It’s summer meaning that the world awaits you and your taste buds to delve into it without limitations! As quite a foodie myself, I know that one of the first things that I explore in new countries has nothing to do with museums or history. Exploring a new culture is much better when you do it with the help of your stomach. For those of you who have always wanted to visit South America and get a taste of the Latin cuisine, I enthusiastically recommend that you visit the capital of gastronomy (with two restaurants on the 2017 “Top 50 restaurants in the world”), Lima, Peru. There are so many top-rated food spots that I could overwhelm you, but I’ll give you the main ones and then hopefully TripAdvisor will do the rest!
For those who love sushi
Okay first off, I’d like to preface this by saying that Peruvian sushi is the best sushi in the world. Hands down. To give you an idea, the co-founder and master sushi chef of high-end Peruvian-Japanese-fusion restaurant chain Nobu got his training in – you guessed it -Peru. Now that we have that out of the way let us introduce you to Edo.
There are multiple sushi restaurants in Lima which will have you utterly amazed, however Edo is just the OG. Despite more fancy restaurants being available nothing tops the original flavor twist that Edo spins on its Makis. I can confidently say that if you closed your eyes and chose any item on the Maki menu, you would be more than satisfied. Ranging from the classics, such as the California, to more creative rolls, such as the “Pizza roll,” you can’t go wrong with any selection.
I recommend the “Acevichado” roll, which has an amazing thick “acevichado” sauce and is the all time crowd fave at Edo. This roll is Edo’s greatest contribution to the sushi industry. The “Seiji” roll is also top notch as the Edo menu describes it as, “a tempura roll, stuffed with breaded salmon and avocado, bathed with smoked trout cream served with crispy salmon skin”, fancy right? I could list more of the best rolls but I might as well just give you the menu because there’s not one roll that I wouldn’t recommend.
I’m getting hungry, let’s move on.
If you want fancy drinks and Instagram-worthy finger food go to Carnaval
The second you walk into this bar you feel like you’re in another atmosphere. The dark walls and mysterious, cirque-like decor make for a great night for drinks! Carnaval in Lima, Peru hits the spot with both aesthetics and flavor. The drinks have a visually appealing presentation and may even include a bit of a show such as the smoking dragon, which spews smoke through its mouth. The flavors are also very distinct as the frozen margarita is fruity and sugary for those who like a sweet punch in their drink and the Moscow Mules are out of this world.
There’s also a bit of a cultural aspect underlying the menu, the cocktails are inspired from the Mayan culture. Each drink is based on a country or from one of the founder’s memories about the Mayan ancestry. The Kukulcan is inspired from the Mayan construction. You can use being exposed to the Mayan culture as the perfect excuse to drink with your crew! Another particularly unique touch is that they have more than 20 varieties of ice made through filtered water by reverse osmosis.
They also have finger food, which has a special touch of alcohol snuck into the ingredients, giving the appetizers a distinct flavor. Talk about all things boozy! The truffled cappelletti is raved about, so make sure you have a bite.
If you’re sweet tooth is unmanageable
Ana Avellana is a cute, cafe-style bakery in Lima, Peru, which is perfect for your 5 p.m. sugar cravings. The atmosphere is adorable and warm for the grey Lima afternoons when you need a warm coffee and a nice baked good. A fair warning, once you walk up to the windowsill you will want to get everything.
They have a range of pastries from donuts to cinnamon rolls and a variety of cakes. The red velvet cake is absolutely everything and makes me want to cry just thinking about it. The cream cheese is rich, but not overwhelming and you’ll find that the portion isn’t big enough after that first bite. Pro tip: do not share! I guarantee you can finish the portion by yourself and the idea of sharing is simply not a tangible concept when it comes to these treats.
Try the zambito. It’s a chocolate sponge cake bathed in nutella and topped with flamed merengue, I mean come on. Zambito is also a staple in Peruvian desserts so you’re one step closer to being a true local. The chocolate chip cookies there are called “choco chubbies” and if that doesn’t make you want to pop in your mouth then I don’t know what will. Ana’s chocolate croissant is one of those that you see on food Instagram accounts where the chocolate just oozes out in the most cinematic way possible. They also have classic brownie bites, which are highly recommended by moi.
Just picture this: it’s four o’clock in the afternoon. You just downed your body weight in Edo’s sushi rolls because you went, per my advice. You’re feeling sleepy and need a sweet to really finish up your meal. Get your butt into Ana Avellana, get the choco chubbie and a warm latte and live your best life.
If you want a glam-burger
You’re probably not looking to try a burger when you’re in such a distinct fusion spot such as Lima. However for all the meat lovers out there who like to stick in their burger comfort zone we present to you the best gourmet burgers. Papachos is a restaurant which was opened by Gaston Acurio, world renown chef and also known as the father of Peruvian cuisine. These burgers are over the top, monstrous and absolutely delicious. They have all types of toppings that combine to create an absolute masterpiece, seriously, these are burgers on adderall. My favorite is the mexican inspired burger called “Taquera” which has onion sauteed with peppers, spicy mayo, cheese, guacamole, pico de gallo, lettuce and tomato. The mixes are creative and defy the standard idea we have of a burger.
In addition their menu includes wings, tacos, sandwiches…they have it all.
They also have their homemade sauces which knock the socks out of Heinz ketchup (Yes I said it!) Best of all, when the meals over you have a wide array of desserts to choose from. Their sundaes are insane with a Peruvian touch that come from the local fruits like chirimoya. I recommend any of the choices on the sundae menu (that’s right, sundae menu), but would probably go for the “Merengado de guanabana” with vanilla ice cream, strawberries, condensed milk, merenguitos, manjar sauce, strawberry coulis and whipped cream. Papachos takes any regular food item and basically give it an extreme makeover.
So yeah try Papachos, regular burgers but on steroids.
If you’re vegan try Raw Cafe Club
The vegan trend is slowly, but surely coming to Lima. With pop-up Sunday organic markets starting to popularize, the city is catching on to the healthy lifestyle. If you’re vegan and looking to enjoy the full Peruvian experience unrestrictedly do not fret! Great vegan places are available – you just have to look a bit closer.
I went to the Raw Cafe Club, which you’re not able to spot immediately from the street. The location is quite cozy on the inside, but is nothing out of this world. The food, however, is the reason why you need to go. This place has great options for breakfast and lunch, so definitely make the most of it with one hell of a brunch. The oatmeal waffles and their pancakes are two solid choices for a quick morning pick-me-up. They have toppings such as vanilla ice cream, chocolate chips, berries and more. Their “three color nachos” are excellent for a starter, but the best part of this dish is the sauces. They serve guacamole, spicy tomato sauce and vegan cashew cheese. I literally did not let my dad touch these nachos that I promised we could split. These nachos end friendships, but are quite worth it!
The pizzas are 10/10 folks, they use a base made out of tomato and linseed and have more of that delicious cashew cheese on top. My favorite adds caramelized onions along with vegan parmesan cheese.
Their bowls are hearty and filling with options like sweet potatoes, avocado, baby spinach and more. You can feel your basic L.A. girl jumping out in her Lulu Lemon leggings.
TripAdvisor is raving about the dessert recommendations here – some of the favorites include the “chocobanano” cheesecake and their iconic carrot cake. The best part is that you’re not sacrificing flavor for health and you can eat three cheesecakes and pretend like it’s fine because, hey, it’s vegan. This is the excuse I used to down two cheesecakes and a brownie.
And there you have it! These are a few of the many excellent spots for your inner food connoisseur. Hopefully this inspired you to hop on a plane and make your way through Lima one bite at a time.