Restaurants in Lima, Peru are now in the thousands, many offering any number of traditional Peruvian dishes. Even as a first time visitor, you may be familiar with many dishes, such as cebiche, lomo saltado or anticuchos. With this list, we propose that you step off the beaten path and away from classic picks, instead treating your taste buds to dynamic combinations of local flavors. If you are looking to make the most of your time, you can check out our Lima food tours and we'll guide you in the right direction.
1. Pollo Canga
Chicken is undoubtedly king of the meats in Peru. While rotisserie style chicken is an all-time favorite, we encourage you to reach outside of the box for a more creative and exotic dish. The pollo canga at Amaz restaurant is made with free-range chicken marinated in Amazonian spices and served with a peanut and coconut foam from the same region.
2. Cebiche Nikkei
Cebiche has become synonomous with Peruvian cuisine on the international scene in the last few years. It generally brings to mind delicate, white fish in lime juice with aromas of cilantro, chili peppers and onions that float up from the dish. Spice things up with an Asian-fusion cebiche, featuring tuna, soy sauce and sesame seeds to bring your palate to life. You can try a cebiche nikkei at one of the top cebicherías in Miraflores, El Mercado.
3. Milanesa a tu gusto
The legacy of the milanesa in Peru tells of the Italian migratory wave that came to the country after Peruvian independence in 1821. It's one of those comfort foods that warms the soul. At La Verdad de la Milanesa, you can have it your way; forget about the boring, breaded, pan-fried chicken filet. At this Barranco gem, you have your pick of chicken, beef, fish or a vegetarian base, you choose your own topping and tasty side dish - we recommend the sweet potato fries.
4. Rocoto Relleno de Mariscos
Traditionally from the southern city of Arequipa, the spicy rocoto pepper is stuffed with beef, raisins, peanuts, fresh Andean cheese and spices. It's a hearty meal that will warm you up in no time. For a Limeño twist, order a rocoto stuffed with juicy calamari and other delights from the sea. You can order this spectacular take on an old favorite at La Mar.
5. BLT Charapita
Going out to eat in Peru is a social activity, like in most countries. In Lima, one place has adopted the concept of serving Peruvian dishes, tapas-style so patrons can try a wider variety of delicious, small bites. At Barrio, they don't serve your typical BLT, instead they've given this classic a jungle twist. The bite-size sandwich is served with sun-dried grilled pork (cecina), lettuce, tomato and a mayonnaise made from the Amazonian fruit cocona and spicy, fragrant, charapita peppers from the same region.