A picantería, is a traditional lunchtime restaurant in Peru, predominantly in and around the cities of Arequipa and Cuzco. Typical offerings of Arequipan cuisine include chicha de jora corn beer and soups. Picanteria refers to a place serving picante ("spicy"), a one-plate dish of various stews.
It is usual for the restaurant to offer a lunch menu of soup and a small main dish according to the following weekly scheme: Monday: Claque, Tuesday: Chairo, Wednesday: Chochoca, Thursday: red stew or black potato flour soup, Friday: Sopa de Viernes, "Friday soup" made with fish, Saturday: Timpusca, and Sunday: white broth, pebre loins and adobo.
Picanterias were born in the countryside. A house with a post hung with a red cloth was the place where field workers knew there was food offered. Clients would enter via the kitchen so they could see what was being cooked and could place their order. The dining room was rustic, with benches ranged along large tables. The atmosphere was usually conducive to lively conversation, even among strangers.
Picanterias supplied the social space that bars provide in some countries. After eating, and following the conversation, liquor was served. In order to satisfy guests' hunger, owners created the "Picante", which is served only late afternoon and before closing.
There are still original picanterias in the rural area and in Arequipa city, but many picanterias have disappeared or are at risk of disappearing. Some have turned into modern restaurants serving traditional food but with modern settings. There are still some with the kitchen open to the diners, traditional tables and furnishings.
Among the most traditional food served in Picanterias are: Chupe de Camarones (shrimp), Ocopa Arequipeña, Rocoto Relleno (stuffed chili), Adobo, Solterito de Queso, Potato Cake, Costillar Frito, Cuy Chactado (Guinea Pig), Cauche de Queso, Locro, Chaque de Pecho, etc. Common items for dessert include: Queso Helado, donuts, Spanish style convent candy, chocolates and Chicha de Jora (made of black corn, beer and anise liqueur).
- Coraza Morveli, Walter. "Cuzco's Traditional Food: Picanterías". Cuzco Eats. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
- Vizcardo, Janet (April 30, 2014). "La picantería arequipeña, Patrimonio Cultural de la Nación". RPP Noticias (in Spanish). Mediakot. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
- "Picantería arequipeña es Patrimonio Cultural de la Nación". El Comercio (in Spanish). Lima, Peru: Empresa Editora El Comercio. April 23, 2017. Retrieved April 17, 2017.