Lima, Peru restaurant recs needed

We have one night in Lima next month, before returning home after Cusco and Machu Picchu. The threads I could find here were all several years old and I’m hoping for some more recent recommendations. We currently have a reservation at Mayta, but that’s mainly because a time was available the night we’re there. Central and Maido were booked, and recent reviews of Astrid y Gaston have been pretty bad. Any other places we should consider?

Think Peru is currently the culinary capital of the world. There were a bunch on this list:

I’ve never been but sure they are great.

We’re going in December. A trusted food critic friend suggested Merito.

I really like La Mar for ceviche, if you’re also there for lunch. I was last there in 2019 though, don’t know how well they weathered COVID.

El Mercado is not fussy, but easily the best meal we had in three weeks in Peru and one of my favorite restaurants ever. Can not recommend highly enough. It is only open for lunch.

I only have experiences with 2 in Lima, but Maido was stupendous 4 years ago to this date; while I still have that what’s-up-with-that confused experience at Central.

As I said, both Maido and Central are booked the night we’re there. I was able to book a table at Merito and am excited about trying it.

I find it surprising how many highly rated places are open for lunch only. Definitely hoping to try one or two as we figure out our plans for the days we’re in Lima.

^this. Easily a favorite when I was there.

Hi Scott,

A good friend of mine is the Somm at Curador. I can check with him about some other places he would recommend. I can reach out to some other people as well.

We are heading to Lima in early November. We just booked Maido and Mayta. Our concierge gave us this list.

  • Tragaluz: Our restaurant with Peruvian, Asian and Mediterranean flavors. Immerse yourself in a relaxed, modern environment, savoring vibrant art and haute cuisine. Open for lunch at 13:00 hrs to 15:30 and for dinner 19:00 hrs to 22:00hrs

  • Maido: Named one of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants, this is the top place to sample Peruvian-Japanese cuisine. Open from Monday to Saturday from 13:00 to 21:30 hrs

  • Mayta Restaurant: Named one of World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Contemporary Peruvian Cuisine, a gastronomic experience, combining contemporary culinary techniques and local products to create sophisticated and modern dishes. Lunch from Monday to Sunday from 12:00 to 16:00 hrs // Dinner from Monday to Saturday from 18:30 to 22:00 hrs.

  • Astrid&Gaston: Named one of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants. Fusion Fare. Inspired by the richness of Peruvian culture and its varied larder, this restaurant is a pleasure for the senses. Open from Tuesday to Saturday from 13:00 hrs to 15:30hrs; dinner from 19:00 hrs to 23hrs and Sundays until 16:00hrs.

  • Rafael: Named one of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants. Fusion Fare. Culinary borders are crossed in this harmonious space where experimentation and honest, pure cooking excel. Lunch from Monday to Friday from 13:00 to 15:00 hrs // Dinner from Monday to Saturday from 20:00 to 23:00 hrs.

  • Osaka Restaurant: Nikkei Cuisine, a mix of Peruvian ingredients with Japanese culinary techniques in a vibrant environment. Open from Monday to Saturday from 12:30pm to 22:00hrs.

We asked for a more casual dinner our final night before an early morning and they gave us this:

  • Huaca Pucllana: Peruvian Cuisine with an unrivaled view of the archaeological complex next door, and a pre-Inca atmosphere in the air, enjoy a variety of dishes from across the country. Open from Monday to Saturday from 12:00 pm to 22:00hrs and Sundays until 20:00hrs.
  • Matria: A fresh and modern proposal in Lima, based on its own creations that innovate and rediscover cuisine based on respect for raw materials. They have vegan and gluten-free options. Open from Monday to Saturday for lunch and dinner from 13:00 to 23:00 hrs.
  • El bodegón is a modern Lima tavern where you can find delicious and generous traditional Peruvian food. Open from Monday to Saturday from 12:00 to 23:00 hrs.
  • Siete: Creative modern Mediterranean-influenced dishes with a touch of Asia, served in a cozy atmosphere in the bohemian. Open from Monday to Saturday for lunch from 13:00 to 15:00 hrs and dinner from 19:30 to 22:30 hrs.
  • La Plazita: A cuisine that expresses itself freely and invites to remember and to tell, a table where Mediterranean flavors are combined with Criollos and Oriental touches. Open from Monday to Saturday from 13:00 to 23:00 hrs.
  • Alfresco: has positioned itself in the market as one of the icons of coastal food, revolutionizing the style of seafood in Peru. Open from Monday to Sunday from 12:00 to 22:30 hrs.

Based on the recommendations, we will definitely do a lunch at El Mercado. We will need a couple of other lunch spots and potentially a dinner spot if we don’t go with one on the list above. Thanks.

Epic location, as the description said. Food was great (not epic, just great) when we ate there ~10 years ago. Allocate some time to explore along the ruins before or after dinner, too. You can’t see much (it’s bricks), but pretty neat to feel the scale of the ruins amongst the city all around it.

FWIW, the pisco sour at the bar in the Sanctuary Lodge at top of Machu Picchu was best I had on our entire trip. Good way to burn half an hour while the bus queue gets shorter.

Thank you! We will check out Huaca Pucllana. We are having lunch at the Sanctuary and taking the Hiram Bingham down.

We ended up cancelling our reservation at Mayta and enjoying our final dinner in Peru at Merito. We made this choice primarily because Merito looked more casual, and we thought this better suited us at the end of our trip.

The food was amazing! We ended up ordering almost the entire menu and sharing it family style. We did avoid the scallop-based dishes due to one guest’s allergies. The “fish of the day” was sea bass and we had three different preparations. It was hard to pick a favorite dish as each one was delicious, unique, and beautifully presented, but the BBQ corn, fish curry, and the pork belly seemed to rise a bit above the others.

The service was also exceptional, professional but friendly. Our servers made a couple of recommendations and were great about explaining the ingredients and preparations. The restaurant was able to accommodate adding another couple to our party the day before our reservation. We ended up in the “Lounge” upstairs instead of the dining room downstairs but still were seated at a spacious 6 top and we felt this didn’t negatively affect our experience at all.

We also though this was an incredible value. The final cost, after 11 or 12 fantastic dishes, a few bottles of Peruvian wine and bottled waters, and a reasonable (but not US-sized) tip was around $40 a person for the 6 of us. Food and drink in Peru in general is a great bargain compared to the US, but we were shocked at the low price for this experience.