A creative new generation of chefs, inspired by the great diversity of Peru’s coastal, mountain and Amazonian cultures and produce, have helped transform Lima into one of the world’s culinary capitals. Don’t miss these innovative spots, as well as traditional restaurants serving authentic cuisine.
Chef Mitsuharu Tsumura’s fine-dining menu has earned Maido a spot on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list for four years running. In the elegant mid-century modern dining room, guests are served nikkei, a Peruvian-Japanese fusion that Chef Tsumura, a Peruvian born to Japanese parents, is considered a leader in. Dishes are innovative, flavour-packed and creatively plated with a focus on seafood. It’s strongly recommended to do the degustation and wine pairing to fully experience the magic of Maido.
399 San Martin Street, Miraflores, Lima
Image credit: Jose Caceres
If you only have one bucket-list dining experience in Lima, make it Central (pictured top). Chef Virgilio Martinez’s contemporary Peruvian restaurant ranked number six in the 2018 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. The 17-course degustation is like travelling across Peru in a single meal: each dish progresses by the altitude of its main ingredient, starting at 25 metres below sea level and rising to 4050 metres above. Martinez and his team have conducted extensive research into native Peruvian ingredients, including little-known foods from the Amazon and the Andes. Central is usually booked out months in advance so make that reservation ASAP.
Santa Isabel 376, Miraflores, Lima
Toshi is the legacy of late legendary chef Toshiro Konishi, who was of the same generation of sushi masters as Nobu Matsuhisa. The menu is a combination of sushi, sashimi, traditional Japanese dishes and nikkei. The signature Toshi roll – tempura shrimp, lettuce, tartar and spicy Japanese garlic sauce – and the Japanese Tiradito – slices of fish topped with chalaquita, a traditional Peruvian salsa – are menu highlights. The minimalist dining room is accented with blonde timber and features a view of the chefs working in the kitchen. With a saké-based cocktail in hand, you could almost forget you’re not in Japan.
Armendariz 480, Miraflores, Lima
El Rincon de Bigote
There’s no better place to eat ceviche, Peru’s national dish, than El Rincon de Bigote. There are two locations of the no-fuss restaurant, one in the Miraflores embassy area and another in the hip Barranco neighbourhood. Order the mixed seafood ceviche and it will come served the traditional way, with sides of sweet potato and crunchy corn. There’s often a long wait on weekends so go early or visit mid-week.
Calle José Galvez 529, Miraflores, Lima / Nicolas de Pierola 203, Barranco, Lima
La Lucha Sangucheria Criolla
A Miraflores institution steps from Parque Kennedy, La Lucha Sangucheria Criolla is one of the best cheap eats in Lima. The humble sandwich shop usually has a long queue of locals on their lunch break or getting a late-night snack at the end of the night. There are more than 17 sandwiches on the menu, with delicious fillings squeezed between slices of fresh, crunchy baguette. Try the chicharron (crisp pork skin), asado de res (roasted beef) or jamon serrano (prosciutto).
Av. Stanta Cruz 814, Miraflores, Lima
Astrid y Gastón
The undisputed king of Peruvian cuisine is Gastón Acurio and Astrid y Gastón is his signature restaurant. A historic hacienda provides an elegant backdrop to the imaginative parade of flavours and textures that, together with its flawless service and wine pairing, keep this restaurant high on the list of the world’s best. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the guinea pig with corn tamale, slow-cooked beef and mashua cream.
Avenida Paz Soldán 290, San Isidro, Lima
La p'tite France
A café-bakery in a tiny, plant-filled, chic and sunny courtyard, La P’tite France serves up the best croissants in Lima along with other delicious pastries and artisanal breads including ones flavoured with coca leaf (which turns it green) and dried aji, Peruvian chilli. The juices are fresh and organic and the coffee is perfection itself – La P’tite France is an excellent place for a coffee and a light breakfast before touring the nearby Surquillo food markets.
Jr. Gonzales Prada 599, Surquillo
For more than 110 years, Peruvian politicians, presidents, artists and writers have dined at El Cordano, located just up the side of the 16th-century Government Palace at Lima’s central Plaza Mayor. None of your haute-Peruvian, foam-and-flower-accented tasting-menus here, just yummy, hearty local favourites like beef with tacu tacu (pan-fried rice and beans) and butifarra, a sandwich of country ham and sweet-onion relish on French bread. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, El Cordano is cheap as chips and bursting with atmosphere.
Jirón Ancash 202, Lima
Chef Hector Solis grew up in the northern city of Chiclayo, where his parents ran a picantería (family restaurant). At Fiesta, Solis turns that regional cuisine into an art form. Fiesta’s “hot ceviche” (citrus-cured fish) is a standout, as is the hearty duck and rice Chiclayo style.
Av. Reducto 1278, Miraflores
La Rosa Nautica
From the ceviche topped with slivers of Peruvian chilli through to the purple corn sorbet with “pineapple perfume”, La Rosa Nautica serves up impeccable nouveau-Peruvian cuisine. But the real reason to dine here is the unparalleled charm of its location and architecture – perched atop railway piles in the ocean, this rambling, almost fantastical Victorian structure, reached via a boardwalk, features views that are intoxicating even before you’ve had your first pisco sour from its famous bar. Sunset is La Rosa Nautica’s magic hour.
Espigón 4 Circuito de Playas, Costa Verde, Miraflores
Image credit: By Alex Proimos (La Rosa Nautica, Miraflores), via Wikimedia Commons