If you're heading to Peru, you've probably heard that the country is a culinary hotspot, and one of the best places to dine out in the world.
Well, you heard correctly!
From tiny hole-in-the-wall spots, to three of the 50 best restaurants in the world, food is a big deal in Peru. In Lima, you could spend days visiting different restaurants for breakfast, lunch, and dinner... and you still wouldn't get a bite of what the city has to offer.
Food is in the country's DNA. Everyone has an appreciation and connection to Peruvian cuisine.
...they also have a ton of recommendations, so be sure to ask.
The funny thing about "local" cuisine in Peru is that it emcompasses so many things. The mountains, the ocean, the Amazon River, as well as many foreign cultures (like Spanish and Japanese) come together into what is known as "Peruvian cuisine." And in the past decade, Peru's old-school, traditional dishes have begun mingling with new world dining standards.
The result? A lot of trendy restaurants (especially in Lima!)
If you're heading to Peru, these restaurants and bars are perfect spots to delve into Peru's intoxicating food scene.
and don't even get me started on their DRINK scene...
Where to eat in Peru? Lima and Cusco:
1. Blue Point
Did you come to Peru excited to try ceviche? Me too. Many people recommended Blue Point as a spot to get ceviche in Lima- and it did not disappoint. If you're not sure what to get, ask for recommendations from your server. This is a very popular spot at lunch time, so be prepared to wait.
2. La Gastronoma
We went to La Gastrónoma looking for a bottle of gin... instead, we discovered an artsy wine and cheese shop. Naturally, we stayed a while.
Tucked behind a tiny courtyard in Miraflores is La Gastronoma, an adorable beverage shop also serving local food (including Peruvian cheese!) This is perfect spot to grab drinks and a cheese plate before dinner.
They have a thoughtful selection of South American beer, wine, and spirits - we bought gin and beer to take home as souvenirs!
3. La Lucha
Close to La Gastrónoma!
A shop for classic, Peruvian sandwiches! Pervu has a huge sandwich culture and La Lucha is a great spot to try chicharrón (pork shoulder), butifarra (sausage), and pavo (turkey) sandwiches.
This popular, fast-casual sandwich spot features a walk-up counter. The restaurant is open, brightly-lit, and always packed with locals and tourists. Grab a sandwich, potatoes, passionfruit juice, and enjoy!
4. BarBarian Miraflores
BarBarian is an impressive craft beer bar in the Miraflores neighborhood. If you're craving an IPA or sour beer, stop by after eating at La Lucha and La Gastronoma (both are nearby).
Picture yourself watching a neon sunset over the Pacific ocean while sipping on a cold (and colorful) drink. This fantasy can be yours at Mango, a restaurant inside of the Larcomar shopping mall.
Head downstairs in the back for the prime viewing spot.
To us, it's an American burger bar. To Peru, it's an American-style burger bar!-Yum!
Papachos worth checking just to see how much locals love it! So many people raved about it, so we decided to check it out. All of the patrons were having so much fun... on a date, or hanging out in a big group of friends. It's a perfect spot to people watch!
There are a few differences from American burgers, namly the texture and the toppings. The ground beef was not dense... and generally just a pretty curious texture. The toppings feature peruvian ingredients and flavor profiles, so you're still appreciating local cuisine while eating a burger!
7. MAP Cafe (in Cusco)
Located inside of what can only be described as a glass trailer, the MAP Cafe is a world-class dining experience at the Pre-Columbian Art Museum in Cusco. The glass trailer (I guess that's what I'm calling it) rests inside of a courtyard... so you're inside, but you're still inside of a courtyard.
The menu is prie-fixe, and includes: a cocktail, amuse bouche, appetizer, entree, and dessert.
Make an evening of it by visiting the museum before/after. Also, be sure to check out Pablo Seminario ceramics shop inside of the museum - great souvenirs!
8. Gelateria Fiorentina
Peru's indigenous fruits are unique, delicious, and an absolute must-try when visiting the country. Check our Peruvian food guide for suggested fruits.
You should also eat the fruits in ice cream... for local culture and stuff. Stop by Gelateria Fiorentina near Mercado N° 1 Surquillo for creamy fruit gelato!
9. Mercado N° 1 Surquillo
Speaking of the markets, Surquillo is a wonderful local food market. It's great for browsing Peruvian foods, trinkets, and fruits. If you want to bring home maca, sacha inchi, or muña tea, head here for souvenir shopping.
Hungry? Try dining at the nearby "Bam Bam y sus conchas negras" cevichería.
Surquillo is a local market, but Wong is a fancy grocery chain. If you're looking for something specific, try finding it here... otherwise, supermarkets in other countries are always interesting, so just browse. It's guaranteed that you'll leave with something cool!
A list of restaurants and Lima (especially many in the Miraflores neighborhood) would not be complete without Central. This famous restaurant (featured on the Netflix series Chef's Table) serves plates that mimic ecosystems of Peru. Each plate is named by the elevation where the ingredients were found. For example, a negative number = seafood, thousands of meters = from the mountains.
This meal was as much a theatrical production as it was dinner, eg: eating piranha and drinking cactus. If you're a foodie, you truly need to try it for yourself! Expect 17 courses and a large bill. Reservations are needed at least 6 months in advance.
Try Peruvian roasted chicken at least once while in Peru - trust me!
Another top restuarant in the world that just happens to be located in Miraflores. This renowned restaurant serves Japanese-Peruvian fusion. Once again, you're going to need to make a reservation months in advance.
Tantas is a Peruvian chain restaurant that has locations around the world. I actually ate at Tanta in Chicago, not Peru. Even though it's a chain, it's still delicious. If you're looking for some classic Peruvian dishes in either in Lima (or Chicago), head to Tanta.
16. Pan Sal Aire
Pan Sal Aire is a stylish restaurant in Barranco. It's a popular spot for brunch and breakfast.
17. Al Toke Pez
Located up in the Surquillo area, Al Toke Pez is an acclaimed Asian/Peruvian fusion restaurant.
18. El Enano
Craving a Peruvian sandwich with a fresh juice? Head to this popular walkup bar in Lima! El Enano is a fun and bustling restaurant.
Amoramar is a beautiful, outdoor oasis that serves seafood-forward dishes. In addition to being a popular restaurant, the space is also a flower shop and an art gallery. If you go, be sure to order from their famous dessert menu!