Even if you are on a limited budget, splurging on one of Miraflores’s top restaurants will be a memorable experience you will not regret.
One of Lima ’s classic cafés is surely Haiti (Diagonal 160, tel. 01/446-3816, 7 a.m.–2 a.m. Sun.–Thurs., 7 a.m.–3 a.m. Fri.–Sat., US$9), in operation for more than half a century on Parque Kennedy. Indoor and sidewalk tables are overflowing with Peruvians day and night. Haiti is less known for its food than its intellectual conversation, good coffee, and pisco sours.
Right across the street is La Tiendecita Blanca (Larco 111, tel. 01/445-1412, 7 a.m.–midnight daily, US$11), an elegant Swiss-style café and deli that has been in business since 1937. Anything you eat here will be excellent. This is Miraflores’s most happening business breakfast spot, and, in the evenings, steamy fondues emerge from the kitchen.
The youthful, trendy Café Zeta (Oscar Benavides 598, tel. 01/444-5579, 7 a.m.–11:30 p.m. daily, US$6–10) is straight out of Chicago. Here you can sip mango tea while nibbling banana bread, or down a big sandwich and beer.
Ugo, the Italian owner of La Bodega de la Trattoria (General Borgoño 784, tel. 01/241-6899, 7:30 a.m.–2 a.m. daily, US$9–13), claims that sitting on his patio is almost like being on a European plaza. His Italian menu and strong espressos aid in the illusion, and the effect is the whiling away of a Lima  afternoon. Meals are also served.
Try the lomo saltado sandwich at Pasquale Hnos. Sangucheria (Comandante Espinar 651, tel. 01/447-6390, noon–10 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 10 a.m.–1 a.m. Sat., 10 a.m.–midnight Sun., US$6). This sandwich joint makes fast food fancy and purely Peruvian, since all sandwiches are inspired by classic Peruvian plates.
San Antonio (Vasco Núñez de Balboa 762, tel. 01/241-3001, 7 a.m.–11 p.m. daily) is a bakery/café/deli with 35 gourmet sandwiches (including smoked salmon and Italian salami), huge salads with organic lettuce, and an extensive dessert case with an out-of-this-world tortaleta de lúcuma. Across the street, T’anta (28 de Julio 888, tel. 01/447-8377, 7 a.m.–midnight Mon.–Sat., 7 a.m.–10 p.m. Sun.) is similarly gourmet, but the menu is all Peruvian.
Your dessert choices are twofold, chocolate or ice cream. Limeños are right when they say that Quattro D (Angamos Oeste 408, tel. 01/447-1523, 6:30 a.m.–12:30 a.m. Sun.–Fri., 6:30 a.m.–1:30 a.m. Sat.) has the best ice cream and gelato in Lima, but at Chocolates Helena (Chiclayo 897, tel. 01/242-8899, www.chocolateshelena.com , 10:30 a.m.–7:30 p.m. daily) the chocotejas and truffles are hard to resist.
An upscale cebichería, Alfresco (Malecón Balta 790, tel. 01/444-7962, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, US$12–14) serves grilled shrimp, clams, and a special cebiche alfresco with three sauces. This stylish place also serves tempting desserts, such as crocante de lúcuma and suspiro de Limeña and international wines.
At a more affordable price, Punto Azul (San Martin 395, tel. 01/445-8078, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat.–Sun. US$7–9) serves a similar menu. One plate is enough for two, but arrive early because after 1:30 p.m. you’ll have to wait to get a seat.
Ceviche is elegantly served in martini glasses at Gaston Acurio’s La Mar Cebichería (La Mar 770, tel. 01/421-3365, 11 a.m.–5 p.m., US$15–20). No reservations are accepted and lines can get long, so plan for a leisurely lunch over several types of ceviche, cold beer, grilled fish, and crisp white wine.
One of the greatest Peruvian comfort foods is the creamy potato-based causa, and now, there is an entire restaurant devoted to it. Mi Causa (La Mar 814, tel. 01/222-6258, www.micausaperu.com , noon–5:30 p.m. daily, US$10–12) has the classic tuna and avocado offerings, but why not try a lomo saltado or cauchi de camarones (crayfish stew) causa?
Budget eaters flock to Rincón Chami (Esperanza 154, tel. 01/444-4511, 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun., US$7) for ceviche, tamales, brochetas, and lomo saltados, dished up in a dinerlike atmosphere. Each day there is a different special of the house (Sunday, for instance, it’s chupe de camarones, a cream-based soup with sea shrimp).
La Trattoria di Mambrino (Manuel Bonilla 106, tel. 01/446-1192, 1–3:30 p.m. and 8:30–11:30 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 1–3:30 p.m. Sun., US$10–12) is owned by a Roman and may be Peru’s best Italian restaurant. This cozy place serves authentic Italian dishes like gnocchi with pesto genovese, risotto with wild mushrooms, panfried shrimp with wine sauce, and porcini mushroom pizza.
For Middle Eastern food, stop in at Tarboush (Diagonal 358, tel. 01/242-6994, 9 a.m.–midnight Mon.–Thurs., 9 a.m.–1 a.m. Fri.–Sat., 10 a.m.–11 p.m. Sun., US$5–6), with sidewalk tables across from Parque Kennedy. Lamb kebabs, Greek salads, tabouli, and falafel are prepared fresh for incredibly cheap prices. Don’t miss the lúcuma juice.
Located at Larcomar mall, Makoto (Malecón de la Reserva 610, tel. 01/444-5030, www.larcomar.com , 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Sun., US$20) is an excellent, though touristy, sushi restaurant with high prices.
Edo Sushi Bar (Berlin 601, tel. 01/243-2448, www.edosushibar.com , 12:30–3:30 p.m. and 7–11 p.m. Mon.–Sat., US$10) is a cool, quiet restaurant for authentic sushi.
Our vote for best restaurant in Peru is Astrid y Gastón (Cantuarias 175, tel. 01/444-1496, 1–3 p.m. and 7:30–11:30 p.m. Mon.–Sat., US$35–40). This adventurous gourmet restaurant, set in an elegant republican-style home, is the labor of love of a Peruvian-German couple who met at the Cordon Bleu in Paris. The evening begins with creative pisco drinks such as the aguaymanto sour, made with pisco puro and the tangy juice of aguaymanto fruit. Then, as diners watch through a glass wall, chefs concoct never-before-sampled entrées such as kid goat basted in algarroba honey and marinated in chicha de jora, or river prawns served with red curry, coconut milk, and jasmine rice. Save room; the desserts are the best part: blanco mousse with a sauce of sauco and blackberries.
You will not regret the cab ride to Pescados Capitales (La Mar 1337, tel. 01/421-8808, 12:30–5 p.m. Tues.–Sun., US$10), a witty play on words (pescados means fish but rhymes with pecados, or sins) that makes sense when you see the menu. Each dish is named for a virtue or sin; Diligence will bring you a ceviche of tuna and conchas negras, while Patience will bring you a ceviche of shrimps with curry and mango chutney.
The elegant Huaca Pucllana (General Borgoño block 8, tel. 01/445-4042, noon–4 p.m. and 7 p.m.–midnight daily, US$10–22) has a magical feel when the ruins of the same name, only six meters away, are lit up at night. Guests sit at linen-covered tables on an open-air patio next to the ruins and enjoy dishes such as grilled portobello mushroom salad with goat cheese, rabbit stewed in a red wine, mushroom sauce over polenta, and grilled lamb chops.
If you’re in the mood for Mediterranean, head to La Gloria (Atahualpa 201, tel. 01/446-6504, www.lagloriarestaurant.com , 1–4 p.m. and 8 p.m.–midnight Mon.–Sat., US$29). Especially good are the carpaccio de pescado with ginger and the seared tuna steaks.
Two restaurants are locked in battle for Lima ’s best place for comida criolla. Brujas de Cachiche (Bolognesi 460, tel. 01/446-6536, www.brujasdecachiche.com.pe , noon–midnight Mon.–Sat., noon–4:30 p.m. Sun., US$20) has an extraordinary buffet every day of the week, except Sunday, that includes a tour de force of centuries of indigenous Peruvian cooking.
El Señorio de Sulco (Malecón Cisneros 1470, tel. 01/441-0389, www.senoriodesulco.com , noon–midnight Mon.–Sat., noon–5 p.m. Sun., US$10–16) also has an extravagant daily lunch buffet and a range of seafood plates. Try the chupe de camarones, a cream-based soup full of sea shrimp, yellow potatoes, and ají pepper.
We think Lima ’s time-honored seaside gourmet restaurant, Rosa Naútica, is a bit faded. But a good contender, Costanera 700 (El Ejército 421, tel. 01/421-4635, noon–5 p.m. and 7–11 p.m. Mon.–Sat., noon–5 p.m. Sun., US$30), is gaining ground and has been repeatedly voted one of the best restaurants in Lima. This is a good place to come for an elegant array of both Peruvian and international cuisine.
Central Lima’s time-honored chifa restaurant Wa Lok (Angamos Oeste 700, tel. 01/447-1314, noon–11:30 p.m. Mon.–Sat., noon–11 p.m. Sun., US$15–20) now has a Miraflores location. You’ll have to ignore the charmless first-floor casino, before you can settle down into your fish with corn sauce or steaming stir-fry.
Miraflores’s best vegetarian restaurant is Govinda (Schell 634, tel. 01/444-2871, 10:30 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 11 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Sun., US$4). The creative dishes of this Hare Krishna–operated restaurant include pad thai, Asian tofu salad, and lomo saltado with soy meat.
When you walk through a health food store to get to the restaurant, you know lunch will be balanced and nutritious. Madre Natura (Chiclayo 815, tel. 01/445-2522, 8 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Sat., US$6) is all that, and well priced. Sit down for a soy-based hamburger, and leave with wheat bread in hand.
Plaza Vea (Arequipa 4651, 9 a.m.–10 p.m. daily), Metro (Schell 250, 9 a.m.–11 p.m. daily), and the upscale Vivanda (Benavides 495, 24 hours) have large selections of international and domestic foods.