Because so many hotels are scattered about the Urubamba region, and somewhat isolated, many guests, especially at the upscale accommodations, dine at their hotels; the major ones listed below (Tambo del Inka, Inkaterra, Casa Andina, Río Sagrado, and Sol y Luna) have good—but pricey for the area—restaurants.
The best restaurant directly in the town of Urubamba is El Huacatay ★★★, Jr. Arica 620 (www.elhuacatay.com; tel. 084/201-790). A few blocks from the main square, this surprising gourmet restaurant, in an old home built around a garden set back from a nondescript Urubamba street, is the perfect place for a long, relaxing lunch on the patio under bamboo shade or a more elegant dinner in the warm, intimate dining room (which has only five tables) or brightly colored lounge area. Run by Peruvian chef Pío Vásquez, the restaurant’s chef-driven menu is a bit of a rarity in these parts, and it focuses on the creative use of Andean ingredients, like trout tartar, stuffed ají amarillo peppers, and alpaca carpaccio. Portions are large and attractively presented, and although fairly priced for the setting, service, and quality, the restaurant is more upscale than most in the area. The restaurant accepts only cash and Visa cards; reservations on weekends and evenings are recommended.
Another good spot is courtyard restaurant Uru Gastropub ★★ (www.fb.com/urugastropub; tel. 922/635-333), at Jr. Grau 323, run by an American and Peruvian chef couple, with an international comfort food menu that includes fried green tomatoes, burgers, and fish and chips with curry sauce. Plus, it’s one of the few places you can get Cerveceria del Valle Sagrado beer on tap.
Another very good restaurant, also right in town, is PaCa PaCa ★, Av. Mariscal Castilla 640 (tel. 084/201-181), a quirky, brightly painted eatery and shop located through a small colonial courtyard and up some stairs. The food is casual and eclectic, with a handful of pizzas (evenings only) and pastas, plus curry and a fun cocktail list. Tres Keros ★, Avenida Sr. de Torrechayoc (main road Urubamba–Ollantaytambo), second floor (tel. 084/201-701), is the work of a very hands-on chef and owner, Ricardo Behar. He prepares surprisingly creative Peruvian cuisine, with great local ingredients and fish that comes in from the capital, at this cozy upstairs spot with a high, pitched bamboo ceiling and corner fireplace. The fresh salads, lomo saltado (made with beef tenderloin), and alpaca steak are particularly good, as is the small selection of wines. Lunch and dinner are served Monday through Saturday. A good spot for a simple breakfast or lunch of sandwiches, soups, and salads (you can also get lunch to go if you’re off on a hike), is Intensamente Café ★, Comercio 337 (tel. 084/610-710). The wildly colorful little cafe also serves crepes and homemade ice cream.
A unique valley restaurant for fine dining is Huayoccari Hacienda Restaurant ★★, Carretera Cusco–Urubamba, Km 64 (tel. 084/962-2224 or 984/620-621 in Cusco), several miles southeast of Urubamba near the Inkaterra hotel. The restaurant, in an exceedingly elegant farmhouse high in the hills above the Sacred Valley, is tough to make reservations at and hard to find. (It works almost exclusively with tour agencies, though most hotel receptions can also arrange lunches and dinners.) The $50 (cash only) prix-fixe menu starts with a pisco sour in the antique-filled common room or out among the gardens. Then diners, who feel as though they belong to an exclusive club, are admitted to the wood-paneled dining room—which has large picture windows framing views of the Andes—for a simple but well-prepared meal of local vegetables, soups (such as crema de maiz), and fresh river trout. The place is rather emphatically designed to feel like one is a guest in the home of a local agricultural patron. (And in fact, the home and restaurant belong to the Lambarri-Orihuela family, one of the valley’s most distinguished and oldest families.)
Several restaurants are scattered about the main valley highway and cater to bus tours and groups that storm through the Sacred Valley three times a week on market day. Tunupa, Km 77, Carretera Pisaq–Ollantaytambo (on the left side of the road on the way to Ollanta; www.tunuparestaurante.com; tel. 084/963-0206), owned by the same folks who own the restaurant of the same name in Cusco, is one of the most popular. In a massive, purpose-built hacienda with long corridors that form dining halls overlooking the Urubamba River, it’s something akin to a Peruvian bier hall. Even though it can get crowded on market days at lunchtime, it’s a fair value for an all-you-can-eat buffet for $20, including a pisco sour. Better is Hacienda Alhambra ★, Ctra. Urubamba–Ollantaytambo s/n (near Hotel Sol y Luna; www.fb.com/alhambraurubamba; tel. 084/201-200), a similar restaurant targeting bus tours, but in a more relaxed and intimate manner. The dining rooms are smaller, and there are tables outdoors under a thatched roof, with lovely garden and mountain views. Its buffets are daily from 10am to 3:30pm. On the main road toward Ollantaytambo, Wayra, Fundo Huincho Lote A-5 (www.hotelsolyluna.com; tel. 084/201-620), is an indoor/outdoor facility with wood-fired cooking run by the same owners as Sol y Luna Lodge. Besides the family-style lunch, there is a horse show.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.