The starting point for almost all Peruvian adventures is the country’s capital, Lima. This enormous city holds as many people as London and is bustling with a wealth of sites to see, food to eat, and things to do.
You are bound to meet travellers of all calibers here; backpackers making their way through South America, families and older couples on their way to Machu Picchu, and even bachelor parties in town soaking up rays, drinking good beers and chowing down on the amazing seafood.
It certainly is a town of coming and going, a hub at which to either begin or complete your adventures. I found it the perfect place to get started, a great place to adjust to the Peruvian culture that was so new to me. It was an opportunity to practise my still nowhere-near-polished Spanish, to listen to sound bites of classical Peruvian music in cafes and to sample the spectacular food which Lima is becoming quite famous for the world over.
It’s true, the cuisine is pretty spectacular. According to many experts in the food world, Lima is currently going through its “food revolution”. With its abundance of exotic ingredients and chefs experimenting with classic dishes, Lima has apparently become the “gastronomic capital of South America.”
As previously mentioned, Lima is LARGE, with each, vibrant neighbourhood boasting their own array of culture, colour and, you guessed it, awesome food choices.
Of course, when visiting a new city, country and culture, testing the fine cuisine is an absolute must. I thought I would point out a few great spots to check out should you be in the neighbourhood!
Miraflores is certainly the cutting-edge neighbourhood of Lima which many tourists flock to. It has a little upmarket vibe, teeming with bars and shopping centres.
In Miraflores, there are a ton of fantastic places to eat – and the local seafood is something you must seek out. Barra Mar on Avenida Mariscal La Mar is a great lunch spot to try out the fresh cuisine. It has a hip, street-food vibe with several dishes being served up in deli lunch baskets. They have a large choice of seafood sandwiches, ceviche and rice-based paella dishes.
They boast to serve the freshest catch, to help the local fishing communities and to use the best, organic ingredients. Check them out!
It’s true, Lima is not just great for its authentic, Peruvian dishes, but also or it’s Japanese food. Due to a large Japanese population, there are many fusion restaurants all over the city, not to mention sushi to die for.
Osaka is certainly on the pricier side of the Lima dining experience, but it has to have some of the best sushi outside of Japan! This is sushi with a twist serving up Japanese/Peruvian creations. The restaurants décor is stunning, so why not sit at the bar area and watch your food being made right in front of you? Huge fresh cuts of fish make up lip-smacking sushi rolls and you can choose your own ingredient combos to suit your pallet.
This is a great stop to try out some authentic Andean dishes. Here, you can try out all the Peruvian favourites, from Cuy (Guinea Pig), Cicharron (deep fried pieces of pork), Pachamanca (Incan-style BBQ) and Choclo served in various forms.
Nope, this is definitely not an ideal stop for vegetarians, but it’s a perfect place to grab a meat-lover’s hearty meal!
Tio Mario, in the heart of the hip and up-coming neighbourhood of Barranco, is another great spot to sample some Peruvian favourites. They serve some street-food classics, such as the famous Anticuchos. These skewered kebab delights are either thin strips of chicken or beef heart cooked over a grill and usually served on a bed of boiled potatoes.
For dessert you can tuck into a portion of Picarones, a Peruvian spin on doughnuts covered in a sweet, sugary syrup.
We stumbled across this place while strolling around Barranco one afternoon, and I’m so glad we did. Although certainly a ‘gringo’ place, not traditionally Peruvian, this take on Mexican food from the British owner is pretty awesome. The burritos are exceptional and huge, all for a very reasonable price.
This cosy little hole in the wall only holds 5-6 tables which gives it an intimate vibe where you are likely to spoiled by the servers. Try out the homemade tortilla chips or one of the fabulous margaritas to start before moving on to tacos and mix or match the fillings for a mere S/3.50 for one of S/10 for three.
So, why not check out some of these awesome eateries before heading off with us on our Peruvian School Trip? We’d be happy to help you with any info on the area that you might need!