We arrived in Arequipa in the morning and after thoroughly exploring our AirBnb apartment with its magnificent views of the nearby mountain range, our first official outing in the city was to grab lunch at La Nueva Palomino, which just happened to be a short walk away:
La Nueva Palomino is a picanteria, a traditional Arequipan eatery. Apparently there aren't many left in the city as most have given way to new, modern establishments, but La Nueva Palomino has held on.
Held on and thrived, in fact.
The restaurant looks rather normal in size at first, but then you see the outdoor seating areas and realize that the place is freakin' gigantic:
We kept being led deeper and deeper into the restaurant as the hostess asked us repeatedly, "Would you rather sit here...or here....or here...?" Finally we couldn't take it anymore and just randomly pointed at a table.
While perusing the menu, we nibbled on corn:
AG sipped on his beer and CK on her mineral water, whereas my sister and I went the juice route. I ordered pineapple juice (S/.4.50 or around $1.50) and my sister, papaya (S/.7 or around $2):
Our server recommended we try the appetizer sampler (S/.25 or around $8):
It included fried mashed potato balls:
Fried cheese curds:
And some kind of fried veggie patty:
Fried, fried, fried.
She also recommended the panceta de lechon (S/.42 or around $14):
The thick, juicy slabs of pork came with a side of pastel de papas (think potato cassarole).
Rocoto relleno (S/.23 or around $8) is an Arequipan classic:
The rocoto pepper is stuffed with ground meat and smothered in melted cheese. It is usually paired with some kind of potato, which is pretty much the norm for everything in Peru.
The chupe camarones (S/.52 or around $17) came highly recommended as an Arequipa must eat according to travel forums:
For good reason. The shrimp chowder was a big hit with all of us.
Our server was a bit surprised when we didn't order one entree per person, so we were a little worried that there wouldn't be enough food. But it was our turn to be surprised when we saw how massive the portion sizes were.
We were even more stunned when we spied a woman at the table to one side of us demolishing a giant platter of fried shrimp and a elderly woman at the table to the other side of us killing a chupe all by herself. Damn. Peruvians sure can eat.
The fare at La Nueva Palomino was very good, but definitely not on the cheap side. Maybe a bit touristy, but it's still a bit of a distance from the city center, so it's not overly so. Certainly a good place to get an introduction to Arequipan cuisine.
La Nueva Palomino
Leoncio Prado 122, Yanahuara, Arequipa, Peru
+51 54 252393