In Latin America I think Lima is rivalled only by Mexico City when it comes to quality and variety of food. Peru has it all – mountains, desert, rainforest and a coastline providing incredible seafood. That huge range of ingredients are used in countless delicious ways via a combination of influences from indigenous cultures and also European and (more recently) Japanese immigrants. I’ve been to Lima several times on eating missions and below are few highlights.
Mercado Surquillo (link | map): This covered market is a food lover’s dream – stall after stall is packed with beautiful produce: vibrant chillies, creamy avocados, the most colourful potatoes you’ve ever seen in your life, guinea pigs ready for the pot, spices, mushrooms and a lot more. Then it gets really great when you see the stands selling zingy ceviche, leche de tigre, stews and hangover-curing soups. Pull up a chair and get stuck in. Don’t miss this.
Osso (link | map): People rightly obsess over the seafood in Lima, but butcher and meat pioneer Renzo Garibaldi provides a carnivore’s dream experience at Osso. It’s a bit of an effort to get there but the rewards are 100% worth it. Read all about this spectacular meat-eating experience here.
Sanguchería El Chinito (link | map): A crusty roll filled with tender slices of pork, creamy sweet potato and zingy red onions. It might not sound like much, but this could be one of the best sandwiches you’ll ever eat. It’ll be my first stop on my next visit to Lima.
Central (link): To be clear, I haven’t been. But one day… oh yes, one day. Voted Latin America’s best restaurant in 2014 and 2015, Virgilio Martínez and Pía León’s ground-breaking restaurant is the stuff of dreams. You’ll need to book well in advance (their website suggests 60 days!).