Around the same time that Cusco started hosting a new type of tourism other than backpackers, four friends decided to open a Bodega, a place to meet, chat over a plate of tapas and share a drink. Eight years later, Cicciolina restaurant Cusco has kept this energy, especially at night, where conversations in various languages can be heard at the long candle-lit bar or high wooden tables.
Here sharing is made easier by the warm, inviting atmosphere of this old colonial building combined with the mediterranean influence felt in the decor (red walls, peppers and garlic hanging from the ceiling…) and in the menu. Everything is orchestrated in two tiny open kitchens, where you can observe the choreography of creation from the cozy bar, feeling almost like part of the family.
“Cicciolina” is worth a visit to enjoy a glass of wine or a coffee and the relaxed atmosphere, but you only truly discover the dimension of this restaurant by trying a few of its dishes.
Local produce and international flavors mingle creating a “fusion” of notably fine mediterranean cuisine. The tapas feel like they are imported directly from the Spanish Basque country, the seafood risotto and homemade fresh pasta and the more traditional dishes such as “causa” or alpaca provide a variety for all tastes and palettes, while the desserts particularly the basil ice-cream, allow you to to end your meal on a sweet note.
Impressed by my previous visits, I regularly return to Cicciolina afternoon, evening or even some mornings when I feel the call of a good brunch (poached eggs with asparagus or bagels with salmon trout and cream cheese) and a great coffee.
We’ve given Cicciolina a five star rating if you opt to sit in the more formal restaurant area (S/.7 surcharge per person) where staff provide impeccable, friendly service adding to the overall enjoyment of the experience of a refined and varied cuisine in an elegant, friendly and unpretentious atmosphere.
You can also choose to sit in the more informal bar area which we would rate as a 4 star experience. The food is the same but the service is slower and less efficient than in the restaurant section.
Best of Cusco reccomends :
- For starters the following tapas are good: causa with guinea pig; BBQ scallops in a soya sauce with crispy garlic, ginger and lime and all the salads are delicious.
- For mains try our favourite Tagliolini with squid ink and prawns; beetroot ravioli filled with pesto and mushrooms ; osobucco in a beer sauce with pumpkin raviolis or the tender fillet of alpaca with 4 pepper sauce.
- They also do a great pasta bowl of the day at lunchtime which comes with either a glass of wine or lemonade.
- Cicciolina also own the more informal Baco restaurant located two blocks away.
Appetizers start from S/.23 (Approx. US$9) and mains from S/.33 (Approx. US$13).