Just over a month ago I returned from a three-week stay in Peru—wonderful days in my second homeland. It was a daily exchange of fond time with family and good old friends. The way it only works with those dear to you. I think back, and my heart is full. I can’t be more grateful for having such a wonderful family and amazing friends!
Nowadays, for me the highlight of a visit to Lima is every minute shared with my mom. As I always say, she is my best source of inspiration, being an innate foodie herself.
As she turned eighty-nine while I was there, we organized a birthday celebration for her. The reunion was intimate, the close family … Just forty! We missed all those who could not make it.
For lunch we had roasted chicken prepared the way my parents did when hosting guests at our farm. The cooking method is fantastic. A technique that has for sure the wow factor …
What makes the chicken so unique and heavenly delicious is the “mothermade” marinade. The day before the lunch, mom woke up at 5 a.m. (or it was 4 a.m.?) to prepare her secret mixture! As you can imagine, this roasted chicken is for my family comfort food at its best!
The chat around the fire pit while the chickens are being roasted can turn really serious and entertaining: “It’s not how we used to do it.” “We need more charcoal.” “Rotate the chicken now.” “No, not yet …” “These chickens are too big.” “Baste now.” “No, wait.” And the comments would go on and on until there are no more leftovers!
I really wanted to share this family episode with you, but now let’s focus on the peeks I have gathered during this trip, which was certainly repleted with gastronomic delights. I am also including a couple of spots that I keep visiting in Lima, just because it is wonderful to go back.
Note that around ten million people live in the Peruvian capital. There are forty-three districts in Lima, and this time I am listing the places I have enjoyed the most in two of them: Barranco and Miraflores.
Hotel B (Bar) – The in-house bar of this boutique hotel is a pleasant stop for a good drink, perhaps after exploring some of the interesting art galleries and museums in the artsy neighborhood. See “Tips” below.
My smoked Negroni was skillfully crafted at the bar and perfectly served at table.
Trying their restaurant with Peruvian/Mediterranean food is on the bucket list.
Isolina (Peruvian) – This restaurant’s kitchen is the one that has impressed me the most with its authentic dishes. If you are looking for genuine, Peruvian food, this is the place.
Cooked like at home and homely presented, respecting old, original recipes and flavors. Authentic and delicious!
The portions are really big and convenient to be shared; consider this when ordering.
Classic desserts from Lima:
You will usually find a line trying to get a table. Note that you can book if you are not going during the weekend or holiday; otherwise, be early enough to avoid a long wait.
La Cuadra de Salvador (Steakhouse) – Once a private mansion, it is now a steak restaurant, serving mainly American Angus cuts.
The spacious, well-conceived, roofed terrace invites for outdoor dining.
We were a big party of thirteen, and the staff was always friendly and helpful.
The different dishes we tried were freshly prepared and nicely plated.
Chirimoya/Cherimoya deserves to be mentioned, because I totally agree with what Mark Twain once wrote “a rare and curious luxury called the cherimoya, which is deliciousness itself” (Mark Twain, Roughing It, 1872). When I am in Peru and this amazing fruit is in season, I cannot help it and have to indulge in it every day.
Some of the galleries and museums in Barranco
- 80m2 Livia Benavides
- Dédalo (also offers a fantastic choice of artisanal products by Peruvian artists)
- MAC Museo de Arte Contemporáneo
- MATE Museo Mario Testino
- Museo de la Electricidad (There is an interesting connection between this Museum and my husband’s family … Do you know how come?)
- Museo Pedro de Osma
- Yvonne Sanguinetti
If you prefer to be outdoors, just stroll around Barranco to discover unexpected corners in this Bohemian neighborhood.
The multicultural influence is evident on today’s Peruvian cuisine, and El Bodegón knows how to interpret this and offers an excellent choice, using local produce from local farmers and artisans.
Peruvian, traditional dishes prepared as Gastón used to have at home.
Another very busy place that is only walk-in. Absolutely worth the wait.
It was nice to see at the entrance a busy bar team mixing drinks. The cocktail list is not too long but offers a nice, contemporary selection and daily specials.
While waiting, I ordered “La Colorada,” nice and refreshing. It came with complimentary chips and two dips.
I was kept entertained checking the open kitchen and enjoying the amazing aromas coming from the grill that is just next to the bar. The restaurant is set up casually on a covered terrace surrounded by green plants. Paper placemats on wooden tables–but cloth napkins—and plain tableware create an uncomplicated atmosphere.
Certainly they are serious with fish and seafood dishes …
but also the “Tacu Tacu Limeño,” which is prepared with beef, was tender and delicious.
Although in Peru it is usual to order and share, at El Bodegón the dishes are so beautifully plated that I would prefer to have personal portions.
Nothing like a fresh, herbal infusion after a wonderful meal.
I will certainly go back. They have really interesting dishes and drinks I would love to try.
La Tiendecita Blanca(1936) (European/Peruvian) – To talk about La Tiendecita is special, not only because they know how to keep a food lover happy all day through from breakfast to dinner, but because the ones making this happen are BFFs.
It is not easy to run a place like this, maintaining the quality and enthusiasm for so many years … over eighty so far. It is wonderful to find in Lima an authentic, Swiss café/restaurant that respects tradition and Swissness. Chapeau, Alberto and Monika!
I love what they have for a sweet tooth (homemade desserts, pastries, cakes, ice creams, etc.) like my mom, for instance, who is always delighted to return.
Also the varied, delicious menu gives many choices to suit all tastes and cravings.
La Tiendecita is an inviting, comfortable culinary spot in the heart of Miraflores. A gastronomy gem in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Lima, just for hanging out as well as for a more formal dining.
If you want to experience what Peruvian food is for a Peruvian, try Panchita.
This is one of those places I always like to return and have never been disappointed.
My favorites there are the anticuchos; I would say, the house’s and country’s specialty.
A plate of starters:
Soups and main dishes:
Picarones, for sure, to crown the day:
Note that they take bookings in advance but not for the same day.
Tips: Nice to visit in Miraflores
More posts related to fascinating Peru are to come. Luckily, the foodie options there are endless. Make sure to follow!