The gastronomic capital of the continent, Lima is home to some of the country’s most sublime culinary creations: from dishes served at simple cevicherías (restaurants serving ceviche) and corner anticucho (beef skewer) stands to outstanding molecular cuisine. It has staggeringly fresh seafood, while its status as a centralized capital assures the presence of all manner of regional specialties.
A La Limeña
Many restaurants in Lima tone down the spices on some traditional dishes for foreign travelers. If you like your cooking picante (spicy), tell them to turn up the heat by asking for your food a la limeña – Lima-style.
Want to eat like a local? When eating in homes, local fondas or quintas (informal family restaurants) you can ask for a generous portion by ordering it ‘bien taipa.’ If you want seconds, say ‘yapa!’ – it roughly translates as ‘more, please.’
Seafood at La Punta
A quiet residential neighborhood with great views of the water, La Punta is perfect for a leisurely lunch. The gregarious owner of Caleta la Punta will lure you in with a complimentary cup of cold chicha (blue corn juice). Their mango ceviche won a prize at the prestigious Mistura food festival – seafood fans line up for fresh ceviche and whole fried garlic fish.
Dine in style at the waterfront La Rana Verde, ideal for Sunday dinner, with views of Isla San Lorenzo. Dishes are all deftly prepared and the pulpo al olivo (octopus in olive oil) is one of the best in Lima. It’s located on the pier inside the Club Universitario de Regatas.
While you're here, check out the galleries and street art around nearby Monumental Callao.
Lima’s downtown spots offer cheap deals and history, from functional comedores (cheap restaurants) packed with office workers to atmospheric eateries that count Peruvian presidents among their clientele.
Chic dining rooms, frothy cocktails and fusion haute cuisine: San Isidro is a bastion of fine dining – and not much else.
By far the most varied neighborhood for eating, Miraflores carries the breadth and depth of Peruvian cooking at every price range, from tiny comedores with cheap lunchtime menús to some of the city’s most revered gastronomic outposts. Pavement cafes are ideal for sipping pisco sours and people-watching.
Casual places with cheap menús abound on the tiny streets east of Av José Larco just off Parque Kennedy.
On Saturdays, a small green market sets up at Parque Reducto, off Alfredo Benavides and Ribeyro. Likewise, try the neighborhood’s excellent supermarkets.
Even as Barranco has gone upscale in recent years, with trendy restaurants serving everything fusion fare, the neighborhood still holds on to atmospheric, local spots where life is no more complicated than ceviche and beer.
A number of informal restaurants serving anticuchos and cheap menús line Av Grau around the intersection with Unión.