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Where (and what!) to eat in Lima

Written by
Emily Opie, Jobi Chan, Jennifer Richt

Considered to be the foodie capital of South America, Lima is chock-full of incredible food and dining experiences. Sometimes it can be difficult to know where to begin, from figuring out where to eat to discovering Peruvian must-haves. Here are our top tips for enjoying the city’s food scene like a local.

1) Learn the lingo

Knowing your lomo saltado from your anticuchos is essential for showing the locals that you know how to eat like they do. A few of the must-knows:

Ceviche – probably the most well-known traditional Peruvian dish, there are endless variations. Generally, it’s made with small chunks of white fish marinated in lemon or lime juice, onions and chilies, and served with sweet potatoes and Peruvian corn. Like a local, you should eat it at lunch.

Tiradito – another marinated fish or seafood dish, except unlike ceviche, the fish is cut into strips and marinated without onions. The marinade (a citrus base with chilies and a few other spices) is popularly referred to as tiger’s milk.


A few plates of food at Astrid y Gaston

Lomo saltado – a classic dish that you can expect to find in most restaurants, lomo saltado is made of strips of steak sautéed in soy sauce, vinegar, spices, onions and tomatoes and served over rice with chips.

Anticuchos – found in street food stalls as much as in restaurants, anticuchos means ‘skewered meat’. It’s definitely worth asking what type of meat it is before you order, as one of the most popular types is beef hearts (known as anticuchos de corazon).


2) Know your cuisines

One of the coolest things about the Peruvian food scene is the influence that it takes from other parts of the world. Your main need-to-knows are chifa and nikkei cuisine.
Chifa –  Chifa is the word used to described Chinese-Peruvian food (its name comes from the words ‘chi’ and ‘fan’ which mean to eat rice or have a meal in Mandarin). Influenced originally by Chinese immigrants who came to Peru in the mid-19th century, it is now one of Peru’s most popular cuisines. Lima’s Chinatown has a variety of great chifa restaurants (around 6,000 to be precise!) to try from; Madam Tusan Lima is one of the more well-known.

Nikkei – Japanese-Peruvian fusion influenced by Japanese immigrants who came to Peru on work contracts in the late 19th century. Many of them stayed long term and began mixing their cooking with the flavours and methods of traditional Peruvian food, which came to define nikkei as it’s known now. In Lima, restaurants like Maido (a World Top 50) and Toshi Nikkei are world-renowned for their nikkei cuisine.


Comida criolla is the phrase used to describe traditional Peruvian cuisine, where you can expect lots of potatoes (of which there are over 3,000 types in Peru), corn, soups and stews, cooked with a variety of spices (aji pepper, coriander, mint and basil to name a few). Isolina, Fiesta and Kapallaq are some of the more well-known restaurants to enjoy traditional Peruvian fare in Lima.

On the more contemporary side, Astrid & Gaston, El Mercado, IK, Amaz and La Picanteria offer a more updated take on classic dishes. Visit Latin America’s number one restaurant, Central, for a delectable journey through unique, delicate and incredible Peruvian cuisine.

3) Go traditional

The best way to discover a new culture is to get a taste of something traditional. In Peru, that means chomping on some cuy, another dish that you may see a lot on traditional menus. Once enjoyed by Incan royalty, cuy – or guinea pig – has been a staple in Peru for centuries. It’s most commonly served cut into small pieces and marinated, though it’s not uncommon to see the entire animal served on a platter. Either way, it’s delicious.

4) Drink like a local as well!

No trip to Lima is complete without throwing back a few traditional Peruvian drinks. Pisco sour is probably the most well-known cocktail from the country. It’s a mixture of pisco (a colourless brandy made in the wine-making regions of Peru and Chile), lemon juice, icing sugar and egg whites. Most often drunk as an appetiser, this South American classic is deliciously sweet and sour, and extremely easy to knock back.

We recommend heading to Bar Restaurante Cordano, one of Lima’s oldest bars, to enjoy a pisco in the same place that’s previously played host to numerous artists and presidents. For those of you looking for something a little less alcoholic, Inca Kola (also known as ‘the drink of the gods’) is a sweet, fruity soft drink with a trademark bright yellow colour. Interestingly, it’s the only soft drink to outsell Coca Cola in Peru, so you’ll look and feel like a real local with a bottle of that in hand.


A Taste of Peru

As well as being home to some of the world’s most spectacular natural scenery and historical sites, Peru also has a thriving foodie culture. Expect a tongue-tingling mix of traditional dishes and contemporary South American cuisine, served in some of the world’s best restaurants, on this eight-day culinary journey.

Your adventure starts in Lima, a vibrant city known as much for its excellent food as for its world-class museums. Seek out the top places to eat and the coolest bars mixing some of the best pisco sours in South America.

A short flight brings you to Cusco from where you will venture across the pass and into the Sacred Valley. This part of Peru is one of the most beautiful and historically important and you’ll spend a few days exploring local markets and Inca ruins and taking in the incredible scenery. Get an insight into the traditional culture during a ceremony of payment to Mother Earth and enjoy a feast of Peruvian flavours during a picnic in the most beautiful of surroundings.

No trip to Peru would be complete without visiting the mystical ruins of Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Hop aboard the Hiram Bingham, a charming train bedecked in polished brass and wood panneling, and make tracks towards the Lost Incan City. Explore the hidden corners of the citadel on a privately guided tour that lets you delve deep into Inca history and experience one of the world’s most unique sites.

After a night in your luxury hotel, you’ll take the train to Cusco to explore the city, take part in cookery lesson and dine in some of its best restaurants.

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Luxury South America Food and Wine Tour

For food and wine lovers, South America has some of the best culinary offerings; from high-end restaurants to mouthwatering street food, there is incredible diversity. This 20-day adventure takes you on an amazing journey through vibrant cities and peaceful vineyards, and promises gastronomic delight every step of the way.

It’s not just the food that ignites the taste buds. South American wine is considered some of the best in the world and couple that with caipirinhas and pisco sours, you’re always guaranteed the perfect tipple.

We’ve selected a sequence of destinations, regions and experiences that expose you to the incredible food and drink scenes, as well as the finest accommodation renowned for their famous kitchens, chefs or cellars.

You’ll start off two days relaxing at one of Uruguay’s oldest wineries, before hopping over the River Plate to Buenos Aires. Explore the culinary scene of this vibrant capital before heading to Mendoza followed by the Chilean Wine Region for a first-hand comparison of these two very famous wine producing areas.

You’ll then dip into Peru and head to the misty mountains of Machu Picchu on the Hiram Bingham train, known for its fine cuisine. After spending a night in a luxury lodge you’ll catch the train back to Cusco where you’ll explore its cobbled streets and bustling markets, and learn how to make delicious Peruvian food yourself.

Your next stop is Lima, ‘the culinary capital of Latin America’. This is your chance to dine at some of this city’s finest restaurants such as Astrid y Gaston. It’s then onto the irresistible Rio de Janeiro and cosmopolitan Sao Paulo to get a taste of Brazilian culture and explore its amazing restaurants, bars and street food stalls.

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Talk to one of our expert travel designers and start creating your culinary adventure trip to Peru.

Call: 866 610 1533or Enquire online

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