I'd been eagerly anticipating getting to Peru for many reasons, one of them being the delicious food which everyone on the road told me about. And it didn't disappoint - I spent almost a month in Lima. longer than any place I stayed in on the trip, and it was partly because I couldn't tear myself away from all the amazing restaurants and places I found. Here are seven of my favourite (including one in Ica) - I'd love your tips too!
This list is in no particular order, except for this place. Located in bohemian Barranco, Canta Rana is my favourite food place in Lima. After first discovering it, and falling in love with the atmosphere and the food, I came here day after day. And, generally, ordered the same thing, or variations on the same thing - ceviche - until I discovered the lord of ceviches, apartado con chicarron, which is ceviche with capers, avocado and calamari on top. Heaven on a plate. The place is so friendly though too that I did once try some fried octopus with some sort of garlic sauce from a fellow diners plate - yes, but they did offer - and that was completely delicious too. This is simply a must go place if you're in Lima. I actually miss it now.
Tanta will forever hold a special place in my heart as the place that first introduced me to ceviche, the joy of my mouth, and pisco sours. A quick google search has revealed they're throughout Peru and, indeed, the world - they should to come to London too. Even though I couldn't personally order anything but ceviche, my parents ordered some very delicious dishes too, including Las Croquetas Triufadoras, yummy croquettes filled with chicken in rocoto cream, and Tequenos Rellenos de Lomito Saltado, Peruvian spring rolls with finely carved steak in a rich dark sauce inside. The Tanta we kept coming back to was in Larcomar, Miraflores and had beautiful views across the Pacific ocean. Views and amazing food: you should go.
If you've been travelling for a while and miss a good steak, head straight to La Cabrera in Barranco. The little brother to the Buenos Aires steak house of the same name - and oh how I loved the steak of Buenos Aires - we went there for my mum's birthday and it did not disappoint. I ordered a rib eye with blue cheese - gorgonzola! Steak! Lord how I'd missed these things - and it was massive and delicious, particularly accompanied by the array of condiments we were presented with, from mustard to marinated mushrooms and pickled cabbage and so many things in between. Amazing. As was the Argentinian malbec we drank to accompany it. Great place.
El Tio Mario
We'd past El Tio Mario on a trip to the Puente de los Suspiros (Bridge of Sighs) in Barranco, and after I non-committedly said to my Limeño friend that I might want to try anticuchos one day, he pulled me in there, saying it was the best place in Lima to have them. And so we went, me scared by the prospect of eating beef hearts for the first time, but I really had nothing to fear, they were absolutely delicious, tasting just like barbecued steak, except somehow richer and slightly more chewy, served with salsa picante and grilled potatoes. I'll definitely be having them again.
Hacienda San Juan
OK, so this isn't in Lima, but Hacienda San Juan is amazing and should be on this list. It's actually a hotel that's currently being developed, although the restaurant and huge pool and grounds are currently open. But to the food. I had the Chancho al Cilandro, which roughly translates to pig with cilantro, but it's so much more than that. So. Much. More. The pork has been marinated in a smoky sauce and then slow cooked to ensure its tender and then barbecued again to give it a layer of crispy goodness. So good, particularly with salsa picante, a huge accompanying salad, and a pisco sour to wash it down. Strangely, on trying to find a link to the place, I could only find their Facebook page, on which you can see me riding a horse. Of course. Anyway, if you're in the area, please visit it and order this. And ride a horse.
Ok, back to Lima for this little gem: La Cafeteria. It's a little hipster, with art on every wall with mismatched frames, silent movies projected on the back wall and indie tunes playing on the sound system and I loved it. And the coffee is amazing. But to the food. The first time we came we had items from their tapas menu: a sweet little plate of mini burgers, each with different toppings and corresponding condiments (oh, I do love a good condiment), bread with a nutty cheesy topping and chicken broquetas in a sweet and sticky sauce. On return, I ordered a lasagne, which was actually just a huge bowl of melted cheese with jamon in it, served with fresh bread rolls, as if they knew that was one of my favourite comfort foods. Go there.
Anyone who knows me knows that my love for coffee knows no bounds: just feel the wrath I bring down if you ever find me without my first cup of the day. Never a good idea. Thank god for this amazing little hole in the wall, helpfully called Coffee Time, which serves perfect vanilla lattes and flat whites, accompanied by delicious freshly cooked brownies and other sweet treats. The staff are warm and friendly and it's guaranteed to be the place you come back to again and again. Particularly if you have a problem with coffee like me.