The 16 Best Restaurants in Lima

Merito

Courtesy of Merito

Peru shares a beautiful endemic pantry, each region boasting singular recipes and traditional techniques that have been passed down by generations. And as the capital city of the Andean nation, Lima acts as the melting pot of the various gastronomical influences, offering a taste of the highlands, jungle and, of course, coast. Add to the diverse terrains and native cultures a rich history of immigrants from around the world who continue to share their unique flavors.

Some of the best restaurants in Lima have had to close doors due to the recent pandemic, however there is no shortage of exceptional experiences that remain and promising new talents that have arisen from the challenging times. Peruvian cuisine is complex, so try as many of the following restaurants on your next trip to Lima to get a well-rounded foodie experience.

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Central

Central, Lima, Peru

Courtesy of Central

Address
Av. Pedro de Osma 301, Barranco 15063, Peru
Phone +51 1 2428515

Led by skateboarder-turned-chef (and Netflix star) Virgilio Martinez, Central has been a forerunner in bringing awareness to the biodiversity of Peru for over a decade. Highlighting ingredients and culinary techniques from all regions of Peru—coast, jungle and highlands—Martinez serves contemporary Peruvian cuisine via a high-end tasting menu that explores every altitude in the country. Beyond the food is artisan dishware, the Barranco locale’s architecture and garden, and overall concept of investigation, making dining at Central a well-rounded gastronomic experience that’s worth putting a dent in your wallet for.

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Maido

Maido Restaurant, Lima, Peru

Courtesy of Maido Cocina Nikkei

Address
C. San Martin No. 399, Miraflores 15074, Peru
Phone +51 1 3135100

Consecutively voted Latin America’s Best Restaurant from 2017 to 2019, Maido is an elegant introduction to nikkei, the fusion of Peruvian and Japanese food and culture. Located in the heart of Miraflores, Lima-born chef Mitsuharu “Micha” Tsumura invites curious eaters into his world by way of a tasting menu, Nikkei Experience (plantbased eaters can opt for the Veggie Experience). The tasting menu typically lasts 3 hours and focuses on seafood, serving up unforgettable dishes, such as the succulent cod marinated in miso. A la carte options are also available, including sushi, for those short on time.

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Rafael

Rafael

Courtesy of Rafael

Address
C. San Martin 300, Miraflores 15074, Peru
Phone +51 1 2424149

Based on the charming environment alone, Rafael is one of the top restaurants to be when visiting Lima. The flagship restaurant of Chef Rafael Osterling is housed in an Art Deco townhouse just a few blocks away from Maido. Though much detail is given to the aesthetic of the restaurant—contemporary Latin American art pieces cling to the walls as impeccably cozy lighting illuminates the space and an eclectic playlist keeps a steady yet never intrusive beat—the plates served are just as thoughtful and interesting. Octopus Salad, Corn Ravioli with Shrimp, and Steak Angus al Curry are just a preview of the world flavors and techniques that have been interpreted by a Peruvian perspective.  

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Mérito

Merito

Courtesy of Merito

Address
Jr, 28 De Julio 206, Barranco 15063, Peru
Phone +51 1 2771628

Well before Mérito opened in 2018, locals were abuzz with high expectations for the project of two young Venezuelan chefs, Juan Luis Martínez (previously of Central restaurant) and José Luis Saume. Just as its name signifies, Mérito was “worthy” of the wait. An artful blend of Peruvian and Venezuelan gastronomy, guests are in for a unique sensorial experience with creative dishes like a classic arepa served with a butter that’s been enhanced with chicha de jora (Peru’s traditional fermented corn drink) and a variety of potatoes thinly sliced and fantastically reshaped. This small Barranco gem is vegetarian-friendly.

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Isolina Taberna Peruana

Isolina Taberna Peruana

Courtesy of Isolina Taberna Peruana

Address
Av. San Martin 101, Barranco 15063, Peru
Phone +51 1 2475075

Ask any Peruvian chef for his or her basis of inspiration for becoming a chef and the majority will give credit to their mother. So goes the story of Chef José del Castillo, who pays homage to his mother (Chef Isolina Vargas) in the popular Isolina Taberna Peruana. Seeking to rescue the forgotten flavors of old cookbooks, exotic (and slightly startling) dishes such as Patitas de Cerdo (pigs feet) and Tortilla de Sesos de Antaño (baby beef brain omelet) show how being resourceful results in creativity—and exquisite flavors. Don’t forget to admire the restaurant itself, a casona built in 1906 that had been restored and sits on the corner of one of the main streets in the hip Barranco district. 

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Kjolle

Kjolle

Courtesy of Kjolle

Address
Av. Pedro de Osma 301, Barranco 15063, Peru
Phone +51 1 2428575

Once the right-hand woman to Peru’s star chef Virgilio Martinez at his flagship Central restaurant, Pia León branched out in 2017 to start her own contemporary Peruvian cuisine restaurant, Kjolle, to the pleasant surprise of gastronomes around the world. Fifteen months after opening Kjolle (pronounced koi-yay), in the same building as Central no less, León was named the 2018 Latin America’s Best Female Chef. Mixing colorful, biodiverse ingredients from all regions of Peru—from soil-dwelling tubers to tree-hanging cacao—Kjolle has a much looser concept than that of Central but the root of their work is the same: to showcase rare and often forgotten ingredients of Peru that have high value.

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Canta Ranita

Canta Ranita

Courtesy of Canta Ranita

Address
Genova 101, Barranco 15063, Peru
Phone +51 923 841 016

This is the mini version of the legendary, family-owned Barranco cevicheria (ceviche restaurant), Canta Rana. While the former is often lauded for its numerous family photos and soccer-obsessed decor, Canta Ranita takes the quirky charm to another level by being tucked-away in the nearby district market, somewhere between the butcher stand and fruit vendors. While the prices are quite steep for an around-the-way joint and the service nothing exceptional, plates such as Guardia Imperial (impeccably fresh fish ceviche topped with grilled octopus and slices of avocado) are hard to beat on a hot summer’s day. 

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Matria

Matria

Courtesy of Matria

Address
Av. Gral. Mendiburu 823, Miraflores 15074, Peru
Phone +51 1 4222784

Located in a former industrial zone of Miraflores, Matria has an ambiance of sophisticated cool that makes guests want to extend their stay well beyond the end of the meal. By day, natural light enters the small terrace area, while night time is illuminated by warm lighting bouncing against open brick walls. Once you’ve found your table, a playful menu designed by Chef Arlette Eulart can take you and yours around the globe. Subtle Asian flavors seep into fish stews and seafood rice dishes, while Peruvian classics are given a modern twist. The servings are not massive, but lingering cravings can be satiated with a decadent cacao cake or a five-layered alfajor. 

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La Picanteria

La Picanteria

Courtesy of La Picanteria

Address
Francisco Moreno 388, Surquillo 15047, Peru
Phone +51 953 489 892

Much like typical picanterias—humble lunchtime restaurants found throughout Peru serving regional and generational recipes—Lima’s La Picanteria has guests of various parties share picnic-style tables, creating a sense of community out of food. Look at the chalkboard to see the day’s fresh fish options and decide the quantity to order for your group and how you want it prepared (i.e. fried, steamed, turned into a ceviche). Pair your order with an incredibly large pisco sour and you will likely find yourself in deep foodie conversations with your neighboring tablemate. Groups should arrive early to the Surquillo restaurant to not only snag a table but to also have their first choice of fish as quantity is limited. 

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Al Toke Pez

Al Toke Pez

Courtesy of Al Toke Pez

Address
Av. Angamos 886, Surquillo 15047, Peru
Phone +51 961 249 702

Located on the Pacific Coast, Lima is unsurprisingly full of seafood joints. What makes Al Toke Pez unlike all of the aforementioned establishments however is its size, price point and service. Located on a busy avenue, in the lesser explored Surquillo district, the unpretentious stand of Tomás “Toshi” Matsufuji has just a few seats at the bar overlooking his work station. Even before it was featured on the Netflix series Street Food: Latin America, Al Toque Pez often had a line outside, many waiting for their takeaway orders and others anxious to sit down to a ceviche or combinado (portions of ceviche, fried fish and seafood rice) for less than US$8. No matter his newfound fame, Toshi can be found behind the counter every day, personally preparing your order.

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Osso El Restaurante

Osso

Courtesy of Osso

Address
Av. Santo Toribio, San Isidro 15073, Peru
Phone +51 1 4697438

First-rate T-bone steak, unexpected pulled pork tacos, rich wedge salad, and a delightful Eton Mess with caramelized bacon to finish off: if eating meat is bad, Osso is where carnivores can spend a decadent detention. The steakhouse stands out for its use of sustainable, all-natural products, values which have made the founder, Chef Renzo Garibaldi, the nation’s benchmark for meat cuisine in Peru. The cozy ambiance and large bench seats of the San Isidro restaurant are reminiscent of an elegant U.S. steakhouse—perhaps influenced by Garibaldi’s three years of studying under butchers in San Francisco.

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Raw Café

Raw Cafe

Courtesy of Raw Cafe

Address
C. Independencia 596, Miraflores 15074, Peru
Phone +51 1 6942421

On the other end of the diet spectrum is Raw Café, a pioneering vegan establishment in Lima. Traditionally, Peruvian cuisine is meat-heavy, but Raw Café has been nourishing eco-conscious souls with plant-based versions of Peruvian classics—such as risotto with zapallo loche (a distinctive squash of Peru), mushroom ceviche, and portobello causa (mashed yellow potatoes layered and topped with a creamy sauce). Most of the menu however includes smoothies, wraps, bowls, and desserts that are packed with a rainbow of powerful superfoods from Peru.

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Antigua Taberna Queirolo

Antigua Taberna Queirolo

Courtesy of Antigua Taberna Queirolo

Address
Av. San Martin 1090, Pueblo Libre 15084, Peru
Phone +51 1 4600441

As alluring as its name is, Pueblo Libre (Free Town or Free People) is outside of the typical tourist route in Lima; as a result, the district is full of old-school charm. Just 20 minutes walking from Museo Larco, one of the nation’s top museums, is Antigua Taberna Queirolo, a traditional watering hole and restaurant that’s been operating since the turn of the 20th Century. With an obligatory pisco in hand, sit down to a typical criollo snack (fried pork and sweet potato sandwich) or a one of the many ruletas (tasting platters of traditional fare, ideal for sharing) and be entranced by the magic of this historical place.

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Chifa Titi

Chifa Titi

Courtesy of Chifa Titi

Address
Avenida Javier Prado Este, 1212 San Isidro, Cercado de Lima 15036, Peru
Phone +51 1 2241050

A significant number of Chinese immigrants arrived to Peru in the mid 19th Century and again in the later half of the 20th Century; in effect, the Andean nation is home to the largest ethnically Chinese population in Latin America. With time, chifaa fusion of Chinese and Peruvian cuisine—was born, and today chifas of all price ranges dot the streets of Lima. For consistently high-quality food and service, Chifa Titi in San Isidro is a must for those curious to try chaufa (fried rice with Peruvian flair) or a roast duck resting atop fried yucca root with, what else, a pisco sour.

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Nanka

Nanka

Courtesy of Nanka

Address
C. Manuel Bañón 260, San Isidro 15073, Peru
Phone +51 1 4678417

This is where classic Peruvian dishes get an organic and environmentally conscious upgrade. Located in the suburban, hillside district of La Molina, Nanka is hosted by a beautiful building that seems to house more plants than the average park in Lima (there is even an herb wall garden). Locally sourced ingredients and top-notch service make this a memorable outing for all diet types (including vegan, gluten- and nut-free). Fresh paiche (a large fish from the Amazon), osso bucco, artichoke ravioli and all-natural cocktails are just some of the standouts. 

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Astrid & Gastón

Astrid Gaston

Courtesy of Astrid & Gaston

Address
Av. Paz Soldan 290, San Isidro 15073, Peru
Phone +51 1 4422777

No list of the best Lima restaurants is complete without mentioning at least one restaurant from Peru’s original gastronomic ambassador, Gastón Acurio. And what better than to begin with the chef’s flagship restaurant that he continues to run with his wife and pastry chef, Astrid Gutsche. Much has changed since Astrid & Gastón first opened its doors in 1994, most obviously the location. The fairytale setting of a mid-18th century mansion and a vibrant patio and bar area make this tasting menu experience feel more like a true celebration than other high-end restaurants in Lima—not to mention the prices certainly make it a once-in-a-lifetime visit for most travelers. 

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The 16 Best Restaurants in Lima