There are people who just go to Miraflores, Lima just for the food, and it is no wonder.
This city is jammed with restaurants voted top 10 in the world for years running.
Japanese, and particularly raw fish is a staple on Peruvian menus. Many offer “Nikkei” menus, which means a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine.
This is because the former President, Alberto Fujimori was the first leader of Japanese descent of a non-Japanese country. It is hard to believe just 25 years ago, the cosmopolitan playground of Miraflores was hit with two truck bombs, by The Shining Path pervasion tourist group.
Today Miraflores is a semi-autonomous cosmopolitan coastal district in Lima. The standard, attention to detail and local passion for organic home grown ingredients means 80% or more of everything in the upmarket restaurants there is organic and 99% of the produce is local.
Chefs are passionate, staff are passionate, and all seem to feel Peruvian food is an extension of themselves.
Some of the interiors are spectacular, and just watching your meal come together can be better than theatre.
It is a joy to eat in this country – I didn’t have a bad dish. Many dining experiences were some of the best meals I’ve ever had.
Just book in advance, and many restaurants only do lunch, so check that too.
Central – Food porn at its best, and continually voted one of the best restaurants in the world, do not miss this. The best example of art on a plate ever, and the open kitchen is a treat to indulge in, watching endless chefs sweat over incredible detailed – and tasty plates of food. Read about my dinner there here.
Maido – Absolutely exceptional Nikkei menu ( Japanese- Peruvian fusion food) with sashimi the highlight, from the chef everyone is talking about, Mitsaharu Tsumura. The food is instagrammable, surprising and delicious. Authenticity, precision and passion are evident on every dish. The degustation is not to be missed. (There is a Japanese or Nikkei menu to chooose from). I loved it. Read about my astonishing lunch there here.
Maras – This restaurant features stunningly elegant upmarket interiors, and is located within the Westin Hotel. Grey hues, mirrors and modern furniture make this a magnet for American and European travellers.
An incredible degustation menu is available or a la carte. The wine list is long and interesting – packed with local delights and wines for every budget. I adored my dinner here and didn’t want it to end. Romantic, elegant, and just a gorgeous night out.
Astrid Y Gaston – Eating here is like eating on a movie set. Every corner of the sprawling restaurant, or hacienda in which it lives is instagrammable, warm and inviting. I joked with my friends that if I ever throw the party of my life, I will have it here. Located in a sprawling old house with room after room of spectacular interiors, I’d be happy to sit here all day slowly drinking cocktails, and the cocktails are sensational.
There is a degustation menu which I had, as well as an a la carte menu. There’s quirky crockery which included a topless mermaid with guinea pig served on her back. I had a very long lunch here but could have quite easily gone into dinner. Brilliant.
Osso – This restaurant is all about the meat, from steak to pork and even chicken. Given the majority of Peruvian restaurants have raw seafood as the star on the menu, this is a bit different to the norm, and much of it is uncooked.
Located out of the main drag, there are many steak options on offer, including tartare, burgers and a straight out steak. The quality of meat is exceptional, and salads to accompany are great. Meals are served eye-catchingly on wooden boards, in pans and with branded paper, nice. Expensive, but fabulous – men love it here.
La Mer – This place has a great chilled holiday vibe from the palm tree out front to the colourful dishes the food is served on, and the great cocktails. I love seafood in this part of the world, and La Mer has some of the best ceviche and Nikkei in Lima in a relaxed setting.
A lot of different varieties on offer. Hard to get in, and there are no reservations, but there is a bar where I sat, which I loved. Great for lunch.
Panchita – This is the place to eat traditional Peruvian food in a family style setting, when you’ve had enough of dressing up, blow your mind interiors, photographing you food and eating formally.
This is where you can see the locals in action and have a hearty, tasty meal.
But be warned it gets super busy at night. There’s a lot of different Peruvian offerings from potato bread, pork pancetta, ceviche, octopus – and guinea pig if you dare.
The chocolate cake is famous – I don’t like sweets but I loved this.