12 Restaurants We Revisit Every Time We're in Lima
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Here’s a list of places we’ve found ourselves returning to time and time again when we’re in Lima. The places on this list don’t necessarily have the very best food we’ve had in Peru (a tall order), but they are dependable, convenient, and tasty.
I didn’t set out to write this list. The list created itself. These are places I noticed that we keep coming back to the last several times we’ve been in Lima.
The thing that the places on this list have in common is replay value. Most of the places have menus big enough where we can order to match our mood but where the menu is not so big that it causes decision paralysis.
These are not places where we go when we are on the hunt for the very best lomo saltado, ceviche, or whatever dish I’m obsesed with that month (okay, I’m always obssessed about ceviche). These are also not places where we go to be challenged. These are places we find ourselves after a long day of work or when we want to break up a day of errands.
I should mention that we’ve been to all of these places 4+ times for them to be on the list. For places with multiple locations, we’ve noted the location we prefer if we have a preference. The menu usually is the same across locations, but the quality seems to vary depending on the location. The original location is usually the best but not always.
I left off places in our neighborhood (Lince) since I’ll feature those in a future post.
Tanta (Contemporary Peruvian-Larcomar)
Tanta Larcomar features a beautiful view of the ocean and a well-rounded menu. There’s something for everyone on this menu. You can find ceviche, lomo saltado, ají de gallina, pasta dishes, sandwiches, and more.
Favorite things to order: The Moraditas (Sangria made with purple corn) seem to be perpetually on a 2x1 happy hour special (all day). The Papa Huancaína made in two different styles is a good starter. The Lomo Saltado is a good pick for an entree.
Surprising find: I found the Salchipapas surprisingly good. Tanta’s version features three kinds of sausage and high-quality potatoes.
Drawback: The wait can top an hour during busy times, and there’s no good way to be able to walk around Larcomar and know when your table’s ready. It seems like Tanta and other Acurio restaurants would have enough clout to make an app or text messaging system to make the waiting experience more pleasant.
Mal. de la Reserva 610, Miraflores (Inside Larcomar)
El Bodegon (Peruvian-Miraflores)
We like El Bodegon, a cozy, modern tavern, for solid versions of the Peruvian classics.
The food also works surprisingly well as delivery. We order from them as much as we dine in. Dining in is still better, and it’s a short walk to Huaca Pucllana (a fascinating archaeological site in the middle of Miraflores).
Favorite things to order: Manchapecho (carapulcra and sopa seca), chocolate cake (best in Lima)
Surprising Find: the Sopa de Frejoles y Chanchito (bean and pork soup) is amazingly delicious.
Calle Tarapacá 197, Miraflores
Pan, Sal, y Aire (Cafe/Bar-Barranco)
Pan Sal Aire features tapas, a bakery menu, and a short but varied list of hearty entrees as well as a cocktail menu. It’s a good choice for any time of day.
Favorite things to order: one of the chorizo pizzas (there are two) and the black seafood fideua
Avenida Almte. Miguel Grau 320, Barranco
Madam Tusan (Chifa-Several Locations)
Madam Tusan is a solid choice when we’re out shopping since there is one in Jockey Plaza and another in Salaverry (plus a few more locations). I was super skeptical the first time since there was a dish on the menu called Bruce Lee chicken. However, taste triumphs, and Madam Tusan has become a regular spot. The trio of sauces that come with the meal are some of the best sauces you can find in Lima.
Favorite things to order: Fiesta de Vapor (platter of various steamed dim sum), Wantan Especial (wonton soup with pork, quail eggs, and vegetables)
Drawbacks: For whatever reason, ordering delivery from Madam Tusan never works out for us. The food is cold, late, or both.
Jockey Plaza, Av. Javier Prado Este 4200, Santiago de Surco (several other locations)
Chifa Titi (Chifa-San Isidro)
Chifa Titi is our favorite Chifa place for special occasions. We love the elegant dining room and the simple but exquisite Chifa dishes.
Favorite things to order: duck in soy sauce, wonton soup
(Minor) Drawback: We haven’t found any other places nearby to go after dinner at Chifa Titi.
Avenida Javier Prado Este 1212, San Isidro
Cafe Tostado (Huarique-Barranco)
I’ve written about Cafe Tostado before. It was one of the first restaurants I tried in Lima, and since then, I’ve been going each time I’m in Lima. We’re not quite sure if we tried all of the daily specials yet, but we are certainly close to doing so.
Favorite things to order: There’s no menu; either order the Rabbit Cooked in Orange Juice or their daily special.
Nicolas de Pierola 222, Barranco
Antiguo Taberna Queirolo (Tavern-Pueblo Libre)
Going to Antiguo Taberna Queirolo is like going back in time. The drinks are a bit harsh (the chilcanos are made with alcoholado instead of quebranta), but nevertheless, you should buy a drink and nurse it just to take in the atmosphere. The plates are very traditional and you can choose between a sandwich as a snack or a hearty plate.
Favorite things to order: Ají de gallina, Sandwich with Jamon de Pais (country ham), choose between a variety of chilcanos or Pisco sours
Av. San Martin 1090, Pueblo Libre
Ayahuasca (Cocktail Bar-Barranco)
Ayahuasca is a buzzing bar in a chic mansion with Pisco cocktails. I recommend sitting outside on the terrace when the weather is good. There’s food too, but it’s nothing to write home about.
Favorite things to order: Pisco Punch or Chilcano with Aguaymanto
Avenida San Martín 130, Barranco
El Pan de La Chola (Bakery-San Isidro)
El Pan de La Chola is an upscale bakery/cafe with some of the best coffee and pastries in Lima. We especially like the Dasso location for its outdoor seating and proximity to us.
Favorite things to order: Mixto Sandwich (ham and cheese)
Calle Miguel Dasso 113-115, San Isidro
El Chinito (Fast Food-Miraflores)
For me, El Chinito is a logical choice when I want fast food. I find it tastier and much more filling than La Lucha. However, for Mariela, the Chicharrón sandwich which I crave for lunch is breakfast food. It’s probably good that we only go once per visit to Peru. Otherwise, I’d probably eat way too many of these sandwiches.
The location in Miraflores is by far the best in our opinion.
Favorite things to order: Chicharrón sandwich with plenty of ají
Calle Grimaldo del Solar 113, Miraflores
Selectos Ibericos (Spanish Food-Miraflores)
Selectos Ibericos, a Spanish restaurant cafe, is our favorite non-Peruvian restaurant in Lima. The location in Miraflores is central and cozy. The menu has some tapas and sandwiches as well as a few larger entrees. There are three or four types of jamón and a wide selection of bottles of wine available at different price points. We found it on the same caliber as the neighborhood restaurants we went to in Madrid and Barcelona.
Favorite things to order: Albondigas, bocata (sandwich), Sangria
Calle Tarata 277, Miraflores
El Mercado (Cevichería-Miraflores)
I saved the best for last. El Mercado remains our favorite restaurant in Lima (or anywhere for that matter). It has a lot of sentimental value, and it’s always a special meal for us. The plates are elevated versions of cevichería classics with international influences.
Favorite things to order: Ceviche Carretillero, Arroz con Mariscos
Avenida Hipólito Unanue 203, Miraflores
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A Few More Things (Yapa)
There are many places that we frequent that were close to being featured in the list.
We like to buy ingredients for cooking at either Surquillo Market No. 1 since it’s near a ton of great restaurants or Chorrilos fish market for Seafood. For pollo a la brasa, we like to order from Tori. For anticuchos, we like Anticuchos Juancito in Barranco.
None of these places are secrets. In fact, they are quite popular. However, you can get a seat for most of these places if you have a small party (1-4 people) and don’t go at the busiest time. In contrast, some of the top restaurants like Central and Maido require reservations months ahead unless you’re really lucky. We visit most of the restaurants on this list on a whim when we happen to be in the neighborhood.
Many of these restaurants are chains, with several locations in Lima and sometimes a couple of locations elsewhere in Peru.
To be honest, when I first jotted down the list, I had to ask myself, “Am I just recommending restaurants that are like Applebee’s in the United States?” The answer is definitely not.
First, these chains only have a few locations so quality control is not an issue. Even though we tend to have a favorite location for many of these picks, the quality is high at all of the locations. Also, this list is based on the last three years of eating in Peru, after I had already had 500+ meals in Peru. If I recommend something at a strip mall, it’s because it’s good despite being at a strip mall. One of the things that impressed me about food in Peru was how high the quality was throughout.
What I’ve learned eating my way around Peru is that there is good food to be had everywhere whether it’s at a rickety street stand, strip mall, home of a grandmother of a friend of a friend that you just met, or a sleek button-up restaurant.
Finally, I’m not afraid to edit posts. If we have two bad experiences in a row with any of these, I’ll remove them from the list in order to keep the quality of the list high.
Buy My Guidebook
These recommendations are just the beginning. My guidebook includes detailed descriptions of 100+ dishes and 50+ restaurant recommendations organized by theme. I include popular restaurants as well as many lesser-known restaurants all over Peru (Lima, Cusco, Arequipa, Iquitos, and more).
Put Your Recommendations in the Comments
We’re still looking for a go-to sit-down pollería and Nikkei restaurant. We’ve tried many of each but haven’t decided on a favorite yet! Let me know in the comments if you have places to recommend (any category)!