint has some cool authentic touches to it. You’ll notice a wall dedicated to decorated pizza boards. Visitors to the restaurant design and turn boring pizza boards into pieces of art. We had a go too. We were given a large pizza board and a box of coloured markers and let loose. It was great, we felt like kids! When you’re finished your original pizza board project the father of the family will get his hammer and nails out and pop it right up on the wall there and then. After taking a few pictures of you and your masterpiece, of course!
The Father of the Family and the Wall of Decorated Pizza Boards
ENTERTAINMENT TIP: If looking for fun at night, or to watch sports during the day, or even a taste of home, visit the Wild Rover Hostel Cusco for great food, sports and beer! Entrance to their bar is free even for non-guests
OK, so back to the pizzas!! They were so delicious. They all arrived at the same time. So no one was left waiting, which commonly happens in Cusco. They were fresh and crisp and so tasty. If you’re feeling extra hungry go for the large. But the mediums are the perfect size. They will fill you up nicely after the free warm garlic bread to start. There are some interesting juices and drinks on the menu too to accompany your tasty meal. As I was tucking in to my flavorsome and yummy pizza I saw a piping hot lasagna being removed from the wood fire over, mmmmmm! I’d already made my choice for my next visit. As I’m writing this my mouth is watering remembering the tastes and I’m wondering if it’s too soon to go again?!
Enjoying the Freshly Cooked Pizzas
Some nights of the week there’s live music, a man and his guitar entertain guests while they enjoy their food. You’d wonder how he manages to squeeze in but he does. The family are open to you bringing your own instrument along too. So if you feel like singing a song or two or having a little jam with the fam, then do so!
Its five stars for El Tabuco. This great little place is definitely one of Cusco’s hidden gems. If you’re looking for great pizza, a warm atmosphere and really friendly service then pay a visit. You won’t be disappointed. It may be small but it packs serious charm…..Roll on 5 o’clock so I can go test out the lasagna!