The homeland of cebiche and quinoa, Peru is both a leader in culinary inventiveness and a heartland of traditional, straight-from-the-earth, soulwarming cuisine.
Widely regarded as the culinary capital of Latin America, Peru will excite your taste buds with dishes that date back to the Incas – as well as thrilling contemporary fusions influenced by the many people that make up Peru today.
If you’re after authentically rich foodie experiences and seriously flavoursome fare that’s tinged with fiesta, pack your bags and your appetite – Peru calls.
Gastronomes, look no further. Lima punches above its weight in the fine food category, home to some of the world’s most revered chefs and talked-about restaurants. Get your reservations in early and make sure to have a light breakfast!
Ranked the sixth best restaurant in the world, dining at Central is a life-changing experience. The cuisine is a contemporary take on traditional Peruvian dishes and puts an inventive spin on native ingredients.
The first restaurant helmed by chef-patron saint of modern Peruvian cuisine, Astrid y Gaston transformed the way Peruvians thought about food. It’s full of heritage, flavour, and awe – and is sure to be a highlight of your trip.
At Maido, traditional Peruvian ingredients come together with complex Japanese techniques to create the 10th best restaurant in the world. Reservations can be tough to come by, so it’s best to book ahead.
Lima is one of the rare places where it’s possible to eat just as well when you’re in a local canteen as a five-star restaurant. Don’t miss the chance to immerse yourself in authentic flavours, from delectable street food to earthy home cooking.
This hole-in-the-wall anticucheria is one of the finest street food experiences you’ll ever have. The beef heart kebab and pork crackling sandwiches are unmissable.
A vibrant park in the middle of the Miraflores district, Kennedy Park is one of Lima’s cultural – and feline – hearts. A must for cat lovers, the park boasts nearly every variety, each looked after by local ‘guardian angels.’ It’s also a big draw for the food-obsessed, with some excellent street stalls.
With seven stools and no tables, Al Toke Pez is as ‘hole-in-the-wall’ as it gets. But it’s well worth eating on your feet; the food stand is manned by Toshi Matsufuji, a beloved practitioner of Japanese/Peruvian fusion. Expect flavourful twists on fish that you’ve never experienced before.
Perched in Lima’s hippest hood, Barranco, Isolina takes homestyle family dishes and puts a modern, sophisticated twist on them. The food will leave you with a full belly and the atmosphere with a happy spirit.
The best way to get to know the pulse of a city is by its food markets and Lima has them in spades. Famed for exotic Amazonian fruits and fresh fish ready for cebiche, these bustling markets are an unmissable destination in and of themselves.
The enormous Surquillo Market is the city’s most well-known, packed full of vendors hawking everything from tropical fruits to fresh cuts of meat and fish. You can also dine in, enjoying local meals at the adjoining Calle Narciso de Colina.
Strolling through a fish market in Lima is perhaps the best way to get to know both the product and the people that inhabit this colourful corner of the world – and they’re also a great place to score authentic cebiche at a bargain price.
When you’re not eating and drinking your way through Lima, there’s plenty more to see and do. From the wonders of the great outdoors to arts and crafts, it’s easy to be swept away by this charming capital.
A gorgeous stroll from on the newly renovated Miraflores boardwalk is great for people watching, taking in views of the Pacific as well as surfers and parasailers. Wind up at the stunning Costa Verde (‘green beach’), thriving with plants and cafeterias dotted along the cliffs.
A visual feast for the senses that’s only 45 minutes bus ride from Central Lima, Barranco is home to the city’s artistic community, who currently occupy the area’s bright art-deco houses. The bohemian district is also home to Lima’s best bars, eateries and coffee shops, so it’s well worth dedicating an afternoon to, if only to gaze at all the street art.
It is Peru’s national cocktail, after all… not that you needed another reason to order one. A curious blend of sharp tang and crisp sweetness, it’s best enjoyed after a day of foodie adventures.
If you’re a meat lover, you’ll be in luck in Peru – it’s a carnivore’s paradise. But some of the best dishes you can get are vegan, so you’d be doing yourself a disservice to discount them.
A lot of the magic in Peru’s dishes comes from their sauces and marinades, so if you’d like to recreate a dish you tried – find out what’s in the secret sauce.