Top Ten Restaurants in Lima

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The artichokes at Jeronimo.

Six months ago, I posted my top ten restaurants in Lima (that one was based mainly on the insider knowledge. Shout-out to her!), but as I’ve been going to other restaurants on my own, here is an updated list. It is still based on the following: good food, good service–every time, all the time. I’m highly allergic to places that are so famous that it’s impossible to get a reservation (or use a reservation system that puts me right off my dinner). My list is of places that serve Peruvian and “international standard” food (as in, everyone serves a green salad). So, to the list!

  1. El Pan de la Chola (in the “international standard” cafe/bakery category): Still at number one, despite being a “bakery and sandwich shop.” Consistently delicious. Good service. Every time. They now have salad, and they have wine and beer. Try it for nighttime and enjoy the completely hipster vibe.
  2. Cosmé (also in the “international standard” but they also serve ceviche and other Peruvian dishes, and at night!): Still the unknown place I take out-of-town visitors. Still love the red cabbage salad. Best “secret” place as they seem to do zero publicity. Open at 6 p.m.
  3. Jeronimo (In the “international standard” category and world class): Yes, they use an annoying reservation system, but, go right when they open up at lunch, or sit at the bar. This was the first restaurant opened by Moma Adrianzen, who has since brought Chinga Tu Taco and Frida to the Lima food scene. Jeronimo is a world-class restaurant of the caliber that you would find in London, San Francisco, New York, Melbourne, etc.
  4. BEST NEWCOMER: Mérito (Venezuelan chefs making fusion Venezuelan-Peruvian): Straight in at number four. They have only been open for six months (it’s been an active six months) and their menu is fairly small. Delicious food. Great service. Only one dish was not perfection. The longest yuca fries I’ve seen in a long time. Lots of pea shoots pepper almost all the dishes.
  5. La Preferida (a classic Peruvian-Italian bodega, with game!): It would probably be number one but it’s not open for dinner.
  6. La Mar (Gaston Acurio’s cevicheria): Only open for lunch, till 5 p.m.
  7. El Mercado (Rafael Osterling’s cevicheria): Only open for lunch. Go at 12:15 p.m. and wait in line. The shrimp mini burger is superb.
  8. La Picanteria (a cevicheria): Only open for lunch. Located in the “some day I’ll be the hip area of town” Surquillo, just two blocks behind the central market.
  9. Osso: (Also, “international standard”, and yes, as event though it’s a steakhouse, they have vegetarian options and not just salad.) The location in San Isidro is so large that you will most likely get a table, even at night.
  10. Osaka (a Peruvian-Japanese “Nikkei” place with a uber-hipster locale in San Isidro): The tuna with foie gras keeps Osaka on the list (although I wish they would turn on the light — the mood is clearly wasted on me).
  11. La Isolina (brought to you by the sons of La Red cevicheria): Serves old-fashion home recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  12. La Red (the cevicheria that started it all): The legend. Only open for lunch.
  13. Taller Razeto (Italian): This would be higher on the list but it is located out in La Punta and it’s a journey to get out there. Still, some of the best pasta and pizza in Greater Lima.
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Foot long yuca fries from Mérito served with a vibrant Andean herb sauce.

And yes, again, I’ve been to Central, Maido, Rafael, and Astrid y Gaston. If you want to try a up-and-comer a la Central, try Statera. It’s the newest offshoot of Noma/Central style food. Foam, baby, foam!

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The edges of the octopus was crunchy like potato chips.

I eat regularly at a few other places, but as the food is not Peruvian (even if they have adapted some of their dishes to accommodate the tastes of Peruvians), I’m not including them on my list. Yet.

  • Dhaasu (zero fusion here, but using local ingredients).
  • Viet
  • Dae Jang Geum
  • JingXian

I’ve also finally activated an Instagram account for M’s Adventures: madventures.me #madventuresdotme

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Lemon merengue pie at Jeronimo. Not just tasty, but also inspired.

 

Viet – Vietnamese Food in Lima?

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Summer rolls with peanut sauce.

Oddly enough, yes, but that’s not the important thing about this restaurant. Viet, located in San Borja, on Avenida Aviacion 2590, is a nice restaurant, whatever the food. It’s got a nice ambiance, it’s easy to find on Aviacion, and the staff are very friendly. The restaurant is open 12:30-11 Tuesday-Saturday and 12:30-4:30 on Sundays.

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Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk.

I’d say to those who have been to Vietnam or know Vietnamese food from the U.S., don’t use those standards (for good and bad). The owners are Chinese Peruvians who decided to open a Vietnamese place. Why not? The place has been in existence for three years and the owners are thinking of opening a new location in Miraflores. I hope that they do.

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Pho rolls.

The pho (here they have a pho roll — as in the photo — so you can eat pho soup as a handroll) is not aromatic but it’s still a nice clean broth which can work wonders if you have a cold. That’s how I convinced a sick friend to join me. She got the chicken pho and added some Sriracha to make a chicken soup with kick!

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Shaking Beef – their version of “lomo saltado” with egg.

I liked the service as the staff cut up food into shareable portions, recommended child-friendly berry ice tea, and made us feel tended to but not bothered. The tables are stocked with hand fans to cool down your soup or your face. There are coolie hats for selfies, and for those who care, I think I counted ten Asian looking people in there. Plus lots of families.

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Vietnamese “crepe” but more like a mango sticky rice/bibimbap.

I’ll be back. I’m still missing a few items on the menu. The crepe, done here as an omelet on rice in a Korean earthenware pot, had coconut rice with mango and shrimp. I think this may have been the hit with my Peruvian guests. I liked the desserts including the sushi style mango sticky rice.

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Garlic wings.
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Beef on noodle.
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Spring rolls, cut up for us to share.
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AHmazing taro (a tuber) chips.
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A view of the interior.
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Mango sticky rice with the coconut sauce on the side.
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Not sure of the name but it was cut up fruit with sweet airy cake.
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Deep fried banana.

The one dish that I would have liked is papaya salad. I will have to try a Thai place for that, I guess.

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Banh mi sandwich with taro chips.
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Beef pho and the condiments (sriracha and hoisin sauce not pictured) and summer rolls in background.