It’s no secret that Limeños love their food (just visit in September during the Mistura food festival and you’ll see what we mean). Perhaps not recognized worldwide as a dining mecca, the Peruvian capital nevertheless lays claim to its fair share of unique and noteworthy native dishes that one would be foolish not to try. There is, of course, the ubiquitous ceviche: a sushi style raw fish soup marinated in citrus juice and traditionally served with potatoes and corn. But beyond this staple, delicacies such as lomo saltado (vinegar and soy sauce-marinated beef strips served with peppers, onions, tomatoes), guinea pig and anticuchos (skewered beef heart) are just a few of the local flavors that just might surprise your palate.
The obvious hot beds for restaurant selection are Barranco and Miraflores, Lima’s two neighboring tourist hubs. With interest in Peruvian dining on the rise in the western world, you’ll find that these popular locales, along with San Isidro, are beginning to spawn a host of pricy, high end establishments (you’ll most likely hear about names like Astrid y Gaston and Malabar, which fall into this category). Don’t be fooled, though. Travelers on a budget can find plenty of incredible eats here, especially with a host of delicious establishments vying for your business. You can bargain with the hosts at the entrance to pretty much any street-side restaurant in order to get yourself a few free pisco sours to accompany your meal (Peru’s native alcoholic beverage of choice), so don’t shy away from making some bold demands in return for your patronage.
And if you’re in the market for, well, a market, this sprawling city won’t let you down. Your two best options will be the Marcado Central, located just southeast of the Plaza Mayor in Lima’s historic district, and the Surquillo Market, located a few blocks from Parque Kennedy in Miraflores. Both locations offer fresh meats, seafood and produce from around the country at incredibly low prices, which accounts for the high concentration of locals you’ll find here. It’s definitely worth it to ditch the restaurants in favor of this more authentic/less expensive option at least once during your visit, but what do we know? Enjoy.