It’s been named South America’s Best Culinary Destination and the World’s Best Culinary Destination for several years in a row now: Lima, Peru is a feast for the palate of any traveler, home to many high-end restaurants touting celebrity chefs and innovative fusion, to low-key local favorites promising the freshest and most flavorful seafood you’ll ever dig into. But where exactly should you eat in Lima? To help travelers fueled for their sightseeing activities and get a taste of traditional Peruvian food, we’ve compiled a list of the 10 best restaurants Lima, Peru:
If delicious seafood in a bright atmosphere is what you’re after, Punto Azul is the place for you. This local lunchtime favorite offers colorful plates of ceviche and similar coastal Peruvian classics, right in the heart of Miraflores- and at a great price. Lines can be long, but it is always worth the wait. Make sure to sample the ceviche, tiradito tres colores, and arroz con mariscos. Pour a cold glass of chicha morada, and you will have had one of the best (and most classic) Peruvian lunches to be found in Lima. Please note that Punto Azul in Miraflores is closed for lunch on Monday.
Owned by the famous Gaston Acurio, La Mar is a world-class cevicheria with a handful of locations throughout the world. It is the perfect intersection of sophisticated seafood to please foodies in a contemporary yet casual environment, and the service is some of the best in Lima. This restaurant is known for ceviche, but guests love the paella, catch of the day, and causa as well. Don’t be shy to ask your server for recommendations, and you can be sure to end up with exactly what you’re looking for.
If you haven’t already heard of Huaca Pucllana, you certainly won’t be able to miss it when you walk by. An ancient ruin nestled right in the heart of the modern Miraflores district, this pre-Inca structure should be a point of interest on every itinerary. What’s even better is that right within the site of this unique ruin sits a phenomenal restaurant. Come for an early dinner and watch the view transition as sunset leaves the ruins delicately illuminated by beautiful lights throughout. The fare at Huaca Pucllana features upscale version of Peruvian classic dishes, with favorites such as anticuchos, lomo saltado and ceviche. Call ahead to score a reservation, and ask for a table on the patio.
The most famous restaurant on Lima’s Costa Verde shore, La Rosa Nautica is situated on the Miraflores pier for an especially unique location. Indulge in Peruvian food and wine, with views of the ocean in every direction. While it certainly is on many tourist’s radar, it’s a Lima staple that most travelers don’t want to miss for the location alone.
Considered by many to be their favorite restaurant in Lima, Cala sits at the bottom of the cliffs of Barranco, one of just a couple of restaurants allowed to occupy the pristine shore. The elegant modern décor attracts an upscale crowd, yet it’s seaside location keeps the atmosphere laidback and relaxing. A great list of artfully-presented seafood (don’t miss the octopus) and Peruvian fusion will satisfy any foodie, and the wine list will give you a reason to stick around afterwards. During the week and earlier evenings, the bar is a very romantic spot to unwind to the sound of the crashing shore, yet transitions into one of Lima’s trendier places to see and be seen once the DJ gets started.
Another of Gaston Acurio’s many beloved restaurants, Panchita focuses on hearty, homestyle fare (comida criolla). This is the best restaurant in Lima to try classics more local to the highland regions such as cuy, papas rellena, and delicious sopas. Of course, some simply love it for the trendy yet cozy atmosphere, and the wealth of dishes cooked in the giant woodburning oven (the swordfish is always a great choice).
You may be wondering why a sushi spot is on our list of the best restaurants in Lima, but don’t disregard it just yet. Lima actually has a significant Japanese population, leading to a plethora of incredible sushi (Nobu himself trained here, at this very sushi bar). Many restaurants in Lima feature Nikkei cuisine (a fusion between Peruvian and Japanese), and you’ll find that influence at Edo, along with some reliable Japanese classics. We highly recommend the acevichado roll, but you can’t go wrong with anything you order at Edo. Plus, you’ll get impressive quality for a fraction of the price you would pay at home.
Another great lunch spot, El Veridico de Fidel is perfect for trying some of the city’s best seafood. Airy, spacious, and great for a group, this spot serves up one of Lima’s most popular leche de tigre (literally ‘Tiger’s Milk’, it is somewhat of a ceviche with more of the ‘juice’). Go family-style if you can, and order a combination of leche de tigre, ceviche, chicarron, and tacu tacu. Top it off with a pitcher of chicha morada or pisco sours and enjoy!
Maido is the ultimate representation of a fusion restaurant, combining Peruvian flavors and ingredients with refreshing Japanese elements. The marriage of flavor and techniques is what has crowned Maido as the top restaurant in Latin America and the 7th best restaurant in the entire world (as rated by the Worlds 50 Best). This establishment is so popular you have to book a whopping 60 days in advance but after their 11 course tasting menu experience we can promise you it is worth the wait. This well anticipated dinner is even better when combined with the diverse wine pairing menu. Be sure to look up and check out the countless rows of ropes hanging above you, colored specifically in the formation of the Japanese flag.
Situated above her more famous husband Virgilio Martínez’s restaurant Central, Chef Pia León’s equally exceptional Kjolle (pronounced ‘koy-ay’) restaurant similarly uses scientific research, knowledge and methods to explore the ingredients from its magical South American surroundings. Kjolle brings light to established and unconventional ingredients executing some of the most beautiful dishes you can find in Peru. If you are interested in tantalizing your tastebuds you can have a taste of León’s magic between 12:00 and 14:00 for a lunch service or between 20:00 and 22:00 for the evening’s dinner service.
Choosing the best restaurants in Lima isn’t easy when it seems every street boasts an unforgettable meal, but this will give you a place to start. Better yet, we hope this will help you break into Lima’s exploding foodie scene, and see what all the fuss is about for yourself.
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