Cusco’s MAP Café puts dinner – and diners – on display

MAP Café
Museo de Arte Precolombino
Plazoleta Las Nazarenas 231, Cusco, Peru
+51 84 242476; cuscorestaurants.com

The Pitch Is there a better setting to display the art of food than a glass-rectangle-turned-restaurant in the courtyard of an art museum? MAP Café is one of Cusco’s fine-dining destinations located in the heart of the colonial zone and in the courtyard of the Museo de Arte Precolombino. Specializing in haute Peruvian cuisine, the kitchen creates modern dishes with traditional ingredients — the stuffed pepper with lamb, for instance, blends Moroccan flavours in a Peruvian hot pepper. The space is intimate, original and memorable, and the food equally impressive. Service is speedy, though this seems to be typical of restaurants in the city, but diners don’t feel rushed.

What We Love The ambience. The 50-person space is minimal in decor, stark white linens and clay colours for seating and floors, which leaves plenty of mental space to soak in the company of your fellow diners as well as the artistry of the food. At dinner service, staff aren’t shy lighting candles, which adds to the setting’s romance. And even though you and your meal are on full display, the restaurant is tucked away from Cusco’s tourist-filled streets and you feel like the night — and city — is yours alone.

Don’t Miss Dessert. You’ll definitely want to save room for at least one of MAP Café’s sweet creations. Local flavours feature in Sacha Inchi, white chocolate and pralines with pisco and native peanuts, while the lemon pie is a deconstructed lemon meringue. The artful presentation of each dish is a tribute to the restaurant’s surroundings, but if you can admire it for longer than three seconds before diving in, you have our respect.

Entrees from S24; three-course prix fixe S165

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