Lima, Peru. The not so touristy city, but has much to offer if you’re looking for delicious food and beautiful scenery. The busyness of New York, as witnessed in San Isidro and Miraflores districts, is combined with the shelf-like cliffs of Los Angeles. Merging into one breathtaking landscaped city, Lima city overlooks the coarse black pebble and sand beaches of the Pacific coast shore below. The scenic unique architecture of Larcomar, in Miraflores, is a modern look at what Lima as a city is evolving towards. While just down the road you can find Parque de Amor, with its mosaic benches that weave around the famous ‘kissing couple statue’, built in 1993, is a great symbol of this new evolution since the 1990s.
Panchito, by far one of my favorite restaurants so far on the trip. It offers a variety of aperitifs and cocktails to start, such as Capitán or the famous Pisco Sour. Their menu has a tradition feel with a modern twist and offers dishes such as famous street food skewers of beef and chicken heart, sweetbreads, liver, etc (without the health risk of eating street food). In addition their Pork Belly is absolutely to die for, with a salty chicharon crust that tops a savory, melt-in-your-mouth pork belly it makes for a sinful combination.
In addition to Panchito, you will find a variety of restaurants that have been started by Gaston Acurio. He covers just about every cuisine, from the famous Chinese-Peruvian (Chifa) and Japanese-Peruvian (Nikkei) fusions to burgers, seafood, traditional Peruvian dishes (including ceviches) and beyond. All have a unique menu and are entirely delicious! On our trip to Lima we dined at Papachos and I would have to say, though expected, it was probably the best burger I have ever tasted. It was creamy, succulent and filling and I would do it all over again if I had the chance!
One more chef I think is absolutely worth mentioning; Virgilio Martínez. He owns a single restaurant in Lima named Central that was ranked #50 in 2013 on the Top 50 Restaurants in the World list. Not only is this impressive enough, but then the following year in 2014, he jumped to #15 on that list… quite an astounding accomplishment from this 37 year old Peruvian chef! The restaurant requires reservations and boasts 2 tasting menus that are locally sourced and themed. He ranked each individual item on the list by the elevation at which the ingredients were found (i.e. sea snails at -5m, trout at 0m, etc.). Each items boasts its own complexity of flavors in the few bites they have to offer. Absolutely worth checking out!
Enough about the food.. there’s one more area in Lima that is worth mentioning, Barranco district. This hippie part of town attempted to compete with it’s neighbor, Miraflores, for tourism during the revelation of the city in the early 2000s. However, when it found it couldn’t match Miraflores’ beauty, it took on another persona, traditional Peruvian and artistic. Many famous Peruvian artists, photographers, and musicians have originated from Barranco, giving it it’s laid back and romantic feel as you walk across the Bridge of Sighs into the town square. In order to keep this feeling alive, any new shop or restaurant that comes into town must have black lettering and traditional Peruvian facade. We started off our cultural tour in this part of town with a smooth cup of organic Peruvian coffee, followed by a lucuma smoothie for a nice morning wake-up. Be forewarned: Don’t let this laid-back feeling fool you, Barranco is known for coming alive at night, with it’s many bars and clubs that are very discreetly covered and closed until nightfall.
So, no matter what you’re are looking for, especially if you are a cultural and foodie tourist like myself, you will fall in love with Lima.. and if your lucky, maybe you’ll even get the chance to make some ceviche or a pisco sour or two 🙂
Making our own Pisco Sours!