Swiss efficiency combines with Peruvian delicacies in this quiet restaurant founded in the 1920s by a Swiss baker. It prides itself on well-prepared meals and impeccable service. There is no dress code, but this is the breakfast option of Peru’s power brokers and upper crust, so do not be surprised to see older women in white gloves seated next to a younger crowd planning the next big acquisition and merger.
BTW: Sit on the patio and people-watch.
Avenida Jose Larco 111, Miraflores, Lima, Peru
Peruvians looking for a good, quick breakfast choose one of San Antonio’s six locations. It has a huge number of fresh juices, including many made from Peruvian fruits. Breads and pastries are baked on-site. The most convenient of the locations is in Miraflores, close to the jumping-off point for other sites in the city.
BTW: A winning combination is a basket of fresh-baked rolls and a fruit salad with homemade granola, fresh yogurt and local honey.
Avenida Vasco Núñez de Balboa 770, Miraflores, Lima, Peru
La Mar is a great place to eat Peruvian seafood, including the ever-popular ceviche. This restaurant, started by famed Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio, maintains a fading tradition of seafood restaurants in this country, opening at noon and closing at 5 p.m. to ensure that the fish used is fresh. Try leche de tigre, which translates to tiger’s milk, but is really the base of lime juice and hot peppers used to make ceviche. Enjoy the relaxed environment and attentive staff members, who speak English.
BTW: La Mar does not take reservations, so be there early. If it’s packed, ask to eat at the bar.
Avenida Mariscal La Mar 770, Miraflores, Lima, Peru
Peru’s five-star restaurants all have versions of the hearty traditional Peruvian food served here, albeit in minuscule portions and transformed, sometimes even as foam. Here, the portions are big and the price is good. The customers are mainly Peruvian, which is a good sign. The decor is diner-ish and the service ho-hum, but don’t let that distract you from the food.
BTW: Try the chicken and rice, a Peruvian staple and one of the best in the city.
Calle Esperanza 154, Miraflores, Lima, Peru
(From Fiesta Gourmet)
A sampling of northern Peruvian food that includes duck, goat and fish, sourced from the Lambayeque state and prepared in an open kitchen so diners can watch. It has a huge wine selection and a stocked bar offering pisco-inspired drinks. It is fine dining, but not stuffy, and with unusually large portions. Be prepared to eat.
BTW: Begin with warm ceviche that is cooked lightly in corn husks over an open fire, giving it a smoky, one-of-a-kind taste. Drink a pisco sour flavored with goldenberry.
Avenida Reducto 1278, Miraflores, Lima, Peru
This Peruvian sandwich chain has many locations, including its flagship, on the busy Ovalo Gutierrez, and three other spots also in Miraflores. Its wide array of choices include international and local samplings, including fries made with a great Peruvian potato variety: the pink-hued huayro. It also has a long list of juices and shakes. The hours are late — weekdays until 1 a.m. and weekends until 3 a.m.
BTW: Try a fried-pork-and-sweet-potato sandwich and wash it down with a smoothie made with lucuma, a Peruvian fruit.
Avenida Santa Cruz 847, Miraflores, Lima, Peru
Live performances, good conversation and drinks in an old mansion is what you’ll get here. Opened in 1991, La Noche, a venue for bands and other performers from Peru and the region, is relaxed, with open spaces, smaller rooms to sit and talk, and an enchanting patio with centuries-old trees. It opens early, but it’ll remain empty until about 10 p.m. Acts normally go onstage at 11.
BTW: Snag a seat on the second-floor balcony. This lets you hear the music and be outdoors (well, partially).
Avenida Sánchez Carrión 199, Barranco, Lima, Peru
Mounds of cow hearts might sound straight out of a horror film, but they’re spectacular when cut into thin strips, cooked the right way over an open flame, and served with potatoes and hot sauce. This small restaurant began as a street cart run by Grimanesa Vargas. Now, it’s packed from its opening at 5 p.m. through the rest of the night, serving up cow-heart kebabs. Vargas’s special seasoning is so popular that it inspired anticucho-flavored potato chips.
BTW: For the real experience, pair a kebab of cow heart with Peru’s iconic beverage, the sweet and bright yellow Inca Kola.
Calle Ignacio Merino 466, Miraflores