Lima, Peru – The Land of Rich Gastronomy and Talented Chefs!
Lima… not known for its blue skies and white sandy beaches, but FAMOUS for fresh fish and seafood, a multicultural influenced gastronomy, and talented chefs!
I was born and raised in Lima, Peru. Although I haven’t lived there for more than fifteen years, my roots are there, as well as most of my family and childhood friends.
Gastronomy in Peru today
Gastronomy in Peru has developed very fast in the last twenty years. When I go back on holidays, I am amazed at the array of great restaurants to choose from. I never have enough time to try them all. Renowned Peruvian chefs are opening gastronomic restaurants in Peru, and all over the world. Living in London, I have quite a few options to choose from when it comes to Peruvian food cravings.
Not long ago, I went to Lima to see friends and family, and of course to update myself with the local gastronomic landscape. In this post, I have listed restaurants that I really enjoyed (from my last trip, and from the past), and that I would highly recommend. I also added some places to visit that are worthwhile. I’m sure that my list is not long enough because I still have more places to visit and try. A good excuse to go back home for more food and fun!
Where to stay
There are all sorts of hotels in Lima. The important thing to consider is the area where you want to stay.
- San Isidro is a centrally located and a nice area to stay in. The area surrounding the Golf de San Isidro club and the Country Club Lima Hotel is beautiful to walk around. There are houses, buildings, Embassies, hotels, restaurants and more.
- Miraflores is another centrally located and nice area near the sea. There are manicured green areas overlooking the Pacific Ocean, tennis clubs, residential buildings, houses, hotels, restaurants, bars and Larcomar, a shopping and leisure centre overlooking the sea.
- Barranco, the bohemian district is authentic and showcases architectural style of old Lima. It has sea views, a main square, the renowned bridge of sighs, an active nightlife and authentic old bars restaurants and “peñas” (nightclubs with shows of Peruvian folklore.) Hotel B in Barranco has been highly recommended to me. I’ve added it to my bucketlist list for my next trip.
Restaurants I recommend
Where to have a taste of creative Peruvian-Japanese Fusion = Nikkei cuisine
Maido – This Nikkei restaurant offers an experience which is a party to the senses. From the moment you enter, you feel excited, yet relaxed. The presentation of the dishes is Instagram worthy. Must reserve in advance.
Osaka – This restaurant is so popular that it opened more branches in Lima, as well as in South America. The food is creative, the quality and service are excellent, and the atmosphere is fun and cool. At Osaka El Polo it is better to reserve but not a must. The Osaka in San Isidro however, gets very crowded and in the evening is great for cocktails, food and a bit of a party so my advice is to reserve in Osaka San Isidro.
Hanzo – I love this place. This is another restaurant that has expanded in Lima and South America. It serves beautifully made maki, and sushi with Peruvian sauces. This is just to start. The menu is extensive, and the quality and service are impeccable. Better to reserve but not a must.
Cala Restaurante – The ocean views, the Peruvian seafood cuisine and the cocktails are highly recommended. Cala is a great place to enjoy sunset drinks, have dinner and see how locals enjoy the nightlife in Lima.
Where to eat the best Ceviche, the Peruvian National Dish
La Mar – This is a high-end Cevicheria. The fish and seafood specialties are to die for. The atmosphere is chic, and at the same time relaxed. It’s always crowded, full of colour, and laughter. They also offer for sale, a variety of cooking books with great recipes of the different kinds of Peruvian cuisine. Must reserve in advance.
El Mercado – The cuisine is an homage to Peruvian gastronomy with fresh ingredients, international influence, high quality fish and seafood, creativity and joy. The atmosphere is fun and happy, at a terrace filled with vegetation and an open kitchen.
La Leche – Is a low profile, inexpensive restaurant, with amazing ceviche and seafood. Try the Leche de tigre in a big glass, it’s delicious!
Restaurant Sonia – If you want to have a local experience, this place is what you are looking for. I remember going to this restaurant as a young girl, with my family. Back then, it only had a few tables, and was located in the garage of a house. Sonia is the chef, and her husband is a retired fisherman. Today, the restaurant is in the same house, but has grown and developed to a real seafood restaurant. The atmosphere is casual, authentic, decorated in fishermen themes. The food is fresh, full of flavour, and made with love.
Chez Javier Wong – This is a unique experience. The venue is a house in a sketchy part of Lima. There is no effort in the decoration or atmosphere. It has few tables and no menu. The chef cooks two kinds of ceviche and one hot dish with the catch of the day. You can see chef Wong cooking live, and may even take a picture with him, and the big fish which will become lunch for everyone. It’s the freshest ceviche I have tried. The quality of the food is spectacular. No wonder why it’s famous internationally. It’s a must try. Must reserve in advance.
Chef Wong in action!
Ceviche in three different ways!
Where to expose yourself to Peruvian gastronomy from different regions, in a beautiful historic setting
Astrid & Gaston Casa Moreyra – High-end Peruvian cuisine and beautiful place. The menu is creative and colourful, and is in constant change. There are two sitting areas, one with a tasting menu, and another where you can order ‘a la carte,’ and have a view to the open kitchen with the chefs in action. Must reserve in advance.
Where to have the perfect barbecue
La Cuadra de Salvador – A steakhouse with excellent quality, beautiful presentation, and a friendly setting. Located in Barranco.
Osso – A sustainable butcher with homemade cold meats and two restaurants where to enjoy great quality in a beautifully decorated decor and an extensive wine menu.
A place with superb quality, creativity, variety, and a casual atmosphere
Tanta – Not just another chain of Peruvian cuisine. This place is fantastic for a gourmet, yet casual outing for Peruvian favourites. No wonder why it has extended internationally.
Jerónimo – Since it opened, it has become a very popular restaurant. It has Mexican influence because the chef lived in Mexico for years. The atmosphere is relaxed and inviting, with tempting aromas that will make you want to try it all. I recommend sharing dishes. Must reserve.
Frida – A Mexican restaurant with great quality, beautiful decoration and amazing cocktails. Must reserve.
Where to eat on-the-go and enjoy every bite
Pasquale – This is a spectacular Peruvian sandwich and home style cooking place. It is a chain, inexpensive, fast food, with the best quality and flavour.
Juicy Lucy – Not your average burger joint, this place offers gourmet burgers, handmade with freshly ground 100% Angus or Wagyu beef. With creative toppings, sauces and types of bread. A prime burger place not to be missed!
Pardo’s Chicken – Peruvians love to eat chicken. The most popular way to cook it is roasting it. However, it’s not made like in France, with thyme and potatoes baked in the chicken fat. In Peru, chicken is marinated overnight with a secret recipe full of herbs and spices. It’s usually served with fries and ‘aji’, a chilli sauce not too spicy but bursting in flavour. This is a chain, you find it even in food courts, in shopping centres. You may also get it delivered. It’s a superb fast food option, I highly recommend it.
Mangos – If you happen to be in Larcomar, a shopping and leisure centre in Miraflores with a beautiful sea view, grab a bite or a drink on the terrace of Mangos. It has one of the best views in that area.
What to do
Barranco, Puente de los Suspiros
- Puente de los suspiros in Barranco.
- MATE, Museo Mario Testino – Renowned Peruvian Photographer’s museum. Don’t miss the room dedicated to Princess Diana.
- Update 10th December 2020: MATE museum will be closing their doors. Read more here
- I recommend taking an open tour bus around Lima. Downtown Lima is beautiful. It is better to go on a tour because there is a lot of pick-pocketing in that area.
- Also, the Parque de la Reserva is not to be missed.
Enjoy your time in Lima, Peru!
You may also be interested to read about Cuzco.