The Tinkuy Buffet Restaurant at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge is both a blessing and a curse. For weary travelers who have not packed a lunch, waking up at the deathly hour of 4am to catch the train to the ruins, it’s the most feasible (and only) option for food while atop the mountain. One could run down to Aguas Calientes, but this would only add to your expense and time – time devoted to sightseeing at this amazing wonder of the modern world. The downside is the price – at around $23 for the lunch buffet, it’s hardly worth the plate it’s served on for budget travelers who just want a quick meal with no frills.
The buffet features elegant, gourmet dishes that highlight the incredible variety of cuisine in Peru. The waitresses are kind and courteous (I would be too if you gave me $23), and live music by some of Peru’s most talented musicians fill the air with an exotic ambience like no where else to be found. I was instantly swept away to a land far away (although I already was in one), and I immediately didn’t care about the high price of the meal, as the experience was awe-inspiring. The view is likewise spectacular, perched on top of Machu Picchu Mountain, within steps from the ancient site.
Drinks are (thankfully) included in the steep price of the buffet, including coke, sprite, and other soft drinks. Alcohol is not included, and is charged at incredibly high rates.
The buffet’s highlights when I were there were the roast suckling pig, which was of very high quality, and the fresh, sour-but-not-too-sour ceviche, which consisted of seafood marinated in a tangy lime juice-cilantro mix. To the non-adventurous, you will have a hard time eating here. The dishes are complex, use many atypical ingredients and some would find many of the dishes unappealing. A lot of the meats are quite rare, which may be a problem for some eaters. Muslims and Jews will be unable to eat much of the food, as a lot of it is pork and shellfish-based. Out of the entire buffet line, I could name only a few dishes. It was almost completely new to me, but very delicious.
Try the lightly floured rolls with your meal – they are simply delicious, and serve to soak up a lot of the liquid that the dishes have.
For dessert, treat yourself to a variety of fruit salads and pastries. The choices are endless.
After lunch, relax with a drink in the hotel bar, where you can enjoy complimentary roasted fava beans (very delicious) with your drink order. Beers are around $3.
Visit the Tinkuy Buffet Restaurant online at: http://machupicchu.orient-express.com/web/omac/omac_dining_tinkuy.jsp