Let me just start off by saying that when I arrived to Lima, I had no idea that the city is in fact internationally known for its food. There are chefs from all over the world who have opened restaurants in Lima, introducing their cuisine and adding to it a twist of Peruvian fusion.
Needless to say, I didn’t have a problem finding amazing dining options. On the contrary, I actually had an issue narrowing down the places I wanted to try. Lima’s cuisine will leave any traveler in taste bud bliss with traditional Peruvian dishes and decadent street food selections. You’ll find my favorites below in this food-lover’s guide below.
Where To Eat In Lima On A Budget
If you’re a budget traveler, you’ll have no problem finding local Peruvian joints all over the city, but you may find that the chicken and rice can get a little tiring.
I searched for more authentically prepared local food – places that the “health conscious” locals go to, along with a few comfort food options and narrowed down a handful of cheap- eats covering a variety of cuisines. The average price range in these restaurants is $5 – $7 per dish.
Agni Café – Miraflores
The first time I walked by this café, I was drawn to it because it looked like a kitschy little coffee shop that would be in Southern California – most likely selling somewhat overpriced lattes and pastries, but I was into it.
Their sign advertises that they’re an “Ayurvedic Café” – so I immediately thought back to the high prices that a place like that in L.A would charge. My assumption was not at all true.
They base their menu options off of your Ayurvedic “dosha” – heavier comfort food, or lighter fare based on your state of health and energy.
This place was hoppin’ on a Tuesday afternoon at 1 pm in the off season; bustling with local business men and women. Agni offers a $5 lunch special that has three courses… with options!
I came for this special at least four times in my two weeks in Lima. They offer soup or salad as a starter, a meat or vegetarian dish with steamed vegetables, beans, rice, fruit juice, and a sweet something at the end.
It was truly a steal. The ladies who work here were busting their butts every time I came, turning tables like no one’s business. The café is also open for breakfast serving a variety of breakfast dishes, fresh smoothies, pastries, coffee, etc.
Las Delicias – Miraflores
I stumbled across this restaurant as I was in search of a well-reviewed smoothie bar. My stomach had been a little funny coming from Ecuador after all the (poorly washed) fruit I had eaten, so I was trying to play it a little safer in this country.
This café had every fruit imaginable – an entire menu with fruits and vegetables to choose from to make your own smoothie/juice, or choose from their suggested list of combinations.
A couple of days before, I had gone on a “Food Tour” around Miraflores. Our group stopped off at a giant outdoor market where I tried a fruit I had never seen before, or even knew existed; the cherimoya.
So, naturally I made this the primary ingredient in my custom made juice, being that it was seriously one of the most amazing fruits I had ever eaten. It tasted like a marshmallow crossed with a peach. I threw in some pineapple, passion fruit, and ginger, and I kid you not – it was the best juice I’ve ever had.
Their menu also has an entire side of food ranging from breakfast – dinner. I had a turkey sandwich with avocado, and my bill was $6. If you’re looking for a light, healthy breakfast or lunch, this is the place!
Tarboush – Miraflores
This Mediterranean gem is the definition of a hole in the wall. With its location being in the prime tourist area of Kennedy Park in Miraflores – its prices for the quality of food have remained unbeatably cheap.
Tarboush offers an extensive menu of Arabic food – from Greek salads to shawarma to falafel… you name it. I came here three times, (yes, it was that good) and every time had two leftover meals for the following days after my meal.
As a few vegetarian options, there is a falafel and tabouleh salad, vegetable pakoras, vegetable kebabs, and a number of other salads. If you’re going for the meat – lamb, chicken, and some other middle-eastern delicacy in the form of shawarma or kebabs.
One dish cost approximately $7. I got an “appetizer size” falafel and tabouleh salad, and a lamb shawarma dish and my bill was $14.
Burrito Bar – Barranco
This restaurant doesn’t need a lot of explaining. If you’re in search of an “American” style burrito, quesadilla, tacos and the like – this is the place to go.
I hate to say that I was in search of American food whilst in Peru, but sometimes you just get a hankering for a really big burrito with all the works. (I guess I’ve been in Southern California for too long, where the “California Burrito” is a staple food.)
You can choose to make your selection into a burrito, salad, or bowl. Included is your choice of meat or vegetables, and all the fillings – beans, rice, cheese, lettuce, guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream, corn; i.e. the works.
Burrito Bar may not have the best ambiance, but the food surely won’t disappoint. A burrito comparable in size to your foot costs around $7. Tacos are approximately $5.
Mid-Range — Moderately Priced Dining Options
I say mid-range because none of these places will break the bank. I dined at these restaurants and I still consider myself a “budget traveler.” I’ve worked it out to having the option of a bit of a splurge once a week or so.
There are many ways to eat and travel cheaply – not ordering drinks with your meals, splitting dishes, etc. The average price range in these restaurants is about $10- $15 per dish.
aMaz – Miraflores
I found this place after scouring TripAdvisor for a highly- rated Peruvian restaurant. Unlike many other restaurants in the area, the menu was entirely in Spanish. I have a pretty good concept of the Spanish language, but I was surprised to find that I was not familiar with the Peruvian terms for their local dishes. After looking around at what a few people around me had ordered – I ordered a few “half orders” of a variety of different dishes.
My appetizer was something that I had tried before, but I figured at such a nice place it would probably taste a little more gourmet than from a street cart – empanadas. However, these empanadas were a little less of a guilty pleasure coming from here – maybe there was less grease, and more vegetables. Yeah, that’s it….
The first dish that came out was a plantain and coconut salad with mint and cilantro. It sounds strange – but it was a tropical, refreshing, bright burst of tastes in every bite; simply delicious.
My second dish was Lomo Saltado. If you travel to Peru, you are absolutely guaranteed to see this offered on most menus. It’s essentially a stir fry of chile, red peppers, chives, onion, and beef sirloin in a light soy sauce. I’m not sure what their special touch is, but it was the best stir fry I’ve ever had!
Café Lima – San Isidro
I came here on my first morning in Lima in hopes to find a better cup of coffee than what I’d had for the previous month in Ecuador. I’m not really a coffee snob, but anything more than pouring instant coffee into a cup of hot water excites me.
I could smell the croissants from the front steps. This place is a giant bakery – baking breads, pastries, and cakes right in the front of the restaurant. I spotted a giant espresso machine in the side station, and I immediately felt right at home.
I camped out here for a few hours. I had a Parisian style ham and cheese croissant that was one of the better I’ve had in a long time. They have breakfast, lunch, and dinner here with a menu of omelettes, sandwiches, waffles, salads, sandwiches, soups, entrees, etc.
The only thing about coffee in South America is that if it’s good, it’s not coffee, it’s a Café Americano- meaning it’s espresso, and you don’t get free refills. I learned that one the hard way about $12 later.
La Gastronoma – Miraflores
La Gastronoma; the Mecca of the charcuterie board. There are a few places similar to La Gastronoma in Lima, but after walking past a few and peaking at the menus, I was very happy with the decision to splurge here.
You can pick from a selection of meats and cheeses, but what’s brought out to your table will blow your mind. The arrangement was so creatively and thoughtfully put together – vegetables, hummus, four different kinds of cheese, meats, and a basket of whole grain bread.
There is a huge selection of wine here to go along with your charcuterie. I chose an Argentinian Malbec which was delightful. I had been skeptical to order wine in most restaurants because it’s at least $6/glass, and I didn’t feel like risking the possibility of it being too sweet or turned at that price. At La Gastronoma I could tell that the owners knew their wine… and their cheese.
Ayahuasca – Barranco
This place is a bit of a touristy spot, but it’s super cool! There’s usually a reason that places like this are popular. The restaurant is in an old converted house, and looks sort of like a haunted mansion from the street. There were security guards at the front gate, which I was not expecting.
Inside there are multiple rooms to choose from to sit down in. Mostly big, comfy chairs, low couches, and dark corners. Let’s be honest, it’s really more of a bar than a restaurant – but they do serve tapas, bar food, and a few Peruvian dishes.
As most people do, we came for the cocktails; a Pisco Sour to be specific. I had heard that Ayahuasca was a must-go-to for their Pisco Sours, and it’s probably because they have an entire menu dedicated to the drink. Different ingredients and spins on the traditional drink which contains Pisco liquor (similar to Brandy), bitters, sugar, lime juice, and egg white.
La Mar Cebicheria – Miraflores
I was sort of expecting a tiny hole in the wall ceviche stand, and was mind boggled to walk into the exact opposite situation. A sprawling, packed restaurant with formally dressed waiters, two kitchens, and a full bar.
Upon looking at the menu, I realized that this was slightly more out of my price range than I wanted to spend at lunch, but I was already seated – so I figured I might as well enjoy it. I ordered an appetizer of sea urchin tostadas, and had a very large bowl of traditional Peruvian ceviche (fresh white fish marinated in lime juice, sweet potato, corn, cilantro, onions.)
The meal cost two of us approximately $30 for these two dishes along with a couple of fresh passion fruit juices.
As I said, there is no shortage of restaurants and bars in Lima. Walk around, explore, and you’ll be sure to find exactly what you’re looking for.
For more tips on Lima and what to do in this fantastic coastal metropolis, check out my guide here
The Traveling Yogi