Lima is one of the great food cities in the world. Learn what to eat and drink in Lima, as well as where to go for the best food.

Lima is considered one of the best cities for food in the world. It combines the diversity and richness of the Amazon with the fresh seafood of the Pacific Ocean, as well as the influences from its Chinese, Japanese and African immigrants. It’s a vibrant and exciting culinary scene, which I was intimidated by on my first trip. There are many different dishes and restaurants to choose from, but only a few meals. This guide will help you find the best restaurants in Lima.

What to Eat in Lima

While Lima has access to fresh fruit and vegetables from the Amazon, Andes and local sources all year round, most dishes revolve around rice, potatoes and meat. Vegetables and salads are usually an afterthought.

Lima’s culinary diversity is a result of the fresh ingredients that come from the Amazon, Andes and the many immigrants who have settled in the city. Photo by Teresa Bitler

Be prepared to be amazed by the variety of flavors. Many dishes include ingredients that you’re unlikely to find anywhere else. You may see some of the 4,000 varieties of potato or 55 kinds of corn that are available in the country. You can also find unique fruits and meats, such as cuy (guinea-pig).

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Ceviche is one of the best foods in Lima

Ceviche is said to be a pre-Incan dish from Peru and Ecuador. It’s made with fresh fish caught in the morning, marinated in lime and spicy rocoto chilies. The ceviche is garnished by sweet potato, onion, and corn. It is available in restaurants that serve seafood or traditional dishes.

Ceviche originated in Peru. Photo by Teresa Bitler

If you’re looking to eat as a local do not hesitate to drink the leche de tigre – the marinade left over if it is offered separately in a shot glass. Ceviche is best ordered before lunch, as it’s freshest early in the day. You can still eat some ceviche for dinner if you want to. It was delicious, according to me.

Papa a la Huancaina: One of the best foods in Lima

Papa a la Huancaina is a dish that combines boiled Peruvian potato slices with a cheese sauce known as huancaina, and a boiled half-egg. This sauce is a favorite of the Peruvian people and can be found in many other dishes. It’s mostly associated with this dish.

Huancaina is used to make a wide variety of dishes. Photo by Teresa Bitler

As an appetizer, restaurants serve papa a La Huancaina. It’s available in restaurants that serve traditional Peruvian cuisine, but it is also sold by street sellers.

Pollo a la Brasa, Another Popular Food in Lima

Lima families that don’t indulge in chifa, on Sunday enjoy pollo a la brasa, a soy-and-spice-marinated whole roast chicken. The chicken is traditionally served with French fries and salad, as well as aji verde sauce. It’s not only tasty, it is also budget-friendly. It’s also distinctly Peruvian.

Peruvian Pollo a la Brasa. Photo by EzumeImages, via iStock. Getty Images

This dish was created in the 1940s by a Swiss immigrant who decided to roast his chickens for extra money. He opened a restaurant where he sold roast chicken at a low cost. Others soon opened restaurants in Lima, following his example. You’ll now find many restaurants in Lima that serve Pollo a la Brasa.

Pan con Chicharron

The pan con chicharron is another cheap late-night food you can find anywhere, but especially in Lima. The sandwich is a tasty combination of a fried pork rib, sweet potato, onions, aji peppers, cilantro, and a spicy salsa. If you can, I suggest getting this sandwich with a side of French fries.

Pan con chicharron is a popular late-night snack. Photo by Teresa Bitler

Residents of Lima also enjoy pan con chicharron as a breakfast. You can order pan con chicharron in sandwich shops and markets all over the city, whether you want it in the morning or late at night.

Lomo Saltado serves some of the best food in Lima

Lomo Saltado, a stir-fry of tenderloins, sirloins, onions and red peppers marinated in soy sauce, was inspired by Chinese immigrants to Peru during the 19th century. Both versions that I tried came with a fried yolk and French fries or potatoes on the side. It can be served with rice, just like Chinese food is in the US.

Lomo Saltado, a beef stir-fry often served with potatoes in Peruvian cuisine, is a Peruvian favourite. Photo by Teresa Bitler

Lomo salado, one of the most popular chifa forms, is a form of meat. Anyone born in Lima will tell you that chifa is a uniquely Peruvian cuisine. Many chifa recipes look like the food you would find in an old-school Chinese Restaurant in San Francisco. Next section will explain more.


Chifa, a fusion of traditional Chinese cuisine and local ingredients is favored by many Peruvians as their Sunday dinner. In restaurants that specialize in chifa, families share huge plates of dumplings and noodles. Stir-fries are also popular. They’ll also make their favorite dishes to share at home.

Chifa was inspired by Chinese dishes that immigrants brought to America. Photo by Teresa Bitler

You’ll find chifa in every restaurant in Lima. There are a variety of restaurants, from high-end ones with sleek interiors to mom-and-pop shops without frills. The dishes are largely the same. You won’t find kung-pao chicken on a chifa, but the other dishes will be familiar. Lo mein, fried risotto, and other safe choices from 1970s Chinese restaurants are what you should be thinking of.

Nikkei serves some of the best Peruvian-Chinese food in Lima

Nikkei is a fusion of Japanese techniques and Peruvian ingredients, just as chifa combines Peruvian and Chinese elements. These ingredients are mainly from the Amazonian and Andean regions. The presentation and flavor combinations are unique. In fact, many Lima restaurants are ranked among the top restaurants in the entire world. Central is the second best restaurant in the world according to The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Maido comes in at No. 11.

There are many different types of Japanese cuisine. Photo courtesy GonzaloMPMC by iStock. Getty Images

Nikkei Restaurants offer a variety of dishes, but you can expect to see colorful sushi featuring potatoes, peppers and corn. The chefs also add a Peruvian twist to Maki rolls, tiradito (thin strips of fish), or Japanese ingredients to Lima’s traditional favorites. You will need to book well in advance for Nikkei Restaurants, as they are expensive.


Cuy is a popular food in Peruvian cuisine. In Lima, you’ll find guinea-pigs in some restaurants but it’s not common. You’ll find it more readily outside the city if you’re interested in trying it.

What to drink in Lima

Lima is not just about food. Lima is also known for its drinks. Try these drinks when you visit.

Pisco Sour

Three ounces pisco is the base of Peru’s national drink. Pisco is a white brandy that comes from muscat grapes. Add one ounce each of lime juice, simple syrup and egg white. Shake, then pour into a glass and add three drops of aromatic Bitters. It’s frothy, sour and oh so tasty. I loved pisco sours, especially when paired with ceviche.

The national drink of Peru is the pisco sour. Photo by Teresa Bitler

Try the maracuya, which substitutes passion fruit juice for some of the lime.

Inca Kola

This bright neon yellow drink was created in 1935 by British-born Joseph Lindley and is Peru’s favourite cola. It’s technically lemon verbena – a mixture of 13 flavors derived from plants. Most Americans, including myself, say it tastes like bubblegum. Some also call it cream soda. The taste is overly sweet. I wouldn’t buy it again, but you can try it.

Inca Kola is the most popular soft drink in the United States. Many people think it tastes like bubblegum. Photo by Teresa Bitler

Tip : My host said that ordering a Coke along with chifa was a faux-pas. Peruvians order Inca Kola at chifa restaurants. You do it.

What to eat in Lima

Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants has nine restaurants in Lima. However, you do not have to dine at these restaurants to enjoy a great meal. These restaurants are all worth visiting.


The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list has ranked Central as the second best restaurant in the world. The list has Central at No. 2. It is ranked No. It is ranked No. The tasting menu at this contemporary Peruvian eatery takes you on a journey through the farmlands, forests, lakes and coasts of Peru, one course per person. Prepare to spend at least $175 for a 12-course meal ($250 with wine pairings). Make your reservations at least six months in advance.

Ortega & Huaman

This restaurant is located inside the Iberostar Miraflores and offers traditional Peruvian cuisine like lomo salado and ceviche. But you’ll also find grilled octopus and other Mediterranean-influenced dishes on the menu. The hotel’s 27 Tapas rooftop bar serves many of the casual dishes from the restaurant, including its ceviche. The bar is a must-visit, especially during sunset. Even if you just want to have a drink or two before dinner, I recommend it.

These mashed potatoes and native peppers are among the Peruvian ingredients that Ortega & Huaman offers. Photo by Teresa Bitler

Cala Restaurante

Cala restaurante is located in the Barranco neighbourhood and offers fresh seafood, beef, pasta and risotto. Start with the seafood tower or ceviche. Try the salmon. The excellent-but-reasonably-priced food is reason enough to visit Cala, and so are the sunsets. Reservations are recommended to guarantee a patio table or a window.

Cala Restaurante is known for its fresh seafood. Photo by Teresa Bitler


Maido restaurant ranks No. It is not easier to book a table at Central than it is for The World’s 50 best restaurants. Chef Mitsuharu ‘Micha’ Tsumura is in charge of this Nikkei restaurant, which combines Japanese techniques with Peruvian ingredients. You can choose between the Nikkei Experience tasting menu ($141) and Veggie Experience tasting menu ($88). The Nikkei experience can be upgraded to include wine for $100. Make your reservations as early as possible to guarantee a seat.

Chifa Hou Wa

Since more than 25 year, families and friends have shared platters of rice, noodles and stir-fries at Chifa Wa. Accept that there will be leftovers, and enjoy yourself. You may choose to have lunch at Chifa Hou Wa and then visit Huaca Pucllana in the morning.

Chifa Hou Wa is a chifa who has been serving in Lima, Peru since 1995. Photo by Teresa Bitler

La Lucha Sangucheria Criolla

When I saw La Lucha Sangucheria Criolla for the first time in Miraflores I thought it looked like a diner from the 50s. The sandwich shop in Lima is the best place to try the pan con chicharron. You’re already at risk of clogged arteries if you order the fried pork sandwich. Order fries to make it even more dangerous. This restaurant also offers hamburgers and chicken and ham sandwich.

La Lucha Sangucheria Criolla serves excellent pan con chicharron. Photo by Teresa Bitler

Enjoy these Peruvian meals in Lima: Lomo salado, Peruvian Ceviche with seafood and fish, and Pollo a la Brasa. Photo by thesomegirl, via iStock. Getty Images

Plan your trip to Lima for dining

These suggestions will help you get started. You can’t visit all the best restaurants or try out everything Lima has to offer, but they’re a good place to start. Wander With Wonder can be a great resource if you’re looking for things to do in South America, or restaurants anywhere you travel. What is your favorite Lima find? Let me know what you think in the comments so I can give it a try on my next trip.