FROM BREAKFAST TO BOOZE IN LIMA
Hieing off to Peru’s capital and looking to eat as much as you can? Shave off time from your travel research to plan your outfits instead, thanks to this dining and drinking agenda.
The first thing a Peruano living in Lima will tell you is that compared to the rest of the country, Lima has no trees. From the air, Lima looks like Cairo—a desert of flat-roofed buildings and houses bordered by the Pacific Ocean. But beyond the salty air, heat and barren landscape lies a lush culinary wonderland waiting to be devoured. Thanks to a longstanding culinary tradition, an unbelievable array of ingredients, and innovative chefs, one can always eat well in Lima.
10 a.m.: CANTA RANA Located in the bohemian Barranco area of Lima, Canta Rana is the sort of unpretentious but atmospheric neighborhood joint everyone frequents, from hipsters to surfers to the man on the street seeking some respite from the heat. The dishes to order are ceviche mixto (if you can't decide what ceviche to order from its menu of close to 20 ceviches) and lomo saltado, a Peruvian version of our bistek Tagalog with stir-fried sirloin and rice or fries. So good. Genova 101, Distrito de Barranco 15063, Lima; tel. no. 51 1 2477274
Noon: MAIDO COCINA NIKKEI Housed in a two-storey modern building in the tony neighborhood of Miraflores is Chef Mitsuharu Tsumura's Maido, one of our favorite restaurants in Lima. We ate nigiri sushi like Tuna and Yolks and Sushi à la Pobre (Angus beef), both topped with quail egg injected with ponzu. We also had Peruvian cuisine with a Nikkei twist, like the delicious Asado de Tira Nitsuke: braised short ribs cooked for 50 hours with fried rice cecina. And of course, I had to try Chef Micha's version of lomo saltado. Every single dish made my eyes close, especially the sushi. 'Nuff said. maido.pe
3:30 p.m.: EL MERCADO DE RAFAEL OSTERLING A great lunch place that closes by 5 p.m., there's plenty of time to line up for lunch. The place is always packed, thanks to the great ambience, sharp service, and the freshest seafood. We ordered and loved the Scallops with Pisco Butter and Chili, which we later learned to make at Chef Penelope Alzamora's house in Lima as part of our A2A Journeys private cooking class offerings. rafaelosterling.pe
7 p.m.: CENTRAL We were quite excited to explore the Peruvian ecosystem via Virgilio Martinez's Central. If you want to try ingredients you've never heard of in your life, come here. From the Andes to the Amazon, the ingredients available to chefs in Peru is staggering and enviable. There are 7000 varieties of potatoes alone in Peru. My favorite at Central was Land of Corn—not only intellectually stimulating, but also actually delicious, unlike some of the other dishes at Central. centralrestaurante.com.pe
9 p.m. MADAM TUSAN This restaurant chain serving Chifa, or Chinese-peruvian cuisine, was a revelation. Chifa is everywhere in Peru, even in the Amazon, but come here to sample a more refined version. The Chinese food in Peru tasted like Cantonese Chinese with Peruvian ingredients thrown in. Everything was so good, we ate an entire plate of fried rice with all the dishes we ordered—each. madametusan.pe
11 p.m. HOTEL B BAR End your night in Lima at Hotel B's sexy bar in the Barranco neighborhood. Enjoy a pisco sour while ogling the gorgeous belle-époque restaurant and lobby filled with outstanding Latin American art. We stayed at this hotel and, in lieu of melatonin sleeping pills to cure jet lag, we just went down for a nightcap every night and slept soundly. Saenz Peña 204, Distrito de Barranco 15063, Lima; tel. no. 51 1 2060800