Lima: 1 breakfast, 2 lunches, 3 dinners
My wife and I will be passing through Lima on the way to and from Cusco, and the flights work out such that we'll have a Saturday breakfast, two Saturday lunches, and a Friday- and two Saturday-night dinners.
We'd really love to put together a variety of great Lima experiences and would appreciate your recs... we like everything from the fanciest places to holes in the wall. Though food is generally much more important than ambience to us, but we're open to trying unique ambiences with decent food. And of course, anything that you can only get in Lima or Peru is always great to know about. For what it's worth we both speak Spanish so talking to cab drivers won't be a problem.
Here's what I was thinking, would love opinions pro or con:
We arrive Friday afternoon after a long overnight flight, staying at the Sheraton downtown, and I was thinking that maybe we'd take a nap and then the first Friday night we'd hit the Museo Larco (open til 10pm) and then the Cafe del Museo, which looks pretty good and is right there... Maybe not the top 3 places to dine in Lima but convenient and pretty good for tired souls... Happy to be talked out of this idea... Thoughts?
Saturday we'd have breakfast in a favorite local place (gotta be ceviche, right?), do some sightseeing, have a nice long afternoon lunch somewhere, wander around and then have dinner.
The following Saturday, we'd do roughly the same but possibly try to check out a new part of town... No breakfast since we're flying in from Cusco that morning.
Finally, any fruits/drinks/ snacks we shouldn't miss out on?
Tom in LA
Are you staying at the Sheraton in Centro Historico? if so, i stayed there before and I went to the mercado centrale, 15-20 minute walk and to barrio Chino. the centrale market there has a lot of local fare like aji gallino and ceviche, I do not know how adventerous you are, but I ate there with no problems. Maybe try dim sum at Salon Capon?
Though not ceviche, there is a French place, ran by nuns called L'Eau Vive around there, it is a pre fixe menu. I suggest taking a taxi to miraflores and go to the many places that do it well, pescado capitales, el mercado, la mar, la red.
Fruits, snacks and drinks that you shouldnt miss out? Fruit wise i like guaybana and lucuma, something i havent really found much in the US. Snacks, picarones are by far one of my favorite things, think funnel-cake-y donuts covered in awesome syrup. Churros with dulce in them, how they are vary from stand to stand. Peru like most Latin Countries, do pork right so a proper chicharron sandwich is a must i think. Found it is a breakfast item usually. But for chicharrones, i see you are going to Cusco so there is Ave. San Andres where basically it is a street that has joints frying awesome pig.
Peru is a awesome place and great for food and trekking, have fun.
Yes, we are staying at that Sheraton. Mercado Central sounds like a good bet, though since we're only going to be there a short time, I'm a little worried about eating too adventurously since a bout of stomach illness could ruin the whole trip. Is the Mercado Central in your opinion more interesting than the markets we'd find in Cusco?
Chicharron sandwiches sound great. We have great dim sum here in Los Angeles so we'll probably skip that, but everything else sounds fantastic.
We were definitely planning on hanging out and eating and drinking in Miraflores and/or Barranca, so hopefully we'll find some great places there as well.
The Mercado Central is generally considered less interesting than the two markets in Surquillo (#'s 1 &2), and it doesn't measure up to the Cusco market either. Keep in mind that most (but not all) of the recommended ceviche restaurants don't open until 11 at the earliest, so I wouldn't count on a ceviche breakfast. Instead, I would treat ceviche at Pescados Capitales (or similar) as your long afternoon lunch.
Jester99 is on the money with fruits and snacks. I'd also add pitahaya (dragon fruit) to the list - it's perhaps my favorite.
Other thoughts - make sure to try Nikkei (Japanese-Peruvian) cuisine for at least one of your meals. Perhaps at Costanera 700, H (Ache), or Hanzo.
Thanks, this is great info. Re the cevicherias I kinda figured as much - I'm not getting the vibe that Lima is a great breakfast town.
Re Pescados Capitales, it seems to be generally raved about and accordingly pretty crowded on weekends... is it the kind of place you could be for three hours? With our limited time in Lima, I'm not sure that's necessarily what we want to do. Is there an almost-as-good place that might take less time?
Is Nikkei a chain? Nothing against it, just curious.
Don't worry, you'll never run out of ceviche options in Lima. On the same avenue as Pescados Capitales (Avenida La Mar) you have:
La Mar (Gastón Acurio)
Cinco Esquinas (the orginal on La Mar)
Juez y Parte
Other highly recommended places beyond Avenida La Mar include:
La Pescadería (Barranco)
Chez Wong (also known as Sankuay, in La Victoria)
El Mercado (the new "it" place, it's in Miraflores)
Many of those places will have customers that are there for 3 hours, but if you have a tighter time frame there's no reason you can't make your meal quicker.
Nikkei - not a chain, it's a type of cuisine. The Japanese have had a long-standing influence in Peruvian culture due to a wave of immigration in the 1800's. So while technically Nikkei is Japanese-Peruvian "fusion", it's far from the strip-mall fusion of America suburbia. This is the real thing, and it's delicious. The restaurants I mentioned above are a few of the Nikkei options in Lima, though there are many more.
Breakfast - you're right, Lima is not a breakfast mecca, but if you want to venture outside your hotel for the first meal of the day, I'd check out:
La Bodega Verde (Barranco)
Hervé Bistro (Miraflores)
forgot about pitahaya, though i had dragonfruit in Asia, for some reason it being yellow blew my mind. And in general, most of the fruits in SA are great. I dunno if it is just a state of mind but I eat a lot of fruit when I am in Peru.
good call on the Nikkei food, i havent had much of it in Peru yet, the only place ive been to is Maido in Miraflores.
Cevicherias wise, It usually is not crowded if you go 12-1, maybe later because I know people that kind of chill all day.
Adding on to snacks/foods maybe hit up some bakeries in the morning. I do not know how much of a sweet tooth you have but Peruvian Alfajores are different from other countries are pretty good. San Antonio Bakery is pretty good and has a lot of choices. Also La Mora is closer to a European style pastries but nonetheless good and good food souviners to bring back. I like Manolo for the hot chocolate and churros in Miraflores. Its touristy and right by Parque Kennedy but I liked the vibe and the dude that works there remembered me from like...a year later.
maybe hit up one of the fast foodish joints that do pollo la brasa, Norkys Rocky or Padros? I generally avoid places but the chicken is really good.
Oh taxi tip, if you are travelling from like Centro Historico to like Miraflores or Barranco try not to go during rush hourish times. Though the price of the cab you negotiate before hand, during rush hour times, it can take like 40 minutes to get from pt A. to B. Just a thing to keep in mind and planning out your day
Thanks everyone for all your thoughts and tips. We're really looking forward to arriving in Lima on Friday. How does this sound as an itinerary?
Friday night: Cafe del Museo (I'm not married to this idea, but seemed an efficient use of time to combine with Museo Larco at night)
Saturday lunch: Chez Wong (need a reservation? Should I call now for this Saturday)
Saturday dinner: Maido
Skip a week for Cuzco/ Sacred Valley, then:
Saturday lunch: La Mar
Saturday dinner, last night of vacation: Malabar? Central? Astrid y Gaston? If you had one amazing meal in Lima, what would it be?
Thanks, y'all... Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and reporting back.
I have not been to any of those places yet surprisingly, but I liked Mayta and AmorAmar and i thought the food there were on point and Mayta is a bit innovative/nuveo-ish. The space at AmorAmar I really like, you can check out pictures online. Either way, Lima/Peru is always fun, have a good time.