Lima’s culinary scene is so vibrant and strong—many put it on the same level as a place like Paris or Tokyo—that many travelers just forgo all other sightseeing and focus on the food. This short itinerary takes in the best restaurants, markets, cevicherías, chifas, pisco bars, and breweries in Lima, from street food stalls to the eateries of some of the world’s finest chefs.
Day 1: Ceviche & Rare Ingredients
Start your day with a light snack at El Pan de la Chola, an artisan bakery that uses flours from native wheat and grain, as well as serves fair trade coffee from Peruvian producers. Lay out your map and plot your day. Your first stop will be at La Mar, Gastón Acurio’s famed cevichería, a restaurant that helped turn Peru’s national dish into a worldwide phenomenon. It’s one of the most transparent seafood restaurants anywhere as it traces the catch back to the very fisherman who caught it. Make this your first taste of ceviche, as well as other coastal dishes like tiradito, thinly sliced raw seafood in lime and chile sauce, or pulpo al olivo, octopus in a purple olive sauce. Swing by Lúpulo Draft Bar for a pint of Peruvian and spend the next few hours strolling along the Miraflores malecón (pier) to burn a few calories. Rest and clean up before dinner at Central for an elaborate tasting menu based on altitude from internationally renowned chef Virgilio Martinez. Follow up with drinks at the bar of Ámaz, an Amazonian-themed restaurant that has one of the city’s best bar programs, often infusing pisco with Amazonian fruits and herbs.
Day 2: Markets, Chifa & Nikkei
Wake up early to see the Terminal de Chorrillos in full swing. As the painted wooden boats return from sea, you’ll get the sense that this intimate fish market at the southern edge of Lima is a small coastal village rather than a big city suburb. Catch a taxi to the Mercado de Surquillo, a neighborhood market with a varied collection of unique fruits and vegetables from the Andes, Amazon, and coast. Step up to a juice bar for a glass filled with the pumpkin- and maple-tasting lúcuma, or the high-in-vitamin-C camu camu, or sample more ceviche from the stalls on the backside of the market. Hop on the Metropolitano, the mass transit bus line to downtown Lima, and explore Lima’s historic center, eventually ending up in the Barrio Chino, Lima’s Chinatown. Have lunch on the pedestrian-only Calle Capón at one of the many chifas, Peruvian Chinese restaurants, such as Salón de la Felicidad. Afterward, walk about 7 blocks, passing the Plaza de Armas, to Bar Maury, where the pisco sour was invented in the 1930s. Spend the rest of the afternoon around the plaza visiting attractions or return to your hotel and rest. End the day tasting Nikkei food, a fusion of Peruvian ingredients with Japanese cooking techniques, at Maido in Miraflores.
Day 3: Coffee & Criolla
Start your day on Parque Kennedy in Miraflores at La Lucha to try a favorite Peruvian breakfast, pan con chicharrón, a sandwich with fried pork and slices of boiled sweet potato topped with onion relish. Wash it down with a glass of granadilla, a type of passion fruit. Jump on the Metropolitano to the bohemian neighborhood of Barranco, walking past the plaza to Café Bisetti, a roaster that specializes in native Peruvian coffees. Spend the middle part of the day visiting art galleries or strolling across the Puente de los Suspiros, the neighborhood’s iconic wooden bridge. When ready, Isolina, a two-level criolla taberna, is waiting. Here you can order classic Limeño dishes like tacu tacu (refried rice and beans) or cau-cau (a tripe and potato stew). While there is still daylight, catch a taxi down to the beach to La Rosa Nautica, a Victorian-style seafood restaurant and bar on a pier set over the Pacific Ocean. Order a pisco sour in the lounge area as the sun is setting. If you are still hungry, the dining room is just a few steps away.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.