Gastronomic Tour of Lima

Gastronomic Tour of Lima

Peruvian cuisine reflects a rich cultural and geographical diversity. During half a millennium of fusion, flavors from Europe, Africa, and Asia have mingled with Incan fare. Perú’s approximately 90 microclimates produce a startling repertoire of ingredients, many unique to Peruvian soil. A line-up of ace Peruvian chefs, headed by celebrity chef Gastón Acurio, has moved Peruvian food into the limelight. Nevertheless, there’s much still to be discovered.

Peruvian cuisine was added to UNESCO’s Intangible Heritage of Humanity list in 2012, inspiring a push to rescue and preserve regional traditions. In Lima, the coastal capital, seafood takes center stage, especially its famous ceviche. For an excellent introduction to the cultural and historical development of the Peruvian culinary tradition, visit the House of Peruvian Gastronomy in downtown Lima. This taste tour highlights a range of representative dishes from this truly international cuisine at some of the most raved-about restaurants and hidden gems in Lima. ¡Buen provecho!
(To visit the venues mentioned in this article, check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Lima)

1. Antigua Bodega Sanguchería Antonio Carbone

Antigua Bodega Sanguchería Antonio Carbone
El Carbone was founded in 1923 by Italian immigrants in what is now a street replete with optical shops and a competitive sales force hawking their wares. Carbone’s original neon sign has retired to a space on the back wall indoors, leaving this hidden gem unmarked from the outside. The interior of El Carbone’s original location is as Spartan as the menu, apart from the historic sign and dusty whiskey bottles lining its shelves. It features a glass cooling case with an exquisitely prepared side of ham.

A taste of Carbone’s sandwich (or butifarra) of jamón del pais is a revelation of Lima–-biting into it is a way to enter into communion with the city. Jamón del pais was invented by Italian immigrants, nostalgic for prosciutto. The pork is seasoned with Peruvian achiote along with other spices and cooked under a low flame for five hours. The sandwich is served on a French bread bun with Creole sauce made from onions marinated with lime and hot peppers. Try it with a cup of El Carbone’s aromatic Chanchamayo coffee. Pan con pejerrey (a sandwich made with battered silverside fish) is a more than century-old favorite among limeños, too.
Where to find it:
Jirón Huancavelica 300, Cercado de Lima, Lima, Perú

Phone: 428 0763

Working Hours:
Mon-Sat: 09:30am-09:30pm
Offline reading and travel directions:
With GPSmyCity App you can read this article offline on your mobile device, use the embedded offline city map and GPS navigation, as well as create a self-guided walk to visit the venues featured in the article.

2. Pastelería y Panadería Huérfanos

Pastelería y Panadería Huérfanos
The Peruvian-Italian tradition is alive and well at Los Huérfanos (the orphans), which makes on-site and serves artisan pastas as well as a wide variety of baked goods. In his nineties, Aroldo Porcella arrives every day, ties on an apron, and serves customers. After more than half a century running this highly visited cafeteria and bakery, Aroldo has passed managerial duties to one of his sons. Customers clamor for the homemade pasta, the fantastic chancay bread, and the pastries filled with manjar blanco.

The panetón, introduced by Italians, is a Christmas tradition in Perú consumed all year round. Patrons take it to go or eat a slice with a cup of coffee in the café, while others nibble on any number of delights on display in the glass case of baked goods. The torta tres leches and relámpago (a kind of éclair covered with chocolate and filled with whipped cream) are popular, as well as Creole favorites like arroz con leche and mazamorra morada. In another section of the café, patrons eat prepared plates of made-from-scratch gnocchi, fettuccine, and lasagna, which come with a glass of wine or a soft drink. The friendliness and freshness of the place make it hard to believe that Los Huérfanos has been in business since 1908. Presidents, writers, and artists from various epochs of Perú´s history have come here, a café that is at once homespun and culturally emblematic.
Where to find it:
Jirón Azángaro 700 (on the corner of Jirón Puno), Cercado de Lima, Lima, Perú

Phone: 428 6273

Working Hours:
Mon-Sun: 06:30am-09:00pm
Offline reading and travel directions:
With GPSmyCity App you can read this article offline on your mobile device, use the embedded offline city map and GPS navigation, as well as create a self-guided walk to visit the venues featured in the article.

3. Pastelería San Martín

Pastelería San Martín
Pastelería San Martín is tucked in a corner in one of Lima’s most representative public areas, Plaza San Martín. Most of the eateries situated around the plaza are recent phenomena. Along with the dining room of the Gran Hotel Bolívar, Pastelería San Martín provides a welcome exception, harboring nostalgia and memories, as well as traditional recipes. Chief among these is the original recipe for the turrón of Doña Pepa, a sticky pastry made with egg yolks, anise, fruit juice, and chancaca, as well as secret ingredients. The pastry is covered with colored candies and has been prepared the same way for the last 80 years at this bakery.

I saw at least ten people take an order to go while I was sipping my tea. Each order is wrapped in brown paper and tied with blue ribbon. Though turrón is closely associated with the festival of El Señor de los Milagros in October, turrón is enjoyed all year long. Started as a tea house and bakery in 1930, Pastelería San Martín maintains its roots. About ten worn tables cover the chessboard floor, all filled during my last visit with after-hours conversation as well as plates of turrón and empanadas accompanied by tea and coffee. Customers can reserve the night before their alfajores de cherimoya, a sugar-powdered cookie filled with a cream made from a delicious fruit indigenous to Perú. The sweet and egg breads are also notable.
Where to find it:
Av. Nicolas de Pierola 989, Cercado de Lima, Lima, Perú

Phone: 428 9091

Working Hours:
Mon-Sat: 09:00am-08:00pm
Offline reading and travel directions:
With GPSmyCity App you can read this article offline on your mobile device, use the embedded offline city map and GPS navigation, as well as create a self-guided walk to visit the venues featured in the article.

4. Grimanesa Vargas Anticuchos

Grimanesa Vargas Anticuchos
Anticuchos–skewered, grilled (and highly nutritious) beef heart–are an emblematic Peruvian food often sold on the street or small locales and an integral part of cultural celebrations. According to Vocabulary of Lima’s Kitchen, the word “anticucho” is derived from the Quechua “cuchu” (to cut). In the Incan era, anticuchos were prepared with llama meat. African slaves took the beef heart given to them by the Spaniards and transformed it into a creative feast, marinating the organ meat in vinegar with a mixture of spices that includes garlic, cumin, and pepper, as well as other additions according to taste and tradition.

Grimanesa Vargas developed a reputation for incomparable anticuchos during 38 years of selling them to a growing fanship from a cart on the streets of Miraflores. In 2011, her business became formalized and moved into its current locale. The anticuchería is instantly recognizable on a quiet street in Miraflores because of the long line of devotees. Diners sit on stools at bars lining the walls eating the meat fresh from the grill with hot sauce, potatos, and corn on the cob. La Grimanesa, widely recognized among limeños as the Queen of the Anticucho, sells over 10,000 plates every year during the week-long Peruvian food festival Mistura and has won several awards. The thick chunks of marinated beef heart are cooked to a perfect tenderness and consistency. When the chef emerged from the kitchen on a Saturday night, applause broke out.
Where to find it:
Jirón Ignacio Merino 466, Miraflores

Phone: 773 6417

Working Hours:
Mon-Sat: 05:00pm-11:00pm

5. Chifa Salón de la Felicidad

Chifa Salón de la Felicidad
Lima is an international city with the second-largest Chinese population outside China, following San Francisco. Cantonese Chinese arrived en masse in the 19th century as indentured servants to work on large estates, mostly in Lima. Chinese immigration to Perú, of a more voluntary nature, has continued through the present, leading to the continued intermingling of Chinese and Peruvian cooking traditions. The term chifa refers to both the unique fusion of Chinese cooking traditions with Peruvian flavors and the restaurants where chifa is served. The term is thought to originate from a Chinese expression meaning “Let’s eat rice” or “Rice is on.”

Limeños eat out a lot, and chifas are a frequent choice. Among the thousands of chifas in Lima (estimated at around 4,000 ten years ago), Chifa Salón de la Felicidad, in the heart of Lima’s China Town, is a favorite among limeños. On my last visit, I had a delicious meal of chicken and vegetables in black bean sauce (tausí) from the daily specials menu that came with siu mai (pork dumplings) and fried rice (chaufa). Salón de la Felicidad (The Hall of Happiness) is known for its roasted duck and dim sum, particularly its extraordinary siu mai. While trying it, three Peruvian nuns sat down at a nearby table, coinciding with the divine taste experience I was having.
Where to find it:
Jr. Paruro 795 – 799, (Barrio Chino), Cercado de Lima, Lima

Phone: 426 4516

Working Hours:
Mon-Sun: 09:00am-11:00pm

6. Fiesta Chiclayo Gourmet

Fiesta Chiclayo Gourmet
The Premios Summum recognize the best restaurants overall and by category in all Perú. In 2013, Fiesta moved into the top five overall and was awarded top restaurant for traditional Peruvian food. Under the proprietorship of chef Héctor Solís, the restaurant has been recommended by The New York Times. Originally from the city of Chiclayo on Peru’s northern coast, this family restaurant has transformed over the years into a top choice for Peru’s foodies. The traditional foods it serves from the Lambayeque region of Perú have permeated the nation and are taking on the world. Adding to Fiesta’s accolades, Condé Nast Traveler has marked out Fiesta as serving the best traditionally prepared seafood in Lima, describing its hot ceviche as “unforgettable.”

I’ve tried two of their most popular dishes, and found the arroz con pato (rice with duck) more memorable than the ceviche caliente, as captivating as it was. The rich flavors of the marinated duck are fully absorbed by the rice, which is mixed with vegetables that include loche (a type of squash indigenous to the Lambayeque region) and red bell pepper. Served with a salad of sliced radishes, avocado, and red onion, the flavor is sublime.
Where to find it:
Av. Reducto 1278, Miraflores, Lima, Perú

Phone: 242 9009

7. Chifa Chung Yion

Chifa Chung Yion
Commonly called Chifa Unión for it location, this chifa is an integral part of Barranco, the bohemian district of Lima that has historically been home to many of Lima’s artists and intellectuals. It’s likely that poet, journalist, and artist José María Eguren (1874-1942) enjoyed some chifa and cocktails at Chifa Chung Yion. He may even have composed some poems at one of its tables, perhaps after sharing a meal with fellow ambassador of Peruvian letters César Vallejo. Nowadays, the décor testifies more to endurance than elegance but boasts a discreet charm. Private tables are tucked behind red curtains. Less private tables are available, too, in the restaurant's several dining alcoves.

With over 80 years in business, Chifa Unión was the first chifa in Barranco. It serves a wide variety of chifa classics – fusing Cantonese cooking methods with Peruvian ingredients. Regulars return for the lomo saltado, a traditional Peruvian stir-fry made from strips of sirloin, tomatoes, and potatoes (generally French fry style). I tried the very affordable daily special, which was a kind of sweet and sour pork, and couldn’t resist cleaning the plate. People also recommend highly the duck soup, fried rice (chaufa) dishes, and crispy duck (pato crocante). The wanton soup is truly exceptional. It comes bursting with greens, well-stuffed wantons, pork, and chicken wings. A vegetarian version of wanton soup is also available, part of an ample menu of vegetarian offerings.
Where to find it:
Jirón Unión 126, Barranco, Lima, Perú

Phone: 447 0550

Working Hours:
Mon-Sun: 12:00pm-05:30pm; 07:00pm-12:00am

8. Canta Rana

Canta Rana
According to Gastón Acurio, a huarique (say wah REE kay) is like a Peruvian bistro, a kind of hideout where people meet up and eat exceptional food in a pretension-free setting. Linguist Martha Hildebrandt says the term comes from the Spanish “guarida,” or lair. Others say its origins are Quechua. A friend might recommend a huarique due to its growing reputation for the uniqueness and excellence of a particular dish. Barranco is home to several huariques, and Canta Rana is one of its longest-standing and most highly prized. Vicente Furguiele, an affectionate Argentine generous with his hugs, opened Canta Rana (from “where the frog sings”) with $600 in 1986. The menu has 160 items, mostly devoted to flavors from the sea but also including comida criolla (Creole food) and homemade pastas.

Canta Rana is considered one of the best places to eat ceviche by many limeños, who return for the stubborn simplicity and brutally delicious flavor of this plate. On weekends, you can also try the famed causa made with prawns. Other recommendations include the chupe de pescado, muchame, and leche de tigre (the tiger’s milk is made from the juices produced by the ceviche). The walls are covered with regalia from Vicente’s favorite football team, Racing, family photos, and other items gifted by friends and customers. Sitting with good company at a table covered with excellent seafood and accompanied by a cold beer or chicha morada is an excellent way to take in Barranco.
Where to find it:
Jirón Génova 101, Barranco, Lima, Perú

Phone: 247 7274

Working Hours:
Tue-Sat: 11:00am-09:00pm
Sun: 11:00am-06:00pm
Mon: 11:00am-05:00pm

9. Don Tito

Don Tito
According to the Peruvian Society of Gastronomy, Peruvians go out to eat at pollerías, chicken places, more than any other type of restaurant. Fast, tasty, affordable, and abundant, pollo a la brasa (rotisserie-cooked chicken) is by far the popular favorite among Peruvians. According to the Peruvian Chamber of Commerce, roughly 8,000 new chicken places open up every year in the country. Peru’s first pollería, La Granja Azul, opened in 1950, ushering in the creation of a special oven allowing eight marinated chickens to roast pleasantly on the spit. In July, on the National Day of Pollo a la Brasa, about 2 million birds are consumed. Some pollerías have gained well-earned reputations among Peruvians, for whom food and restaurants are a common topic of conversation and debate. Many of these have developed into successful franchises, like favorites Pardo’s Chicken and Don Belisario.

By a wide margin, however, Don Tito in San Borja wins the title for the best pollo a la brasa in Lima. With chickens roasting in the background, the chicken man cuts the orders up on a board with a cleaver. With barely a whisper from the cleaver, the chicken is quartered. On the plate, the meat falls away from the crispy skin with a languid sigh, rolling over on to the heaping pile of French fries and bed of salad. You can dip the French fries in a yellow pepper sauce, mayonnaise, or ketchup in perfect contentment.
Where to find it:
Avenida Aviación 3096, San Borja, Lima, Perú

Phone: 475 6390

Working Hours:
Mon-Sun: 12:00pm-12:00am
Sun: 12:00pm-11:00pm

10. Chez Wong (Sankuay)

Chez Wong (Sankuay)
Chez Wong is the ultimate huarique. In 2009, The Guardian proclaimed that Javier Wong serves the best ceviche in the world. The world-renowned cevichería is part of Wong’s home in a gritty Lima barrio called La Victoria. There is no signage to identify the locale—and no set menu. You eat what Javier Wong serves you. But don’t worry, you’re in expert hands. Calling Javier Wong a chef isn’t sufficient. Artist, high priest, genius, magician, and master all come to mind. How about the Chef formerly known as Wong?

But, besides transcendent talent, Wong doesn’t have much in common with Prince. His extraordinariness radiates through apparent ordinariness, simplicity at its finest—kind of like his ceviche. You feel at home in the warm world Wong has created, an inviting place with eight tables and the open kitchen at the back. Wong prepares his plates with the effortless, complete concentration of a child in deep play. A man who doesn’t write down recipes, Wong is utterly spontaneous. When he’s cooking, he says, he thinks only of the food before him and the customer. He filets the immaculate lenguado (a kind of sole) and octopus with zen kniving moves and cures it in the juice of Chulucanas limes. Salt, black pepper, sliced red onion, chopped rocoto on the side. Servido. Afterward, Wong prepares you a stir-fry (he might ask whether you prefer salty or sweet) made of ingredients bought that day, everything in season, everything in harmony. Just go.
Where to find it:
Calle Enrique León García 114, Santa Catalina, Lima L13

Phone: 470 6217

Working Hours:
Mon-Sat: 12:00pm-04:00pm (must call for reservation)

11. Restaurant at the Commercial Center of the National Agrarian University at La Molina (Carmax)

Restaurant at the Commercial Center of the National Agrarian University at La Molina (Carmax)
The genius of the restaurant in the commercial center of la Universidad Nacional Agraria de la Molina (UNALM) is that the ingredients, just about all of them, are grown on the campus next door. The restaurant, called Carmax, has a treelined, country atmosphere with rustic wood tables under a thatched awning, creating an enjoyable setting to sit down with friends or family and enjoy pan y chicharrón (a dish based on pork cooked in its own fat). It’s typically served family style and eaten on a French bread roll baked with a hollow space inside ready to be stuffed with chicharrón, Creole sauce (red onion, hot pepper, and spices), corn, and a slice of sweet potato. Carmax serves a lean, crispy-skinned, and succulent version worth the journey in itself.

The restaurant is also known for its cuy, or guinea pig, a traditional and healthy dish that dates back to pre-Incan times. On the National Day of Cuy, Carmax prepares cuy in 30 different ways. Customers can order it to taste on any visit. The restaurant also serves a wide variety of other traditional dishes and grilled meats, including beef, alpaca, and goat. On the weekends, pachamanca (meat and vegetables cooked on hot stones in the earth and covered with palm leaves) is served, another dish with pre-Columbian origins. At the commercial center you can buy or simply explore a wide range of natural products, including cocona juice, natural supplements, artisan ice creams, alpaca meat, Andean cheese, and hot pepper plants.
Where to find it:
Av. La Molina s/n (the comercial center and restaurant are directly to the right of the main entrance of la Universidad Nacional Agraria de La Molina

Phone: 349 5933

Working Hours:
Mon-Sat: 08:00am-05:00pm
Sun: 09:00am-05:00pm

12. La Buena Muerte

La Buena Muerte
Started in 1959 in downtown Lima, La Buena Muerte is a pioneer in the fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisines, known as Nikkei. The restaurant’s name comes from its customers, inspired by the original location near the plaza and church called la Buena Muerte (good death). I tried the fish roll the waiter recommended, one of the dishes on the ample menu most representative of Nikkei. The roll of pejerrey (silverside) and marlin are served hot and covered in a tamarind sauce. Several diners ordered the seafood stuffed causa (a colorful layered dish of seasoned mashed potatoes served cold and often topped with olives or hot pepper )when I was there, so I tried it to with excellent result. The menu also features a variety of ceviche choices, which draw a lot of customers.

The parihuela is another popular order, a mixed seafood soup known for its aphrodisiac properties and power to “raise the dead” after a late night out. The recently remodeled downtown location moved 23 years ago to its current address on Paruro, not far from Chinatown. The place has maintained its simplicity and affordable menu. La Buena Muerte has another location in La Victoria.
Where to find it:
Jirón Paruro 465, Cercado de Lima, Perú

Phone: 426 0634

Working Hours:
Tue-Sun: 12:00pm-06:00pm

13. El Mercado

El Mercado
Rafael Osterling is one of Lima’s buzziest and busiest chefs. The restaurant he opened in Miraflores in 2000, Rafael, has consistently been ranked among the top 3 in the country by Summum. Travel & Leisure deemed Rafael the best in Perú in 2005, and it's an excellent choice for a taste of refined and creatively reinvented Peruvian home-cooked flavors. In 2010, El Mercado appeared as Rafael Osterling’s gourmet cevichería in Miraflores. Lima alone has over 12,000 cevicherías. El Mercado quickly became known as one of the top. Its simple name, The Market, transmits Osterling’s reverence for dialogue with fishermen, producers, and the sea. The atmosphere is friendly, informal, and bustling. Making reservations is strongly suggested.

The food is perfected edible art. Watching exquisitely turned-out plates appear on the bar in front of me, I was reminded of a fashion show runway. The whole menu, including the ceviches and tiraditos, manifests the varied cultural influences that make up the Peruvian kitchen. A Nikkei tiradito, for example, is made from tuna flavored with Asian spices. I tried the tiradito apaltado. The delicate cuts of lenguado and scallops were served with avocado, olive oil, and a refreshing salsa with a hint of garlic. This combination may offend some ceviche purists, but I was won over by the way the flavors merged as the fish melted on my tongue.
Where to find it:
Hipólito Unanue 203, Miraflores, Lima, Perú

Phone: 221 1322

Working Hours:
Tue-Sun: 12:30pm-05:00pm

14. Sonia

Sonia’s connection to the sea resonates in the rustic restaurant decorated with fishing nets. Sonia Bahamonde grew up in Chorrillos, a district in Lima known as a home for its fishermen. She comes from a fishing family with several generations of knowledge in how to prepare seafood. When Sonia married Freddy Guardia, a fisherman, she began serving her family recipes to fishermen on the dock. Seafood prepared all over Perú a la chorrillana (in a sauce based in onion, garlic, ají, and tomato) and a lo macho (a sauce spiced with rocoto pepper) are accredited to Sonia. Peruvian presidents have now been served here, an iconic cevichería that has been in business since 1980. Poems Freddy has written about the sea and its treasures hang on the restaurant walls.

While I was there on a Sunday afternoon, Freddy appeared in a white fedora holding the day’s fresh catch aloft in his hand. He recited some of his poems on the small stage where musicians had been playing musica criolla while guests enjoyed the breeze, their companions, and indelible plates of tradition and flavor. If you want to sample a variety of flavors from Sonia’s kitchen, try the ronda fria (cold plate), that comes with ceviche mixto (sole, crab, shrimp), mussels, pulpo a al olivo (octopus in an olive sauce), conchas negras (black shellfish), and tiradito (a variant of ceviche with a different cut).
Where to find it:
Agustin Lozano La Rosa 173, Chorrillos, Lima, Perú

Phone: 249 6850

Working Hours:
Mon-Sun: 12:00pm-05:00pm

15. El Chinito

El Chinito
This sandwich shop founded over 50 years ago in downtown Lima garners the highest praise for its chicharrón. The chicharrón is served on French bread with a slice of sweet potato and a simple Creole sauce. You can buy the chicharrón by the kilo (S./ 55), as well, for an affordable meal served with baskets of breads and sides to build your sandwich. Felix Yong Loo and his wife Luisa Tataje founded El Chinito in 1960, and the place is now one of Lima’s most classic restaurants. The couple’s children and grandchildren now run the original location and locations in Surco and Miraflores. The sandwiches are prepared oriental style (it’s in the special seasoning) and include turkey, jamón del pais, and roast beef. Several of the restaurant’s customers have been coming to El Chinito their whole lives. Included among these is Gastón Acurio, who recently named El Chinito as his favorite sandwich shop in Lima.
Where to find it:
Jirón Chancay 894, Cercado de Lima, Perú

Phone: 423 2197

Working Hours:
Mon-Sat: 08:00am-09:00
Sun and holidays: 08:00am-02:00pm

16. El Señorío de Sulco

El Señorío de Sulco
The extensive menu is as wide as the ocean view from the spacious dining room. A tasting menu takes diners on a 5-course tour of Peruvian cuisine that begins with a classic pisco sour and culminates with cheese ice cream served with a coconut cookie and a honey made from dark beer. The main courses represent the diverse regions and ingredients of Perú, including cocona, yucca, and a cornucopia of fruits of the sea. The tasting menu might be compared to a dissertation of Peruvian cuisine (an especially tasty one) and the buffet—available weekends and featuring 40 traditional plates--to an encyclopedia. The diverse, attractive dishes are the manifestation of decades of research into Perú’s regional cuisines.

Preservation and innovation are the dual principles the owner Isabel Alvarez and her son and executive chef, Flavio Solórzano, seek to balance. Sociologist and chef, Isabel opened the restaurant in 1986. She has recently published a book series on Peruvian regional cuisines. Flavio shares his family’s appreciation for the diverse traditions and abundant ingredients he inherits as a Peruvian chef. He has also recently published a book called Ayara: Mother Quinua, which focuses on this noble Andean grain. Also in the Andean tradition, huatia is a pre-Columbian dish made with meat cooked with freshly harvested potatoes in the fields as an offering to Mother Earth. Sulco recreates this dish with beef and fine spices cooked in an earthen vessel.
Where to find it:
Malecón Cisneros 1470, Miraflores, Lima, Perú

Phone: 441 0183
Working Hours:
Mon-Sat: 12:30pm-12:00am
Sun: 12:30pm-04:30pm

17. Restaurant Huaca Pucllana

Restaurant Huaca Pucllana
This restaurant sits at the base of the extensive ruins of a temple from the Pre-Incan Lima culture. The extraordinariness of the setting is well complemented by the menu, which offers traditional Peruvian food with creative haute cuisine twists. The executive chef, Marilú Madueño, was trained in Paris’s Cordon Bleu. She has been heading up the kitchen at Huaca Pucllana for the past decade, during which time the restaurant has consistently ranked among the top 20 in Perú by Summum. The kitchen is Madueño´s laboratory. Travels through Perú, magazine articles, the market introduction of a novel ingredient are among potential inspirations of invention.

Some recent menu changes reflect the increased availability of fruits and other products from the Amazonian region. She serves a paiche (a giant Amazon river fish) with a salsa made from aguaje (a tropical palm fruit) and yucca. Quinua is used with creative flair in the menu, as well, adding texture and tradition. The menu also offers a variety of plates that preserve historic flavors, though some present contemporary interpretations of classic comida criolla. Arroz con pato (rice with duck), for example, substitutes risotto for the rice. Pastry chef Andrea Massaro creates a gourmet menu of desserts that boast ingredients like camu camu, cherimoya, algarrobina, lúcuma, and quinua. This might be a good place to try the classic Peruvian dessert suspiro (whisper) de limeña, too.
Where to find it:
Calle General Borgoño Cdra. 8 S/N, Miraflores, Lima, Perú

Phone: 445 4042
Mon-Sat: 12:00pm-04:00pm; 07:00pm-12:00am

18. Pastelería San Antonio

Pastelería San Antonio
José Vila arrived from his native Spain to Lima in 1957 with the dream of starting his own bakery. Three generations of his family have since become part of the bakery that was named best café style restaurant in the nation in 2012 by the official guide to Peruvian gastronomy, Summum. San Antonio’s motto is, “The tradition of yesterday, the technology of today, and the quality of always.” In addition to Miraflores, San Antonio has four other locations in Lima. The Miraflores location has terrace seating. I’ve spent many good times with friends here drinking coffee and enjoying a meal, dessert, or snack.

The menu has three pages of creative sandwich options prepared with freshly baked breads. There are several salad options, too, all coming in heaping bowls of the freshest ingredients. Besides desserts, the bakery produces popular Peruvian snacks. The pastry of the empanadas is flaky and buttery. Pastel de acelga is pie crust stuffed with a chard and egg mixture. Traditional pastries filled with corn and beef or cheese are available, too, alongside Peruvian humitas and tamales. There isn’t enough space to provide a respectable description of all the dessert offerings. A piece of cake made with guanabana, lúcuma or chocolate might go very well with a scoop of San Antonio’s artesan ice creams. The kitchen is also equipped with the technology to perfect a wide variety of chocolate and marzipans.
Where to find it:
Av. Vasco Núñez de Balbo 770, Miraflores, Lima, Perú

Phone: 626 1303

Working Hours:
Mon-Sun: 07:00am-11:00pm

19. El Rincón que no Conoces

El Rincón que no Conoces
The “Mother of the Peruvian Kitchen,” Teresa Izquierdo left behind many heirs when she passed away in 2011 at 77 years old. The whole country mourned. Remembering her a year later, chef Javier Wong, her friend, suggested that she left us because God wanted to eat comida criolla. Her daughter, Elena Santos Izquierdo, carries on the legacy of traditional dishes passed down from her renowned mother at the restaurant she founded in 1978 in Lince, El Rincón que no Conoces (“The Unknown Corner”). Another heir is Gastón Acurio, whom Teresa inspired. The menu changes every day, along with the soup. On Saturdays, you can sample what is considered the best aji de gallina (chicken in a spicy sauce made with walnuts and cheese) anywhere hands down.

If you want to try a bit of everything, consider showing up for the buffet on Wednesdays. Here you can have a taste of traditional foods not offered at restaurants concerned about scaring tourists away with plates like chanfanita (made with lung meat), patita de mani (pigs’ feet in a peanut-based sauce), or olluquito con charqui (dried alpaca meat). This is how you earn your Perú foodie badge. These gustatory risks, which may be pleasant surprises, are cushioned with plenty of comfort foods, like incredible white beans and bacon, chicken and rice, and carapulcra. The buffet is capped off with the best picarrones, some would venture to say, in the world.
Where to find it:
Calle Bernardo Alcedo 363, Lince, Lima, Perú

Phone: 471 2171

Working Hours:
Tue-Sun: 12:30pm-05:00pm

20. ámaZ

A trip to ámaZ could change your travel plans. The line on your map could suddenly veer toward the Peruvian Amazon. Traveling through the jungle, you might run into ámaZ’s executive chef, Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, who has dedicated over a decade to exploring its culture,traditions, and flavors. The restaurant evolved from Schiaffino’s passion for this region of Perú and his desire to share its unique ingredients and culinary traditions. ÁmaZ lifts overlooked Amazonian cuisine and culture from the palm frond–laced shadows.

The abundance of foods and spices from the jungle combines well with haute cuisine elements, a combination from which Schiaffino derives infinite inspirations. Inventiveness and authenticity are found in the kitchen and prize-winning décor. Chef Richard Tesen said that the kitchen is about to introduce a salsa made from ants (widely consumed in the jungle), ají charapita, and cocona. The restaurant walls exhibit distinctive artists, largely from Iquitos, gaining recognition in Lima. What should you try? When you see the photos of the plates on your waiter’s tablet, you may well want to take advantage of the option to order different half plates. The patarashkas, meats cooked in bijao leaves, are a recommended traditional dish. The churos pishpirones are giant Amazon snails cooked in their shells with tapioca and spices--a memorable experience served at this prize-winning, original restaurant.
Where to find it:
Av. La Paz 1079, Miraflores, Lima, Perú

Phone: 221 9393

Working Hours:
Mon-Thu: 12:30pm-11:30pm
Fri,Sat: 12:30pm-12:00am
Sun: 12:30pm-04:30pm

21. Huancahuasi

This restaurant serving traditional and New Andean cuisine hales from Huancayo. It serves exceptional versions of some of Perú’s most distinctive plates, like cuy picante (spicy guinea pig) and pachamanca--a traditional meal in which spiced meats and potatoes are cooked over hot stones in the earth. The pachamanca experience happens on weekends only. From Thursday through Sunday, the festive restaurant hosts Andean musical performers and traditional dancers. An appetizer tray give customers a sampling of Andean fare and are a good bet, especially if you want to try cuy picante but aren’t sure you want to commit to a whole plate.

The plate includes Huancahuasi’s prize-winning papa a la huancaina. A better representative of this ubiquitous starter can’t be found. You might venture to try the gelatina de patita for dessert. The only thing disagreeable about this gelatin made from cows’ feet is the name. Boiling the cows’ feet for hours, a protein-rich collagen is released that gelatinizes liquid. This gelatin is sweetened with cloves, cinnamon, and sugar. The texture and flavor are an astonishingly pleasant reward for venturing into unfamiliar terrain.
Where to find it:
Av. Javier Prado Este 1405, La Victoria, Lima, Perú

Phone: 225 3654

Working Hours:
Sun-Thu: 08:00am-06:00pm
Fri,Sat: 08:00am-10:00pm

22. Café Tostado

Café Tostado
This cozy huarike in Barranco serves a fixed menu that’s gone unchanged for five years, rotating plates throughout the week. The intimate café with eight large wooden tables lures a lot of people out on Mondays for its sancochado, a hearty soup of beef, turnips, sweet potato, yellow potato, celery, cabbage, corn, and carrots. On Thursdays, the restaurant serves huatia prepared with homemade vinegar. Always on the menu, for lunch or dinner, is the orange-flavored rabbit, another great favorite among regulars. In the back of the restaurant is Pepe Guiffra’s open small kitchen. Guiffra had worked as a rancher in the mountains most of his life. He doesn’t refer to himself as a chef. What he lacks in professional training, however, he makes up in passion for cooking Peruvian recipes that have stood the test of time.
Where to find it:
Calle Nicolás de Piérola 232, Barranco, Lima, Perú

Phone: 247 7133

Mon-Sun: 12:00pm-08:00pm (daily special until 05:00 p.m.)

23. La 73

La 73
The name of this restaurant comes from the green bus, which used to be the only one to run the route that passes by this “gourmet stop.” The outdoor terrace is a good setting to enjoy a chilcano, made from Peru’s famous pisco. The wait staff is friendly and knowledgeable. Our waiter, Wilfredo, said he always makes sure customers leave happy. The seasonal menu is stocked with options that make this outcome likely. Spring daily specials included tacacho with yucca, a plate from the Peruvian jungle made from mashed bananas, cecina (cured pork), and Amazon spices as well as a chaufa (fried rice) dish with Cantonese BBQ pork. La 73 is famed for its churros, a dessert with Spanish origins popular throughout Latin America. Here, it comes filled with manjar blanco and served with chocolate sauce on the side.
Where to find it:
Av. El Sol Oeste 175, Barranco, Lima, Perú

Phone: 247 0780

Working Hours:
Mon-Sat: 12:00pm-12:00am
Sun: 12:00pm-10:00pm
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