SO, LIMA IS A FOOD-IE CITY
if you read my post from hisa franko in slovenia, you know that we're big fans of the show chef's table. not only because we love to learn about food and the interesting chefs behind it, but also because it has a special way of getting you excited about specific regions around the world. the episode from slovenia single handedly made sure we saw that part of the country and it ended up being one of our most memorable legs of the trip. when we decided to travel to peru, we watched the CENTRAL episode, and immediately were online frantically trying to make reservations. sadly it didn't work out for us as the recently awarded 4th best restaurant in the world was on a lot of other people's minds too.
this was just the start of us learning more about lima as a complete food mecca. with the pacific ocean, andes mountains and amazonian rainforest spread across this crazy diverse country, each climate produces a unique inspiration for the chefs around peru's capital. add in peruvian's skill for flavor blending, experimentation, and their influence from the many japanese and chinese immigrants – it's no wonder this city is full of endless dining options, fit for any palette.
AND YOU NEED TO EAT A LOT OF CEVICHE
it is hard to go two blocks without finding a cevicheria in lima – from the small vending trucks pushed along the streets to the fanciest of fine dining establishments in the most affluent areas – there is always fresh ceviche to be had.
more than 2,000 years ago peru had an abundance of highly acidic oranges that were used to marinate the fish and started this "movement" – these have since been replaced with small bright green lemons that "cook" the fish in a different way than our lemons back in the states can. expect to see a boiled sweet potato [camote] and a two-inch piece of heavy corn on the cob [choclo] on the side of each dish – and of course a few small red hot limo peppers mixed into the raw fish. served in small portions with a variety of fish and shellfish, based on what's available and in season, it's the perfect way to share a meal with friends and family.
WHERE TO EAT IN LIMA
- EL PAN DE LA CHOLA this bakery rivals any spot we've been to in SF, and is one of the best breakfasts i've ever had.
- LA BODEGA VERDE a fun, healthy, cozy patio spot for breakfast or lunch, and a great area to walk around in afterwards.
- JERONIMO great lunch spot – take recommendations from the waiter and make sure to get a reservation if you want a table. their bar seating is pretty fun though, too.
- EL MERCADO make a reservation 2 weeks in advance, or arrive 15-20 minutes before they open to get in line for the bar. this spot fills up FAST but is worth it if you can snag a seat. lunch only!
- LA MAR one of the fancier and more established cevicherias – arrive before 1 if you want to get a table. each fish served here can be traced back not only to the place where it was caught, but the fisherman who caught it.
- LA PICANTERÎA focuses on the food of the north coast, but the lunch-only version is more casual, with picnic table seating and family-style portions. our favorite was the turquoise bar area off to the side.
- RAFAEL a must for one of your dinners in lima – high quality dining at a reasonable price.
- CENTRAL this spot requires at least over a month in advance reservation booking. we weren't able to eat here, but based on the episode of chef's table it seems like it would be quite the experience.
- CHIFA CHUNG YION chifa is the chinese - peruvian cuisine that you will see all over the country. it's more of a fun experience with decent food than a food-ie experience. this chifa is a lima landmark, packed with locals and great vibes.
WHERE TO DRINK IN LIMA
- ROSA DEL NAUTICA a seaside lima staple! we came here multiple times for drinks in their cozy bar area. if you're going for food, try to get a reservation or arrive early to get a window seat and watch the surfers. cala is another great seaside spot for drinks and a meal.
- AYAHUASCA BAR LIMA housed in a former mansion, this is THE bar to experience on a weekend night. there are many floors/bars/patios to hang in and plenty of shaman-inspired art paying homage to the famous amazonian brew of the same name.
- VICTORIA BAR set in a vintage victorian mansion, this is another trendy and fun bar in the popular barranco nightlife scene.
- ANTIGUA TABERNA QUEIROLO since 1880, this old school bodega has been the gathering spot for locals to sip pisco, hang with friends and snack on small bites.
- CRAFT BEER OF PERU the craft scene was one of the biggest surprises of the trip, there are a ton of small breweries popping up that are making really great beer and our month spent in peru might have converted me. a couple fave breweries & tasting rooms: nuevo mundo cerveceria | barbarian miraflores | cañas y tapas
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