Quite the foodie on your travels? Then look no further than Lima on your next South American jaunt! Thanks to splendid seafood and innovative chefs as well as a longstanding culinary tradition, Lima has been described as one of the great food cities in the world.
The Peruvian capital is now considered one of the top destinations to find delicious meals. With the variety of restaurants in Lima, it can be difficult to choose where to start. That’s what we’re here for – to make sure you get the expert recommendations!
Below is our collection of standouts — restaurants, markets, food and drink — to leave you at best sated, or at least, inspired.
Astrid y Gaston is the flagship of Peru’s most celebrated chef, Gaston Acurio
Av. Paz Soldán 290, San Isidro 15073, Peru
It’s impossible to discuss Lima’s standing as a world-class food town and not mention Chef Gastón Acurio’s renowned restaurant empire. AyG is his flagship here in Lima, and regularly ranks as one of the world’s top restaurants. Featuring a seasonal menu derived from traditional Peruvian food, with a modern, fine dining twist, the 28, (yes that’s correct, 28!) course tasting menu will take you on a journey around Peru on your dinner chair – just make sure you skip lunch! It’s certainly worth a visit, but if the pricey dinner tasting menu and 5-month wait for a dinner reservation scares you off, head here for lunch. Arrive around noon-ish, and you’ll likely be seated without a wait.
Cebicheria La Mar
Do not miss lunch at this lively cebicheria, located at Av Mariscal La Mar 770, Miraflores 15074, Peru.
No trip to Peru is complete without sampling ceviche, and La Mar is the best place to try it. Also a Gaston Acurio restaurant, La Mar is one of the best daytime spots you will find in Lima, with reasonable prices ranging from $29-69 for lunch. A must try is the unique interpretation of the Bloody Mary, the ‘Bloody Locho’ – complete with seafood shells and all! What to expect: Endless plates of ceviche and seafood paired with the most delicious pisco based cocktails, so be prepared to make it a long lunch!
Just a few feet away from La Mar is the cutest little organic grocery store. Punto Organico carries all sorts of different quinoa, sauces and vegetables! If your accommodation has cooking facilities, then pop in and pick up some local delights and cook up your own Peruvian meal, if it doesn’t, it’s still worth stopping in for a look around.
Everyone loves to explore local markets, and this is one of the best in all of Lima! The market of choice for all the top chefs, it is bursting with everything you could possibly imagine, so get ready to see some new types of produce and tons of crazy meats and seafood! Be sure to try the ceviche from ‘Bam Bam’, a cevichería located just behind the market.
For some people, there’s nothing better than a great cup of coffee, and this is the place to go if you are one of them. Even if you’re a complete coffee novice and you’re just after an afternoon lift, Bisetti is the place to go for your caffeine fix!
Whether he’s manning the kitchen at the award-winning Malabar or fulfilling his role as executive chef at ámaZ, Pedro Miguel Schiaffino is sure to be bringing unique flavours collected in Peru’s remote jungle to the table. Although the Amazon basin covers around 60 percent of Peru, most of Lima’s urban dwellers (as well as its foreign visitors) are nevertheless unfamiliar with its signature ingredients. Schiaffino’s seasonal menu features delicacies such as crisp, seared cuy and Amazonian river snails bathed in a sauce made with spicy chorizo.
Peru has the second largest Japanese population in South America, resulting in a Japanese-Peruvian food fusion know as ‘Nikkei’. Maido is the type of restaurant that constantly surprises you with inventive flavour combinations and cooking techniques whilst still staying true to its comforting Asian home-style familiarity. Whether going for the Peruvian Nikkei specialities, the tasting menu, Japanese sushi, or even ramen, Maido insatiably covers the whole spectrum of the Nikkei rainbow.
A great neighbourhood cafe offering freshly baked breads, avocado toast, burrito’s and great pizza too – this is the place to go for good food without the fuss.
Santa Isabel 376 Miraflores Lima, Peru
If you’re after something a bit more up market, reserve a table at the sleek Central. Originally chef Virgilio Ramirez’s childhood home it has been transformed into the most famous restaurant in all of Peru, and is ranked the 4th best restaurant in the world! The tasting menu paired with corresponding wines is something that can’t be missed for anyone who loves a fine dining experience. Make your reservation at least two weeks in advance for dinner and one week in advance for lunch.
The pisco sour originated in Lima, and remains ubiquitous throughout the city. Whether you choose to sit and sip at one of the city’s trendy establishments like Huaringas Bar in Miraflores, or stop and relax at a more iconic space such as the Gran Hotel Bolivar, just make sure you drink one, or two… but beware, they’re stronger than they look.
La Lucha is a sandwich lover’s dream and a veritable icon in the city. If you’re not one who likes standing in a queue for food, then maybe you should reconsider, as these heaping sandwiches are sent from the heavens. Your best bet is to go with at least one other person, so you can order the classic chicharron sandwich with its piles of pork, pickled onions, criolla sauce and thin slices of roasted sweet potatoes. Get your friend to order the El Preferido, a carnivores delight with piles of asado (BBQ meat) and avocado, and devour half each! Oh, and don’t forget the fries, their crispy salted wedges are la bomba!
Another food fusion to try when in Lima is ‘Chifa’, mixing Chinese and Peruvian flavours. Chifa restaurants in Lima range from small and divey to big and, well, less divey. Order the arroz chaufa, essentially fried rice, crispy wantan fritos (fried wontons), or lomo saltado (stir-fried beef).
Looking to explore your tastebuds further in Peru? Download the Crooked Compass Travel App to find Unique Dining experiences and how to Eat Like a Local.
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This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.