San Isidro’s restaurant and nightlife scene lives mostly on the Avenida de los Conquistadores. Here, you will find some of Lima’s newest and most upscale restaurants.
For those who want a good place to read, La Baguette (Aliaga 456, 7 a.m.–11 p.m. Sun.–Wed., 7 a.m.–midnight Thurs.–Sat., US$7) has a nice second-story balcony and a long list of sandwiches on real baguettes.
Don Mamino (Conquistadores 790, tel. 01/344-4004, 6:30 a.m.–11 p.m. daily) has gourmet desserts and fresh-baked breads.
The Ice Cream Factory (Conquistadores 395, tel. 01/222-2633, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. daily) has a good range of ice creams and affordable sandwiches.
The geranium-lined patio of La Bonbonneire (Burgos 415, tel. 01/421-2447, 8 a.m.–midnight Tues.–Sun., US$9) is straight out of France, as are the delicate sandwiches of cream cheese and smoked trout.
The patio of T’anta (Pancho Fierro 117, tel. 01/421-9708, US$7–14) is an excellent place to linger over a cup of coffee, glass of wine, or a rich chocolate dessert.
The very best ice cream in Peru is at Quattro D (Las Begonias 580). Lúcuma and chocolate makes an unbeatable double scoop.
Punta Sal (Conquistadores 948, tel. 01/441-7431, www.puntasal.com , 11 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, US$10–14) is a large, casual place for good seafood and ceviche.
The lunch-only Segundo Muelle (Conquistadores 490, tel. 01/421-1206, www.segundomuelle.com , noon–5 p.m. daily, US$8–12) successfully combines pastas with seafood and tasty ceviche. Try the ravioli stuffed with crabmeat or lasagna with shrimp and artichoke.
San Isidro’s classic Peruvian restaurant, with 35 years in the business, is José Antonio (Bernardo Monteagudo 200, tel. 01/264-0188, www.joseantonio.com.pe , 12:30–4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.–midnight daily, US$14–17). Said to have the best lomo saltado in town, the restaurant also offers ají de gallina, cau cau, and causa with camarones.
With a culture of ceviche, it isn’t surprising that Lima  has latched on to sushi. Osaka (Conquistadores 999, tel. 01/222-0405, 12:30–4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.–1 a.m. daily, US$9–12) is doing with Japanese food what many Peruvian restaurants have done with international cuisine: fusion. Camote (sweet potato) tempura and Inca rolls are dinner highlights.
Asia de Cuba (Conquistadores 780, San Isidro, tel. 01/222-4940, 7 p.m.–close Mon.–Sat., US$15) is a swanky sushi house with over-the-top decor. There are more than 30 types of martinis, a range of buttery sushi, and other Asian fusion cuisine.
A casual place for great Mexican and margaritas is Como Agua Para Chocolate (Pancho Fierro 108, tel. 01/222-0297, noon–midnight Mon.–Sat., noon–10 p.m. Sun., US$8), with brightly colored walls and friendly service.
If you are in the mood for an Argentine grill, and an all-meat menu, head to La Carreta (Rivera Navarrete 740, tel. 01/442-2690, 11 a.m.–11 p.m. daily, US$20–30).
Featured in many local cookbooks, the recipes of Malabar (Camino Real 101, tel. 01/440-5200, 12:30–3:30 p.m. and 7:30–11:30 p.m., US$15–20) have garnered national acclaim. The flavors are a mix of the Mediterranean (chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino studied in Italy), Amazonia (then he lived in Iquitos ), and finally classic Peruvian. The intimate restaurant, with clean white tablecloths, is the perfect fusion for a traveler who’s been all over the country.
To live Lima’s classic elegance, you can do nothing better than have a pisco sour on the wide open patio of Perroquet (Los Eucaliptos 590, tel. 01/611-9000, www.hotelcountry.com , 11 a.m.–11 p.m. daily, US$15–20), inside the Country Club Lima Hotel. Follow your sour with grilled chita fish, and finally top it off with a medley of Peruvian fruit sorbets.
With only 10 tables, the city’s most intimate seafood restaurant is probably El Kapallaq (Petit Thouars 4844, tel. 01/444-4149, noon–5 p.m. daily, US$14–18). The owner, of Basque ancestry, throws in twists from his home country, dishing up favorites like marmitako (a seafood stew). But the Peruvian influence is just as strong, and classics like arroz con conchas y langostinos (rice with scallops and shrimp) and chita (Peruvian grunt fish) are also present. This classic restaurant is a lunch-only establishment.
With a steel bed on its entrance patio and a dining room full of round mirrors, Restaurante Rodrigo (Francisco de Paula Camino 231, tel. 01/446-0985, www.restauranterodrigo.com , 1–4 p.m. and 8 p.m.–midnight, US$20–25) is Lima’s chic and cosmopolitan, Basque-influenced restaurant. Here, the precursor to dinner is an appetizer sampler, each shot-glass-size, including spinach salad and pork mousse with applesauce. Dinner is calamari stuffed with rich risotto or halibut served over black rice.