It was with delight that we discovered the Chuncho restaurant, Ollantaytambo’s newest dining option. Located on the Main Square, this restaurant is the brain child of Wendy and her son Joaquin, the lovely owners of the El Albergue Hotel at the train station in Ollantaytambo.
We really enjoyed their traditional Pachamanca lunch which they host on their organic farm, so were excited to hear about their new offering which is without question, currently the most exciting dining option in Ollantaytambo. The word ‘Chuncho’ is from the local Quechua language, means native and wild and is the perfect name for this farm to fork culinary experience.
Peru is known on the world stage for its fabulous culinary tradition. Due in large part to the incredible quality of the ingredients available. The Chuncho restaurant focuses entirely on all local and seasonal ingredients of the highest quality that are then prepared in the true traditional Andean style. Don’t be surprised if you have never heard of most of the dishes on the menu. These are true traditional Andean dishes so you won’t find lomo saltado or ceviche here!
The ‘piqueos’ or snacks section of the menu are perfect as appetizers or as a smaller main option. We tried the ‘meriendita’. A nice selection of 4 traditional dishes including quinoa and chard pancakes, spicy stuffed rocoto pepper, solterito, a salad made of fava beans, carrots, onions and the local lake ‘seaweed’ and a delicious piece of roasted giant corn served with butter.
The star dishes are their ‘banquets’ which are a 4-step journey through a series of traditional dishes designed to share. Start with a selection of snacks or appetizers including ricotta cheese with aromatic herbs served with ‘uncucha’ chips, a tuber from the Amazon. There is then a selection of soups made from local vegetables either grown on their organic farm or sourced locally.
Mains include roast guinea pig and Andean lamb served with the ‘meriendita’ sides mentioned above. Dessert is a selection of mini-desserts from the Andes including a cacao truffle made from chuncho chocolate, a beetroot brownie and a delicious quinoa milk pudding to end your feast.
Chuncho also has a fabulous bar where they serve only drinks made from their ‘Caña Alta’ premium sugar cane spirit that they produce in their own Andina Distillery. The bar is one of our favourite things about Chuncho. They serve incredible cocktails with their own twist – like the ‘Matacuy Sour’ made with their sugar cane spirit and grapefruit juice. The ‘Silvestre’ mocktail, was quite simply one of the most refreshing and tasty drinks we had enjoyed in a long time – sherbet, lemon, grapefruit juice with fresh lemon balm and fennel. Delicious!
The décor is simple and rustic but cozy. A re-purposed old-school truck sits in pride of place as the bar. Tables are wooden, dishes old-school enamel and calico covered benches and chairs complete the experience.
We love visiting Joaquin and Wendy as they are continuously striving to create sustainable projects that look after the land and the local community that also provide authentic, unique and local experiences to travellers passing through. The Chuncho restaurant is definitely well worth the visit on your way to Machu Picchu.
Best of Peru Travel Recommends:
- Start at the bar for a pre-dinner drink. What they do here in terms of the creativity in their drinks and the quality of their ingredients us unique to the Sacred valley and well worth the exploration.
- To get the full Chuncho restaurant experience definitely go with the banquet menu so you can get a real feel for typical Andean cuisine.
- Did we mention they also have their own coffee brand and roast their own beans in their coffee roastery, so it’s also a great place to grab a great coffee.