In the growing world of “foodies,” a handful of international cities have emerged as undisputed gastronomy capitals, warranting long-distance travel anchored solely by the prospect of incredible eats. Case in point: Lima, Peru.
To say Lima’s food scene is great wouldn’t do it justice; it’s downright phenomenal. Given the diverse topographies and cultures of Peru—from the Andes to the desert to the Amazon—the cuisine is rife with unfamiliar, intriguing items such as paiche (the largest freshwater fish in South America), choclo (an extra-large kernel corn), camu camu (a small citrus fruit) and cocona (Amazon tomato), prepared as many ways as the rules of statistics allow. Lima chefs have capitalized on Peru’s natural bounties to create mind-blowing gastronomy, landing top global accolades for a number of the city’s kitchens.
|The pyramid-side dining room and cuisine at Restaurant Huaca Pucllana.|
A handful of restaurants are requisite on any foodie pilgrimage to Lima. At Central, Chef Virgilio Martínez has transformed his childhood abode into an open-kitchen restaurant where indigenous ingredients merge on the plate as edible art. At Maido, Chef Mitsuharu Tsumura taps into Peru’s Japanese heritage, delivering the apex of Nikkei cuisine (a Peruvian-Japanese fusion). Maido’s 15-course degustation menu, called the “Nikkei Experience,” is pure foodie nirvana with dishes like Nikkei seabass ceviche and Nikkei thick ribs (slow cooked for two days with yellow pepper, soy and sake).
Discover haute Chiclayo cuisine at Fiesta, where celebrity chef Hector Solis doles out hearty portions of reinvented delicacies from his hometown, including a hot and cold charcoal-grilled ceviche and arroz con pato a la chilclayana (rice with savory duck). At Restaurant Huaca Pucllana, nibble first on yucca spirals and corn tamales before feasting on artichoke pasta and organic pork chops—all while facing the archaeological remains of a 1,500-year-old adobe pyramid.
Between meals, stroll through Barranco, a picturesque Bohemian neighborhood. Peruse the 45,000-piece pre-Columbian art collection at Museo Larco, the pre-Inca gold at Museo Oro del Perú and celebrity photographs at Museo Mario Testino.
Sandwich your days at either the 17-suite Hotel B (above), a converted century-old mansion in the heart of Barranco, or the sky-scraping, modernist Westin Lima Hotel (below), which defies the brand’s business-centric approach with a vibe and style of St. Regis meets W. Much like the exalted kitchens of Lima, the Hotel B and the Westin Lima Hotel are all about expecting the unexpected.
The pool at the Westin Lima.
An artifact at Museo Larco.