This has taken me a bit of time to write. We went to Lima back in February before the rest of the world went into lockdown. And even though this is not really a time to travel, hopefully in the near(ish) future it will be again. Lima is not the gastronomic capital of South America for nothing. All the micro climates make my country very rich in agriculture. And you see it in the variety of dishes and different types of local cuisines.
So if you plan to go to Peru, I do advise you to spend a few days eating your way through Lima.
Where to eat:
This is an all-day bakery/café. If you love bread, you will love this place. I find that the portion of their sandwiches are large. You can easily share it with two people.
This is one of my favorite restaurants in Lima, and after years of going there the quality hasn’t gone down. They serve Nikkei food (Japanese-Peruvian fusion). They have two locations. The one in San Isidro has a nice terrace. Their cocktails and mocktails are also great. Reservation is advised as it gets full fast, especially on the weekends.
This restaurant has a large variety of Peruvian dishes. From seafood to old school dishes. If you’ve never had Peruvian food and want to get a good impression of it, this is the place to go. I love their Chicha morada (purple corn drink). I always order it with some lime juice on the side, because most places make it very sweet. I love their grilled octopus, Papa a la huancaina and Causa with crab. Reservation is advised.
This is a ceviche and seafood restaurant. I love their Leche de tigre with rocoto and grilled octopus.
Cremoladas are slushies. They have a large variety of options to choose from. They are all made from fresh fruit and natural ingredients. I usually go for the one with passion fruit or Lucuma.
Picarones are a type of doughnuts made from squash and sweet potato, served with a syrup. This is a cart that only sells picarones located inside the Kennedy park in Miraflores.
This is an old school café. I love their stuffed churros with dulce de leche or chocolate..
This is a very popular sandwich place. Their specialty is Pan con chicharron, which is made with pork and sweet potato. They also sell fries and fresh juices. All their sandwiches have meat but if you are a vegetarian, the fries are worth a try.
This is another Japanese-Peruvian restaurant. I loved their tiradito with scallops and rocoto and their scallop nigari with smoked yellow chili sauce.
This is a market very close to Miraflores. They have many fruit stands, so you can get a chance to buy and try all the exotic fruits from Peru. Try Chirimoya, Mango (the Edward kind is my favourite), Granadilla and Lucuma. They also have juice and food stands.
Where to go for coffee:
Neira café lab is located in Miraflores.
This one is located in Barranco and they roast their own coffee.
I wanted to try El Jardin de Jasmin but in the end I didn’t get a chance to go there but it was recommended to me by friends and family.
This is probably the most popular park in Lima. It is known as the cat park. It started when people dumped their cats there and they reproduced. Despite that, kinder people do take care of the strays. You can see food trays and water bowls all around the park. Adoption and neutering campaigns are done there so that they keep it a bit under control. One of our favorite activities when we are in Lima is to first stop by a supermarket. There is a Metro (supermarket chain) right by the park, this is where we get cat food and ham. And then we go around the park feeding the cats. Most of them are very friendly.
Besides the cats, the park is located in area surrounded by restaurants and bars. And there are often art fairs going on there. At night there are also a few food stands.
Lima is a big city with a lot of traffic. Taxis are cheap (compared to European prices, or at least cheaper than NL). If you are just staying in Lima, I recommend to use taxis and don’t rent a car. Besides the traffic, people drive like crazy and don’t often follow the rules. You can hail a cab from the street but you need to pay in cash. If you do this, hail a cab that doesn’t look very old, as often their seatbelts don’t work.
When you are at the airport order a cab from one of the stands before you go out into the parking lot, there are a lot of scammer out there. There are plenty of official stands right after the exit from where you get your luggage. The airport is about 45 minutes to 1 hour away from Miraflores. We paid around 16 euros for a cab from the airport to Miraflores.
If you are going to the airport also order it through an official company, don’t hail one from the street. The airport is far and for long rides it is safer to order it from a company.
You can use your credit card for most restaurants but taxis are cash only unless you order them through an app like Uber.
Mercado Indio is a market where you can find traditional Peruvian handicrafts. They sell everything from clothing made from alpaca to clay products and silverware. It is the place to go if you want to get souveniers. It is located in Miraflores (Avenida Petit Thouars 5321).
Larcomar is a shopping center overlooking the ocean. It has many restaurants and a supermarket (Wong).
Jockey Plaza is a large mall in the district of Surco. It is about a 25 minutes ride from Miraflores, if there is no traffic. If it’s a hot summer day and you want to escape the heat, this is a good place to go to. They have air conditioning and many restaurants.
Jallpa Nina is an artisanal ceramics shop. They make the tableware for a lot of popular restaurants in Lima. It is also in Miraflores.
Where to stay:
Miraflores and Barranco are the best areas to stay as a tourist. These two neighborhoods are next to each other. They are full of restaurants and you can pretty much walk everywhere.
Miraflores is the most popular one. The Indian market where you can get a lot of traditional souveniers like alpaca scarfs and silver jewelry is in this district. You can go to a shopping boulevard called Larcomar. The Kennedy park (aka cat park) is also there.
Barranco is more the artsy district with galleries. There is a nice concept store called Dedalo there. They also have a farmer’s market there every Sunday morning. It is called Feria Ecologica de Barranco. There is stand there that sells tamales and they are amazing. This is the address of the market: Calle San Martin cuadra 7.
Miraflores and Barranco are usually fine. And by that, I mean there are pick pockets everywhere. We have them in Amsterdam. There are plenty in Lima too, but those two areas are generally safe. You just don’t want to be very ostentatious, or walk by yourself through dark and empty streets for example. Just try not to walk with your smartphone on your hand all the time as that makes you an easy target. And I always keep my purse on my front where I can see it. I am the better safe than sorry type. Just be smart and aware of your surroundings.
If you would like to get a better impression of Lima through videos, you can always check out my Instagram account @cravingsinamsterdam. I saved all of my Stories from this trip in my Story Highlights under Lima.