Restaurants in Lima, Peru: Gastronomy & Typical Cuisine
Traditional Peruvian cuisine is a blend of ingredients and flavors from Spanish cuisine with ancient Peruvian native ingredients and traditions. The cured meats and Spanish stews brought by the conquistadors merged with spices dating back to the Inca Empire and regional vegetables such as potatoes, corn, peanuts and chili.
During the conquest, the Spaniards also brought wine, dried meats and European-style desserts. The Incas learned the use of flour and sugar, along with methods for baking bread and other foods. Over the centuries, more immigrants arrived to the New World from Italy, China and Japan, enriching the gastronomical wealth of Peru.
The picturesque district of Miraflores is located only 25 minutes away from the city's downtown area. Walking through its cobblestone streets, you'll discover lovely buildings of colonial and baroque style, with numerous places to enjoy traditional Peruvian cuisine. Many of these restaurants and bars were established within old colonial houses, creating an intriguing and cozy ambiance.
In this neighborhood, you'll find a wide variety of restaurants serving traditional dishes, such as Peruvian tamale (prepared with corn, pork, butter, chicken, hot spices and olives), "tacu-tacu" (a blend of corn, refried beans and rice accompanied by a breaded steak and onions), "sancochado" (a stew containing boiled beef with corn, sweet potatoes, carrots, cabbage, yucca and potatoes), and "causa rellena" (a seasoned yellow potato with ground pepper stuffed with tuna). This last dish can also be filled with chicken, and in some high-end restaurants it's stuffed with fresh crab meat.
The abundance of excellent restaurants and bars make this lovely neighborhood a popular attraction with locals and tourists from around the world. At night, the streets come alive, filled with many styles of lights and music. You will find everything from small bars with romantic music to vibrant nightclubs offering salsa and tropical tunes.
Traditional Andean cuisine is the main attraction in the "barrio" of Barrancos. Prime cuts of beef and alpaca are prepared in the "campirano" style of the pampas of Peru. The area restaurants offer a variety of meat cuts, such as the round and long bife, served with spicy potatoes, salad, and a good table wine. Spanish cuisine is also present, with squid infused with olive oil and prawns with garlic. Many of the restaurants serve grilled seafood and melted Peruvian cheeses.
Walk through the romantic alleys and cobblestone streets to discover small restaurants with terraces and outdoor tables, making them the ideal place for a romantic dinner for two. Don't miss the opportunity to taste traditional Peruvian "parrillada", which is prepared with generous chunks of beef or pork, special seasonings and black beer dressing.
In the barrio of Barrancos, you will also find quaint Italian and Spanish restaurants, offering exquisite traditional creations from European cuisine. Listen to groups of musicians playing romantic tunes and traditional Andean songs while you enjoy delicious dishes.
Pueblo Libre District
This picturesque neighborhood is located a few minutes from downtown; here, you will find the best restaurants offering Peruvian Creole cuisine. When the first Spanish conquistadors arrived and mixed their seasonings and cooking methods with regional Incan products like alpaca meat, it produced a delicious blend of flavors and aromas.
To this interesting culinary fusion, we must add two additional elements: the Moorish hand of the Arab cooks brought by the Spanish conquistadors, and the African slaves that arrived in large numbers two centuries later. So, from this ancient process, today's Peruvian cuisine was born. Dishes such as delicious Peruvian ceviche, archaic Creole "carapulcra", ox heart "anticuchos", Serrano tamale wrapped in achira leaves, and spicy chicken with aji are now famous creations in Peruvian cuisine.
Many of the restaurants in this neighborhood are located in large, European-style houses that were built during the 17th century. Many of these buildings feature colonial-style furnishings and metal chandeliers, which gives them a touch of upscale elegance. The traditional Creole restaurants serve meals in clay pots and old fashioned tableware. As soon as you walk in, you can sense enchanting aromas and spicy flavors, ensuring you that you're in the perfect place to savor great food. Don't forget to try tasty dishes such as spicy aji chicken, cau cau, Chorrillana-style meats, and carapulcra, among others.
The Chinese district of Lima has the largest concentration of people of Chinese descent in all South America. The first Chinese settlers arrived in Peru back in 1849 to work on the coastal farms, where workers were needed due to the release of African slaves. These workers brought with them their culture and rich culinary heritage.
Today, there are a large number of shops and restaurants offering traditional Chinese and Cantonese food in the area. In contrast to Spanish cuisine, Chinese cooking methods did not mix with Inca culture and managed to retain their unique style of preparation. The sidewalks in this part of the city are full of oriental architecture and signs written in both Chinese and Spanish; you'll truly feel that you are walking through the streets of a small Chinese city. Enjoy classic dishes such as smoked duck, chicken with oyster sauce, sweet and sour pork, spring rolls and ginger chicken, among others.
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