We found Bolivia’s cuisine to be palatable but not fantastic. Street food is widely available but is almost always deep fried, using oil that’s days old judging by the smell of it. We dabbled a little but are ashamed to admit that we preferred the gringo food joints.
La Cueva – La Paz
A tex-mex restaurant on one of La Paz’s busiest streets for restuarants. We ventured in one lunchtime and were delighted with the mahoosive portions. Chilli con carne is a bit of a favourite of mine and their homemade version did not disappoint. In addition to rice it was also served with tortillas, nachos, guacamole and salad. Alison opted for enchiladas which matched my choice in portion size as well as flavour. We dawdled out like a couple of fat penguins and didn’t eat again until breakfast!
Cafe del Mundo – La Paz
A chic venue in the heart of La Paz near The Witches Market. Covering three floors, this Swedish run cafe come restaurant offers salads, burgers, cakes and coffees in a trendy but comfortable setting. There’s even beds you can lounge across on the second floor. The Ensalada Tropicana was a favourite of mine but you really can’t go wrong with anything on the menu here.
Fanta Lady – Jupapina
Ok, so not technically an eating establishment but we had to mention Sabina who runs a shop in Jupapina, near the camspite we volunteered at. We visited her almost every day, sometimes just for an ice-cream, other times to stock up on eggs, bread, yoghurt or beer. She is just the sweetest lady, always welcoming us with a smile and practising her English on us.
Alexander Coffee – La Paz
One charming aspect of Bolivia is the lack of consumer giants like Starbucks or McDonalds. The closest thing to a coffee house is Alexander Coffee which we frequented at least weekly. Their cinnamon rolls are tremendous (and huge), especially paired with a cappuccino which is always on a 2-4-1 offer. This is also the place we tried Huevos Rancheros for the first time which is actually a Mexican breakfast, but who cares about that, it was damn tasty.
Not specifically a Bolivian fruit as it’s widely available across South America, but we’ve included it here as we tried it for the first time in Bolivia. Its skin is almost scale like, think of it as a rather ugly looking avocado, but once you’ve torn through that you’ll be rewarded with sweet fleshy chunks of goodness. It is seeded so be careful there, Alison and I shared one as they’re pretty big, and looked like a couple of cavewomen as we ripped into it with our fingers and spat the seeds straight back out of our mouths. Best eaten privately!
4060 – Potosi
In the world’s highest city, this restaurant shares its name with Potosi’s altitude. It was the busiest place we found during our short stay, filled with locals and tourists. We opted for Mexican food (again), enjoying the veggie burritos. We also popped in for a night cap after a trip to the movies, and by night cap I mean hot chocolate, which was divine!
Abi’s – Sucre
Belgian run Abi’s in Sucre was a panic decision after we’d endured a long bus journey from Potosi and were absolutely famished. At first we were unimpressed with the miserable waitress, too hungry to muster the energy to talk we both just stared off into space until our frapuccinos, (and yeah you guessed it) nachos and enchiladas arrived all at once. It did not take long for us to clear our plates!
This was our one successful attempt at street food. Again, salchipapas are not exclusive to Bolivia, originating from Peru but found in food carts all across the continent. It’s basically chips with slices of sausage and a spicy sauce sprinkled over them. We found a charming little spot on a pavement in Mallasa on National No Car Day to enjoy it, classily washing it down with a can of beer!
Sajama National Park
Our final entry made the list for experience rather than food quality. While roughing it in Sajama National Park we ate at a little tienda both nights; it was basically a shop come restaurant with a sheet of tarpaulin separating us from the family quarters. For a measly 13Bs we were presented with a hearty plateful of rice, chips and eggs. Certainly not a la carte but we welcomed the double carbs after a day of hiking.