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.
Related: Melissa’s Travels: An Insider’s Guide to Peru
Best Restaurants for Lunch in Lima
For Alfresco Dining: 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 Hot Spot: 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 Seafood: Pescados Capitales
Stylish seafood restaurant in Miraflores attracting ladies who lunch and well-heeled families.
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 Lunch in San Ysidro: Restaurant Huaca Pucllana
Delicious and hearty Peruvian fare with pride of place, overlooking an ancient pyramid.
Related: People We Meet Along the Way: Lima, Peru
Best Restaurants for Dinner in Lima
For Foodies: Central
A near impossible reservation and consistent foodie favorite helmed by Gastón Acurio’s creative protegé Virgilio Martínez Véliz in Barranco.
For Foodies: Astrid y Gastón
The landmark restaurant of Peru’s most celebrated chef Gastón Acurio.
For a Hot Spot: Mérito
This restaurant in the trendy Barranco neighborhood has quickly become one of the hottest tables in town, offering inventive tapas-style Peruvian dishes in an intimate setting.
For Waterfront Dining: Cala
Sexy waterfront restaurant with a resemblance to Sydney’s Icebergs.
For Nikkei: Maido
Stylish Nikkei restaurant in Miraflores that brilliantly combines Peruvian and Japanese cooking techniques.
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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