If you’ve been following along with my travels through Bolivia, you’ll know that – in addition to the multitude of intriguing facts that I learned about the country’s administrative capital – one of the things that surprised me about La Paz was the quality and diversity of its food.
After the incredible food I’d enjoyed in Peru, I wasn’t looking forward to an entire eight weeks of eating very basic, unimaginative fare which was seriously lacking in nutrition or flavour. Whilst being a non-meat eater did involve a diet of omelettes and pizza in many of Bolivia’s towns and cities, fortunately La Paz was not one of them.
Whether it’s fine dining you’re after, tasty international cuisine, a laid-back cafe culture or a buzzing bar scene, La Paz has it all. Here are a few of my favourite spots in the city…
Calle Fernando Guachalla Esq. 20 de Octubre
Whilst this is definitely one of the more pricier places we ate at in La Paz, it was so totally and utterly worth it. Located in the Sopocachi neighbourhood, Chez Moustache serves modern French food with a twist, and offers an unusual combination of elegance in a laid-back, quirky environment.
As the name would suggest, the restaurant is moustache-themed. There are posters of moustache-wearing historical characters and celebrities on the walls, the wine bottle labels are decorated with llamas sporting moustaches, the light switches have faces complete with moustaches, and there are moustaches on sticks available for you to use in your own silly moustache-themed shots.
The food is amazing and beautifully-presented, the service is impeccable, and after your meal you can relax at the restaurant bar. The friendly, if slightly eccentric owner may even buy you a drink 😉
Star of India
Calle Cochabamba 170
The Trip Advisor reviews for Star of India are rather sketchy but we went with Lonely Planet’s reliable recommendation, and we weren’t disappointed. It’s centrally located very close to Plaza San Francisco, and has earned its fame for being The Highest British-owned Curry House in the World.
We loved the ambience and the flavours, and the fact that the menu includes imaginative dishes from various different parts of India that you won’t normally find in a lot of Indian restaurants.
If you’re feeling brave (or stupid – who am I to judge?), you can also choose to accept the challenge of eating The World’s Most Dangerous Vindaloo. No, I didn’t try it. No, I wouldn’t advise it. Apparently only one out of eight people actually manage to finish it. You have been warned…
C. Zoilo Flores # 1334 Almost Esq
For a taste of Thailand at backpacker-friendly prices, Namas Te is the place to come. It’s just around the corner from Plaza San Pedro, and serves wholly vegetarian fare in a relaxed, peaceful atmosphere.
The owners are super-friendly and there’s a lovely little courtyard out the back. I’m in love with their smoothies and the coffee is pretty good too.
Café Sol y Luna
Corner Calle Murillo and Calle Cochabamba
Close to the Witches Market, this low-key, Dutch-run hangout was my go-to place for a quick bite to eat and some tasty craft beers at the end of a long day of sight-seeing around La Paz’s hilly streets.
Calle Sagárnaga 161
You can’t miss this place, on opposite San Francisco church on busy Calle Sagárnaga. The wifi here was some of the best in the city, and with its relaxed ambience, inviting and intriguing (check out the masks hanging on the walls and the lampshades designed to look like Cholita skirts) decor and good coffee, it’s a great spot to while away a few hours.
La Paz Sleeps
Compared to the rest of Bolivia, accommodation in La Paz is not cheap and the most popular options do sell out quickly, so I would advise booking in advance if at all possible.
My favourite accommodation booking sites are Hostelbookers, Booking.com, and new kid on the block, Yonderbound – where you can earn yourself credit towards travel simply by recommending your hotel choices to others. Learn how Yondercredits work here.
We stayed at Cruz de los Andes, which was around a 15 minute walk up hill from the Witches Market. It was modern, clean, comfortable and quiet (due to being located down a side street off Avenida Llampu) and the complimentary breakfast was pretty good too.
The only downsides are that the wifi only works on levels one and two, and that if you happen to be staying on the fifth floor (as we were) in a city that stands at over 4000 metres above sea level, you’d better be acclimatised to the altitude if you want to make it up to your room!
Do you have any other restaurants, cafes or bars you’d recommend in La Paz? Or do you have a hotel or hostel experience that you’d like to pass on to others?
**Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. All this means is that if you book one of the hostels or hotels I have recommended in this post, through the links I have provided, I will earn a small commission as a result but the cost to you will remain exactly the same**