As astute foodies know, Peruvian fare has emerged in recent years as one of the world’s most buzzed-about cuisines. Here are our picks for the best of the best of Lima restaurants.
For an Alfresco Lunch: Café del Museo Larco Herrera
Tucked in the gardens of the 18th-century colonial villa–turned-museum, Museo Larco Herrera, this café is the perfect spot for a relaxed midday meal. Tables are set under a pergola surrounded by bougainvillea and hanging plants with views of the sprawling lawns and award-winning gardens. In the evening, the restaurant offers dining in the former stables, which is now filled with banquettes piled with Peruvian embroidered pillows and decorative colonial furniture and artifacts. The gourmet Peruvian food matches the setting, which may be why this has been called the best museum restaurant in the world.
For a Buzzy Lunch: El Mercado
Peruvian celebrity chef Rafael Osterling’s lively bistro, El Mercado prepares fabulous ceviche (which Limens know is only eaten at lunch) like scallops served still in the shell and other dishes such as duck tacos and shrimp curry. El Mercado does not take reservations, so come early to grab a table and save room for the churros, which come with chocolate and dulce de leche for dipping.
For Lunch in Barranco: Isolina Taberna Peruana
Located in the heart of the bohemian arts district Barranco, Isolina is a neighborhood hangout helmed by highly revered chef Jose del Castillo. Located in a historic building, the eatery retains its original colonial tile floors and ancient wood paneling and bar, and Castillo honors the past in his fresh takes on criollo cuisine, which is rooted in the traditions of slaves who brought African culinary influences to Peru. Here, dishes might include black beans and rice patties and tortillas with calf’s brains.
For a Big Night Out: Osaka
Peruvian-born Chef Ciro Watanabe’s restaurant focuses on Nikkei cuisine, which is a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian foods, with an emphasis on ultra-fresh seafood. Osaka’s atmosphere is buzzing and attracts a mix of well-dressed locals and tourists. The menu is a bit tricky to navigate, but a highlight is the mariscos al fuego, which is served to the table on fire.
For Dinner with Friends: Rafael
One of the most famous Lima restaurants, Chef Rafael Osterling’s eponymous eatery opened in 2000 and has not lost popularity since. The fine-dining spot is located in a beautiful Art Deco townhouse and specializes in delicious fusion dishes like housemade pastas and grilled octopus with pimento chimichurri, olives and garlic confit.
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