La Paz : a destination for food-lovers?

14 December 2021


A new and varied gastronomic offer

Once lagging behind its big Peruvian neighbour, Bolivia is gradually catching up in terms of gastronomy, thanks to creative, innovative and ambitious young chefs, whose desire is to create quality dishes, inspired by the gastronomic classics of the country and elsewhere, and above all using the immense diversity of local foods.

The city of La Paz has been transformed over the last 10 years, with dozens of new addresses springing up in the world’s highest capital. You can now find a wide variety of cuisine, both local and foreign, in various districts of the city: San Miguel, Calacoto and Sopocachi are the districts that have seen the emergence of all sorts of new addresses, restaurants, bars, cafés, etc. over the last decade.

La Paz, a city of diversity

Bolivians are generally very proud of their cuisine, from the world-famous salteñas, to llajua, the national sauce that links all the regional cuisines, as well as their wines, which are increasingly recognised throughout the world. Each region of Bolivia has its own dish or dishes, and it is by migrating from all over the country to the big cities that Bolivians have contributed to this diversity. In fact, in La Paz, you can find dishes from all over the country, from the Amazon to the high plateaux, but also from elsewhere, from Peru, Argentina, Europe, Asia, and so on.

On the other hand, the success of certain Peruvian, Argentinean and Chilean chefs has motivated many Bolivians that they are also capable of making Bolivia a real gastronomic destination.

Un futur assuré par des chefs talentueux

It would be an exaggeration to say that people come to La Paz just for the culinary experience, and that La Paz rivals Lyon, Rome and Lima. However, more and more travellers are taking advantage of a visit to La Paz to dine in some of the capital’s fine restaurants. From the very famous but expensive Gustu, which means Flavours in Aymara, to Manq’a, which trains many future chefs every year, to the astonishing Ali Pacha, a gourmet vegan restaurant, or the many restaurants offering a fusion of typical Andean and more modern cuisine. La Paz dreams of being a top gastronomic destination, and thanks to a generation of talented chefs, it is fast becoming one. Ahijada Ajiceria and Mi Chola are other examples of this fusion cuisine.

If you’re passing through La Paz, the Thaki team, our guides, our drivers and all our staff will be delighted to help you discover the gastronomy of our beautiful country. The locals, too, will be proud to tell you about the history of their dishes, the origin of certain foods and how they are made. In some communities, you will have the opportunity to learn about the time-consuming preparation of chuños, the famous dehydrated potatoes that accompany many Bolivian dishes.

A gastronomic guide in preparation

At Thaki, we are currently writing a gastronomic and cultural guide to the city of La Paz for our clients. Our aim is to highlight the city’s diversity, from markets and street stalls to San Miguel’s trendy restaurants and gastronomic nuggets. It’s for this little guide that we’re currently looking for new addresses, classics and well-kept secrets. Many restaurants had to close after the pandemic, but many new addresses have sprung up recently. The districts of Sopocachi and San Miguel are seeing the arrival of new restaurants, cafés and concepts, and are undergoing a complete metamorphosis. As well as restaurants serving national cuisine, a number of restaurants offering a variety of high-quality international cuisine have opened their doors in recent years in the world’s highest capital. You can now drink top-quality coffees, straight from Bolivia’s best coffee-growing regions, eat a good Swiss fondue or raclette, but made with top-quality Bolivian cheese, taste excellent Tarija vintages, drink cocktails made with the national spirit, singani, eat pizza, polenta and gnocchi as in Italy, a black forest in a German patisserie, a Peruvian cebiche as tasty as in Lima, or savour a delicious craft beer on a terrace in the pleasant climate of the southern zone. Come to Bolivia for its breathtaking scenery, timeless culture and ancestral traditions, and take the opportunity to sample all its dishes, from the most basic to the most refined.

Our top 10 places to eat and have fun in La Paz

Le Manq’a: a fusion of traditional and modern cuisine, Manq’a is the perfect place to discover the varied flavours of the country.
Mi Chola: In the same style, traditional cuisine revisited, modernised and presented in a highly original way. There are 4 and 5-course menus, renewed every week.
Paceña La Salteña: The salteña is the best-known Bolivian speciality in the world, and the best in the city can be found at La Paceña.
Ali Pacha: A surprising concept, this gourmet restaurant in the city centre serves surprise menus… and only vegan! The aim is to honour the many vegetables, tubers and other plants found in Bolivia. Definitely one of the city’s best addresses.
Mercado Rodriguez: Also known as the Lanza or Camacho markets, these are where you can sample everyday dishes, such as Chairo, the typical soup of La Paz. The Mercado Rodriguez is even more interesting at the weekend, when it spreads out over all the surrounding streets and squares. Api, fresh fruit juices, and all kinds of fruit, vegetables, meat, etc., the markets in Bolivia are bustling and lively places.
Fellini: Probably the best Italian restaurant in town. Beautifully decorated and very well located in the centre of the fashionable San Miguel district. It serves pizzas as well as gnocchi, risotto, etc.
Flor de Leche: If you’re craving mature cheeses and delicious melt-in-your-mouth cheese dishes, this is the perfect address. A little outside La Paz, in a pretty patio, you can enjoy delicious fondues and raclettes, accompanied by a good glass of wine, a craft beer or a fresh fruit juice.
Lupito Vegetariano: An address that all vegetarians, and others too, will love. Cheap lunch menu, tasty desserts and fresh fruit juice. In the same district, Sopocachi, there are many other vegetarian addresses. Harder, however, to find a vegetarian restaurant in the city centre. Another good address for vegetarians: Namas Te
Typica: With an address in the southern zone and one in Sopocachi, this is surely the best address for drinking a speciality coffee in La Paz. It’s also ideal for eating good sandwiches, salteñas and humintas. Another address for quality coffee is Café Alexander.
Malegria: For your Thursday to Saturday night outings, this early evening bar gradually transforms into a nightclub. Great atmosphere, Latino music, cocktails… Thursday is Saya night, music from the Afro-Bolivian culture of the Yungas.