I was inspired by my last post to think of some favourite locations here in Lima that I find myself returning to again and again. Obviously there are so many amazing places to eat here, and some of those I’ve been to a few times, or wish I could visit more often, but these are the places that have remained a constant over the last few years. These are also the places that I continuously take people that come to visit me as I always know I can trust the quality.
The branch in Santiago de Surco is my all time favourite restaurant to visit and I think it’s now the ‘must-visit place’ of my whole family too whenever they come to Peru. Hanzo is Japanese Peruvian fusion and they genuinely serve the finest and tastiest maki rolls in Lima. For me, the best experience is to sit at the sushi bar in the middle to watch the sushi chefs at work. The rice bowls are also a great option to have as a side or as a main if you’re not too hungry, and you can wash everything down with some sake, or even a heirba luisa (lemongrass) sour.
I think Tanta is probably the restaurant I have visited the most over my time here. I honestly feel like I must go there once every 2 months. It serves traditional Peruvian food and pretty much everything I’ve tried on their menu is great. I can highly recommend the ceviche, the tacu tacu a lo pobre, the aji de gallina and they make my absolute favourite pastel de choclo and causa. Tanta has great desserts at a very reasonable price point, and they also sell their own chocolates which are some of the best in Peru.
La Casa de Gloria
La Casa de Gloria was my absolute go-to location when I lived at the beach. It’s a family run cafe (and accommodation) with views of the ocean and a laid back atmosphere. They serve delicious breakfasts (the best fruit salad), sandwiches (definitely the avocado, onion and black salt) and desserts (my favourite chocolate cake), and their main dishes are on point too (amazing causa and arroz chaufa). I miss this place so much now I’m not living nearby, however we always try and go when we visit Punta Hermosa for the day.
I just wrote a post devoted to this English brewpub in Barranco, as it is one of our favourite Saturday afternoon spots. They brew their own beer (it’s excellent), sell a whole load of local bottled beers, serve delicious comfort food, all in a friendly English pub atmosphere. I step in here and it’s like I’m back home.
El Pan de la Chola
This is a European style bakery and cafe which sells the most delicious hot focaccia sandwiches (the caprese one is a favourite). They have many varieties of freshly baked bread, baked sweet treats (I love the apple cake), and the Instagrammers’ favourite, toast with avocado. They make a great hot chocolate which has a slightly deeper taste and is not as sweet as other locations, which I love. If you’re looking for something more fresh, then their extractions are really refreshing, especially the ‘Verde’ (green) with apple spinach and ginger.
This is a bakery outpost along the Pan Americana Sur heading south away from Lima. They sell ‘pan a la leña’, which is bread cooked in a wood fired oven. They also sell meats cooked in this style too, but I always choose a selection of the different breads on offer. They stuff them with salty cheese; cheese, ham and oregano; spicy sausage (cabanossi); and also cheese and ham with fillet of beef. They are so good, and I wish they were closer to Lima. Every time we head south we stop there without fail.
This is a bit of a cheat as I want to choose every ice cream/ gelato place from my favourites post this summer. Honestly, I return to each of these places pretty much equally, so there’s no way I can pick just one of them. Laritza D’ is by far the easiest ice cream place for me to get to on a daily/weekly basis, but every trip I make to Barranco comes with an ice cream stop come rain or shine. Love, love, love.
Il Piccolo Pomodoro
Il Piccolo is a very popular Italian restaurant in the district of Surco. Among other things they serve up amazing pizza cooked in one of those big traditional pizza ovens in full view of the tables. I love the prosciutto and rocket topping and the base is always perfectly cooked. Another popular dish is the saffron risotto with osso bucco (including the marrow inside a large bone), which is so tender with bits that literally melt. It’s always busy so booking a table in advance is a must!
This is a slightly different one as it’s not somewhere I can get to very easily, but nonetheless I always get their juicy chicken and delicious chips at least once a year without fail. Their main location is on the city’s outskirts and a bit of a mission to get to, but the grounds are large (perfect to host large families) and traditionally beautiful. However, we mainly visit their pop up at Expo Vino every year, or occasionally their branch at the Boulevard de Asia in the south if we’re heading that way. Granja Azul has the best pollo a la leña, and thick cut chips, in the whole of Lima.
San Antonio is not necessarily somewhere I would immediately think of as a favourite, but I actually visit here quite a lot as their menu is consistently good. Huge soups and salads, delicious empanadas and pastel de choclo, fine sandwiches, the best hot chocolate (in Lima – it’s thick and made with proper milk) and a wide variety of pastries and desserts.
Special Mention: Market ‘Doris’
I don’t have the chance to really visit here anymore and actually we only found it about a year before we left Punta Hermosa, so it doesn’t have the longevity as some of the others in this list have. However, this mini market sells the most fabulous bread. I would say perhaps the best I’ve had in the city. They sell both sweet fruity bread and dark rye bread, plus baguettes, smaller rolls and seeded loaves amongst others. After our first visit there, we returned at least once a week until we moved away, the bread was just that good!
Almost Made The List: Panchita
I really enjoy coming to this Peruvian restaurant, run by the same owner as Tanta (Gastón Acurio), but I haven’t visited it enough for it to be one of my ‘most visited’. The portions are huge so it’s hard to try many dishes on each visit, but the tamales, the anticuchos and the papa rellena are all excellent. Also, don’t bypass the bread course as they are beautifully baked. The ambience in these restaurants are also a reason to visit, with traditional decor mixed with modern, brightly coloured and very Peruvian.