Lima, the capital of Peru, is the jewel in South America’s culinary crown – and shows no sign of abdicating any time soon.
Words Tony Dunnell Illustrations Tim Cheng
*Featured in Crave’s Issue 81, March 2017
| First Things First
What to do
Lima’s historic centre is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, full of cathedrals and colonial mansions. Don’t miss the impressive Plaza Major, a grand monument to the city’s colonial past, dominated by the Government Palace. Then there’s the Monastery of San Francisco, below which lie a series of creepy catacombs riddled with bones.
On the coast a few kilometres further south is the upscale Miraflores district, a hotspot for foreign travellers with plenty of restaurants and immediate access to the cliff-top Malecón, or coastal path. It borders the bohemian district of Barranco, home to artists, cafe culture and colourful street art.
For a romantic night out or fun with the kids, head to the Magic Water Circuit for illuminated fountains and colourful water shows. If you’re a history buff, don’t miss the Museo de la Nación and Museo Larco. Then take a day trip south of the city to the vast pre-Inca archaeological site of Pachacamac, or further north to the ruins of Caral, the oldest known city in the Americas.
Where to Stay
Gran Hotel Bolivar
Its glory days of hosting royalty and Hollywood stars are over, but the supposedly haunted Gran Hotel Bolivar retains a sense of regal luxury at surprisingly affordable prices
Jirón de la Unión 958, Lima
T +51 1 619 7171
Hilton Lima Miraflores
Stylish, comfortable and located in a quiet part of Miraflores, the Hilton Lima Miraflores has double rooms for less than US$200 and rooftop swimming pools with stunning city views.
Avenida La Paz 1099, Miraflores, Lima
T +51 1 200 8000
Lima’s first true arts boutique hotel combines colonial luxury with contemporary style in the Barranco district.
Sáenz Peña 204, Barranco, Lima
T +51 1 206 0800
What to Eat
Whether you eat ceviche in a world-renowned cevicheria such as Gastón Acurio’s La Mar or Rafael Osterling’s El Mercado, or at a market stall in Chorrillos, this seafood dish is the pure taste of Lima.
Aji de Gallina
This dish of chicken in a mildly spicy creamy sauce is made with ají amarillo, arguably the most important ingredient in Peruvian cuisine. Try a traditional version in any family-run restaurant, or a more creative option at Saqra in Miraflores.
The Peruvian meat-on-a-stick street-food classic, anticuchos are sold from carts all across Lima. Beef heart anticuchos are the most popular, marinated in vinegar and spices.
The coastal sandwich of choice, the butifarra is loaded with thick slices of hot jamón del país (Peruvian ham) and salsa criolla. It’s the perfect after-bar snack, sold from street carts including those in Parque Kennedy in Miraflores.
Suspiro a la Limeña
The “Sigh of Lima” is arguably the capital’s most iconic dessert. A layer or manjar blanco (Peruvian dulce de leche) is topped with a thick layer of meringue made from egg whites and port wine, sprinkled with cinnamon. For an authentic version, head to Rincón Chami in Miraflores.