our city ‘cheat sheets’ are versions of the notes i send to friends when they are going to a city i know and love. x laura aviva
A DAY OF PERFECT EATING
At EL PAN DE LA CHOLA, down your coffee along with baked goods made from local grains like quinoa and kiwicha.
Lunch is the big meal in Lima – and many of the best spots are only open during the day (especially places serving fish – an old school carry over from when fish that comes directly from local boats was considered good only during first half of the day).
LA PICANTERIA (near the Surquillo Market) Settle in at one of the communal, checkered tablecloth-covered tables alongside the locals, who sit for hours over a weekday lunch. Ask for ‘La Experiencia La Picanteria’ – they’ll bring you a generous and varied succession of small plates food and unusual boozy drinks. You most likely won’t recognize many of the ingredients, but it’s worth just trusting the kitchen here.
EL MERCADO (in Miraflores) This pretty outdoor restaurant has a bit of a beachy vibe. It’s a great place to perch and observe the stylish limeños (Lima locals). Ceviches. Causas. And insanely delicious grilled octopus.
SONIA This classic cevicheria is a bit of an institution. Open since the 1980s, it’s casual, welcoming and all-ceviche-all-the-time.
ANTIGUA TABERNA QUERIOLO Open since the 1800s, this is a traditional bodega. Go for a taste of old-school Lima, and settle in for an afternoon pisco sour and a snack next to the old men at the bar doing same.
STREET EATS I’m a huge sucker for street food, and Lima is remarkable in this realm. Anywhere with a line is probably worth a try, especially if a) you’re adventurous and b) they’re serving anticuchos.
Lima is a great city for a dinner splurge. Two standouts:
CENTRAL Definitely high concept, definitely special. The set menu includes a long succession of beautiful dishes, each inspired by Peru’s different altitudes. If you can’t get a reservation, try sitting at the bar. The atmosphere is not the same, and the bar menu is limited, but it’s an easier, more accessible way to get a taste of Virgilio Martínez’s food. (I’ve noticed that limeños have given Virgilio the nickname ‘El Gordo’, a playful reference to him being anything but that).
MAIDO This is the spot for simply stellar nikkei — a mix of Peruvian ingredients prepared with Japanese techniques.
MATE Founded by Mario Testino to pay homage to the artists of his native country, this museum also features some of the photographer’s own works.
LIMAC Lima’s slightly quirky contemporary art museum.
MUSEO AMANO Go for the insane collection of Pre-Colombian textiles. There’s a treasure trove of other objects, but it’s the textiles that are mind-blowing.
DÉDALO Lima’s version of a concept store, they carry a range of Peruvian goods — including crafts, fashion and more — all housed in a colonial mansion that reveals itself room by room.
ARTESANÍAS LAS PALLAS A showroom of Peruvian crafts from Mari Solari, an American expat who has lived in Peru for decades (the shop sits within her home).
JALLPA NINA The spot for beautiful contemporary ceramics.
PARAGLIDE ALONG THE MIRAFLORES COAST You’ll get an awe-inspiring 360-degree view of the city and the dramatic coastline (especially if the fog clears and you luck into a clear day).
STROLL THROUGH PERU PA’TI Part concept store, part eatery, this market includes a bunch of little stalls with places to snack. Shop here for Peru’s best gourmet foods – and incredible coffee from HARRYSON NEIRA.
HOTEL B Housed in a belle époque-style building in the Barranco area, it’s lovely and ideally located.