***May 1, 2020 — See update about San Antonio*** Peruvians have been through many tough times before, and through them all, many of the older restaurants made it through too. Let us dream a little of times gone past, and those to come…
These restaurants may not be Internet famous like La Picanteria (which is almost unknown to Limenos), but, they are places that Limenos have eaten at for decades. Here are some of them. One thing I’ve found that many of these places have in common — the waiters seem to have been around since the beginning, and many wear bowties.
Tip Top is a drive-up diner from 1953 (drive-up only available at the location in Lince).
Punto Italiano is out in La Molina, famously at a gas station, but really that’s the name of the road (as in “gas station” road).
Monstrous sandwiches are about 20 percent larger than the usual size and this place has been around since the 1980s.
La Preferida is a classic place in a residential area of Miraflores. Well-known but still a local place. Second branch out in Surco.
Cordanos is quite famous and is located across from the presidential palace. It was, in its heyday, a hotspot for political intrigue and gossip.
San Antonio is a chain of sandwich shops where many Limenos go for a bite to eat, often for “lonche” which is the “tea” time snack here in Peru. (Update May 1, 2020, San Antonio is returning to their original business — they started out as a bodega selling groceries — and then switched to only selling sandwiches and cafe items. Now they have returned to selling bodega items — the location is the original location on Angamos. Like I said, these places will survive.)
El ítalo is an Italian style place, as are many of these places, located in Magdalena del Mar. It has quite a bit of charm and an old fashioned counter straight from Happy Days.
Elia in Magdalena del Mar is a time warp from the 1960s (even though the place is only from the 80s) and reflects the food of Italy when it encompassed the other side of the Adriatic sea. The stuffed artichoke appetizer may be their best dish.
Calamares is a ceviche place over in a less refined part of town. A favorite dish here is olluquitos (a waxy sort of tuber).
Rose bakery also has that faded photo sort of feel. The current owner is the son of the original owner.
Mozart is a new place located in the basement, out on the extension of Primavera Avenue. They are also Italian themed but with a bakery, salad bar, ice cream counter, deli counter, and lots of sitting areas. Favorite hangout for ladies of a certain age to gather for gin and tonics on a Friday night.
Tumbes Mar is a ceviche place in La Molina. Huge portions. Popular with Peruvians.
Cafe Tostado is located in Lince.
Don Tito is a rotisserie chicken (“Pollo a la brasa”) place in San Borja.
El Bolivariano in Pueblo Libre is a famous creole restaurant that foreigners go to when on food tours. Peruvians go for lunch.
Once we are allowed to go out again, these places will need customers more than ever. Try them out!