Lima is said to be the culinary capital of South America, I totally agree!
Spending 4 days in Lima, I realized that I didn’t have enough time to eat everything because the food is just so awesome. From ceviches to roast chicken, I wanted to eat everything that Lima had to offer. Boasting 3 out of the 50 best restaurants in the world, I could only make time for Central, which is number 4and I didn’t regret it. So let’s make this blog all about the fabulous food shall we?
fresh piranhas! I ate the skin and the sashimi
Ceviche – Lima has the best tasting one that is super Asian tasting in my opinion. It has the right amount of doneness of the fish, cured by the very tart lime/lemon. The freshness is incomparable because the Pacific Ocean is right by it. Apparently, the limes were brought to Peru from Spain and the because of the Rich soil, the lime is tartier and thus, the ceviche tastes so awesome. Top it up with corn, popped corn, fresh red onions, Peruvian peppers which is spicy, fried potatoes and sometimes sweet potatoes, it is the national dish to eat!
For a good and cheap one. Head to Mercado Surquillo in Miraflores. Eat at the one with the most locals, you won’t miss it. They serve it with a delightful fish broth.
from the Mercado. It’s a good price for fresh fish!
Another place to try is AltaMar which is a nice Cevicheria near my BnB. The mixed platter of ceviche and calamari is super yummy. The waiter also gives you many sauces to try with it. I like the spicy red sauce. Most cevicherias open from noon till 5-6pm. The Mercado closes at 5pm.
Cerviche on the left and calamari on the right with Pisco Sour. Yum! – AltaMar
Pollo A la Brasa Chicken – I don’t know how Lima makes chicken taste so good, actually, correct that, I don’t know how PERU makes chicken taste so good. It does. Maybe it’s the breed of chicken, maybe it’s free range, maybe it’s the water or the non existence of Monsanto. The chicken is soft, tender with the special spices and herbs it uses when they roast it.
the beef hearts with my favorite roast chicken at Pardo
Try a good one at Pardos. The meat is soft, tender with all the taste right to its bones. The skin crisp and super tasty. The sauces that accompany it goes well with the fries and the chicken if you need more kick. Pardos know their chicken. Try it also with the beef hearts. It tastes a bit like beef tongue, less chewy. They have branches at the airport, Miraflores, and Larcomar, the restaurant with the best sunset view as it’s by Malecón, the Pacific Ocean walkway. I’ve had chicken in Cuzco at a normal rotisserie and it was also great! Peruvians know their chickens and they certainly know how to cook it well. Even the KFC is softer and taste better here. It’s a smaller piece of chicken but I’m almost sure it’s because it has no growth hormones!
Fruits – I love the market for this, but you also find it on the streets. Watermelons, pineapples, passion fruits, berries, fruits from cactuses. My favourite – the yellow dragon fruit they call Pitajaya. It’s super sweet yet delicate tasting and the texture is amazing. It also detoxes me (I go to the Loo immediately) if I eat the whole thing, so my threshold is half each day 😂.
Churros – Believe it or not, I had the best in a breakfast cafe and it’s better than some of the ones in Spain. It was second to the best tasting one I had in Sergovia.
Quinoa – quinoa in soup, in chocolate, in beer and in salads. It’s delicious and it’s grown fresh here. How not to love and it’s so healthy!
Pisco Sours – ok, not a food but a drink that’s typical here. Tastes fantastic with ceviche, roast chicken and seafood. Usually made with lime, sometimes passion fruit. The very good one I had is in Central as they serve with Cardamom. The original one is served at Plaza Saint Martin at Gran Hotel Bolivar.
The Pisco Sour at Central. I love. It has Cardamom instead of the usual flames cinnamon
Central restaurant – 17 dishes that play with your senses and tastebuds. I love that I went on my last day of my Peruvian adventure. The ingredients are sourced from all over Peru, from the depths of the oceans to the Andes high mountains, chef Virgilio Martinez is genius at making food harmonise in your mouth. With every mouthful, bits of my travel -the machu pichu hike, titicaca boat trip,all played in my mind as the food and flavors danced on my tongue. Amazing!
you can only tell it’s Central from the menu at the side of the door and the gold square on the floor
Cuy – more of an Andean highlands than a Lima thing, the guinea pig is a low fat, healthy version and it’s a celebratory dish eaten at special occasions. I had the bottom half so I don’t see the cute face. You can also try alpaca and llama meat in the highlands, it tastes like beef but cholesterol free. I had shavings of alpaca in Lima. It’s delicious.
With all the eating, there is a need to walk so you can stuff your face more. My favorite walks are
Malecón – the beach walk never looked so good at sunset. People walk their dogs, jog, yoga, paraglide or just sit and admire the sunset. Feel free to walk from Miraflores from the lighthouse to Barranco. It’s a long walk but beautiful and breezy and safe even at 9pm at night. There is also a park of love where there are love quotes in Spanish.
y watching the sunset while you have drinks and dinner, head to Larcomar,- a large shopping mall by the ocean. They have Pardo chicken here! When I was there they ran a photography exhibit which was pretty cool
Historic neighborhood of Lima. It’s Unesco and has many beautiful buildings that are eclectic, which means styles mixed together, Renaissance, Neo classical and Baroque. The buildings are not always beautifully restored but that’s what makes them special. Be sure to head to the main square to see the changing of guards parade, daily at 1145am.
the old post office the secret museum near plaza St Martin
Walk around the pedestrian street in the day and make sure you visit the San Francis church. The catacombs are rather cool! The squares and the many churches and the many old buildings makes this places a must go if you only have a day. Take the Metropolitano which is the bus (that runs like our MrT) and stop at Jirón De La union and walk! Keep your eyes out for secret museums to chance upon. If you see people going into an old building, do follow as you don’t know what you will find. This neighborhood is best explored in the day as it can be a bit more dodgy at night.
St Francis church Colourful Peruvian art in a gallery it’s free. Most of them are in the historic town
Barranco – this artsy bohemian neighborhood is by the ocean and has beautiful wall art and careful littered bars and restaurants. Apparently, all artists, actors, musicians and of course Mario Testino was born out of this place. I love walking along the streets and going to the bridge (Puente de Los Suspiros) to see hippies selling their wares.
Puente de Los Suspiros
I love the Mario Testino MATE Museum. Such a beautiful building. And the beautiful vintage cars parked along the streets with the vintage buildings. Delightful. At night, the neighborhood is alive with bars and restaurants.
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<Miraflores boasts a shopping stretch, a restaurant stretch and Park Kennedy with the many stray cats which I love near the main church. There are also hip cafes and tonnes of restaurants and bars and wall art.
Miraflores is also where most of the hostels, apartments and hotels are here. My bnb which is called lighthouse is off the main stretch so it’s quieter. The owner Duncan is English and his house is nice and clean. I stayed at kokopelli on my first night in Peru before heading to Cuzco. It was in the city centre but noisy till 4am as there was an Irish pub below. If you like party hostels, kokopelli is for you. If you like to sleep at night, lighthouse is highly recommended. Get your discount from booking.com here.
If you like fountains and light shows, there is one called the magic water circuit.
mYou will not regret staying at least a few days in Lima just to eat. Your tastebuds will thank you.