The well-known district of Barranco is known for its leisurely strolls, bars and bohemia. Located, along the Chorrillos , at the southern tip of Lima Bay along the shoreline and the Avenida Bolognesi, it is the dividing line between the two different faces of this city: the historic residential area and the other a bustling working class area.
The historic district lies between Avenida Bolognesi and the malecón (quayside), where mid-19th century streets, parks and gardens can be enjoyed. Follow the seafront southward to the beaches lining the coast, to arrive at the Bajada de los Baños (Slopes of the Baths), a romantic location to savour typical local dishes, or enjoy a drink while gazing out over a beautiful ocean view.
The Parque Municipal is found just past this area. Retaining the aristocratic airs of yesteryear, most of Barranco's cafes, restaurants, bars and pubs—housed in mansions—are clustered around this plaza. Like the traditional Bar Juanito, most attract the local bohemians, artists and other patrons who come to Barranco for a good time.
Miraflores is without a doubt the area with the most commercial activity and where tourists generally head towards. Filled with shopping malls, cinemas, hotels, it boasts the highest concentration of cafes in Lima. Located along a sloping shoreline, its surrounding promenade leads to the beaches and parks along with the new shopping complex, Larcomar .
The district is also well-known for its nightlife, which affords all types of entertainment. Grab a pizza along the street named after this dish, the Calle de las Pizzas or take to the floor in one of the modern dance clubs, with the latest techno and trance sounds. For the LGBTQ crowd, you can meet up at Gitano on Berlin street.
The streets, plazas and alleyways of the historical center of Lima have a myriad of cafes and restaurants, which range from classic turn of the century, such as the Palais Concert to modern such as Cafe Cafe and Bohemia. The colonial and republican buildings, along the centuries-old streets, house museums, beautiful, cavernous Renaissance and Baroque churches, old mansions of particular historic interest like Casa de Osambela Oquendo and Palacio de Torre Tagle ; as well as museums such as the Iglesia de San Francisco , the National Reserve Bank and the Lima Art Museum , close to the Justice Palace.
From the expansive Plaza de Armas , you have the choice of wandering along one side of the Government Palace toward the charming little plaza in front of Iglesia de San Francisco . On the other side of the palace the alleyway known as Alameda Chabuca Granda is ideal for taste testing typical local sweets and if luck has it, catching a live concert of traditional Criollo or Afro-Peruvian music. There are a host of traditional old bars which serve food and drink in an atmosphere reminiscent of those days of even before yore, such as Cordano and the Queirolo bar, which makes its own wine.
Lima's city nightlife is varied. For drinks, try the choperías (beer pubs) such as La Cervecería or El Munich on the Jirón de la Unión street. Stroll the alleyways of Santa Rosa and Los Escribanos and stop for a coffee, ice cream, snack, or browse through a bookshop. Though there are a few night-clubs in this area, it is not the safest of places to venture after dark.
Originally, this district was an upper class residential area where the scenic neighborhoods are arranged around attractive parks of large, stately trees, such as Olivar de San Isidro , and El Club de Golf. Today the area is best described as a shopping and financial district where streets such as Calle Miguel Dasso provide respite from the bustle in the many cafes ideal for quiet conversation, delis for a quick bite or even a Turkish bath. The Ovalo Gutierrez district is also alive with shops, cafes, and other activities and is especially popular among those who enjoy savoring the finer foods in life.
When arriving in Lima, you will probably come from the Jorge Chavez Lima-Callao International Airport. This district has an important maritime port that serves the entire country. The Callao Port was established in 1537 in order transport riches from the new world back to Spain. Don't forget to visit the Fortaleza del Real Felipe which is located in the port and the natural beauty of the Isla San Lorenzo where you can sunbathe, explore aquatic caves and enjoy some delicious seafood. Though Callao is considered part of the greater Lima metropolitan area, Callao is administratively separate from the capital and more than 600,000 people reside in the district.
One of Lima's main attractions is its delicious cooking; quality food is found everywhere and it is not necessary to only go to the most expensive restaurants to enjoy a good meal. Lima's cuisine has managed to incorporate many influences and has made many traditions of its own. Its cuisine is exemplified by a huge diversity: Native American, Spanish, Chinese, Italian, Arab, African and a great variety of flavors from other parts of Peru.
To sample the unique taste of exquisite traditional food, choose from well-seasoned dishes like the delicious Ají de Gallina (shredded chicken in spicy cream sauce), Rocoto Relleno (stuffed Peruvian hot pepper), Lomo Saltado (stir-fried beef with rice and chips) or Carapulcra (sun-dried potato stew). The renown Pisco Sour, prepared with pisco (a potent spirit distilled from grapes), lemon juice, sugar and egg-white is very popular, as is the refreshing drink made from boiled purple maize, the Chicha Morada.
There is a wide range of restaurants in Lima, from highly economical to very expensive. To sample Peruvian cuisine, the Jose Antonio in San Isidro and El Señorío de Sulco are wonderful places to eat like the natives. If you prefer French and Mediterranean cuisine in general, we recommend Le Bistrot de Mes Fils which boasts a extensive wine list, or La Bonbonniere styled after the "Salons du The" in France. The fusion of Peruvian-Mediterranean food can be savored at MYO , where they also serve Algarrobina, a drink made with Pisco, cinnamon and egg. For lovers of Japanese food, Lima offers renowned restaurants like Matsuei, Sushi Ito and Ichiban at the Hotel El Olivar. If what you want is Italian food, the best choices are Al Dente and San Ceferino Trattoria .
Miraflores contains the largest amount of restaurants in the entire Lima metropolitan area and the visitor will no doubt find what he or she is looking for, one place to try a local dish is Las Brujas de Cachiche (specialists in tacu-tacu, a creole combination of rice and beans),go to A Puerta Cerrada to try some ceviche, a spicy mix of shrimp, tilapia and potatos marinated in lime juice. Another restaurant that specializes in criole food is Zeño Manue , where the food is made as it was hundreds of years ago. A less expensive option, close to Parque Central de Miraflores is Tasca Bar offering savoury dishes and friendly service.
The fertile waters of the Peruvian Sea boast one of the greatest diversities of fish and shellfish in the world. Consequently, the country has developed a whole range of delicious fresh dishes, such as the celebrated Cebiche de Pescado (fish in lemon-juice marinade) or Cebiche Mixto (fish and shellfish marinade). In addition, there are a variety of main courses to choose from, such as Escabeche de Pescado (fried fish with onions), the ever-present Arroz con Mariscos (shellfish and rice) or Chicharrones de Pescado y Calamares (batter-fried fish and squid). Along with restaurants specialising in seafood, there is the well-known cebicherías throughout the city. In this district, there is a wide range of seafood restaurants like La Mar where the fashion conscious meet, and for the freshest seafood, go to Punta Sal , El Pez Amigo or La Rosa Nautica which are all good choices. For those looking for a beer and some sports, go to The Corner which is located in a busy area of Miraflores and for a pint of Guiness go to Murphy's Irish Pub , the oldest irish pub in Lima. The renowned Calle de las Pizzas (Pizza Lane) in Miraflores, is a tourist attraction just for its number of pizzerías and their picturesque environment. Naturally there is plenty of italian restaurants here like the Antico Ristorante Italiano di Porto Rotondo , the Trattoria di Mambrino owned by a local celebrity and the ever popular Don Rosalino , where the pizzas are made with the freshest ingredients. This area also has a myriad of French restaurants, two of the best are Cafe Voltaire and Le+Bon+Bakery+Cafe , a place to enjoy amazing pastries. More restaurants with a Peruvian flair and somewhat economical are Astrid y Gastón , Señorío de Sulco and Mangos .
The Chorrillos district is one of the best known for traditional cebicherías like Sonia . Another one of the best restaurants in the city is El Salto del Fraile located along some cliffs with the most spectacular views of the ocean, and after dinner, enjoy a cocktail while dancing to the sounds of the sea.
Chinese food has fused with Peruvian cuisine, with the result of an extensive new range of flavors that can be enjoyed at the popular Chifas (Chinese restaurants), many of which are in Lima—a very good option for cost-effective, wholesome food; but if you want to try excellent Chinese food, then head for Chifa Wa Lok in the central Chinatown district. Another restaurant worth mentioning is Los Escribanos , frequented by locals and tourists alike. The restaurant L'Eau Vive is run by a convent of nuns and serves simple, yet tasty cuisine. If you're looking to shoot some pool and have a beer, go to the Brewing Corner and for those looking to people watch, there is the Cordano , where all types go for the strong Pisco Sour.
The Barranco offers a spectacular array of restaurants, such as the classic La Canta Rana and De Rompe y Raja , a seafood paradise is also found in Barranco at El Muelle . Two restaurants in this area are Manos Morenas and Rustica which has a buffet set with a wide range of dishes. Peruvian style Charcoal-grilled chicken, a popular dish, is popularly served throughout the city and well worth tasting here. A couple of dives that are very popular with the younger crowd and offer both drinking and dancing are the Bierhaus , where you can enjoy some Peruvian beer and Juanito's .
For desserts, Lima's cuisine offers some quite succulent alternatives some of the more widely known include: Arroz Zambito (rice pudding with brown sugar), Arroz Con Leche (rice pudding), Suspiro a la Limeña (a creamy, sweet, meringue with a delicate name: Limeñan Sighs), Mazamorra Morada (made from purple maize), Pie de Limón (lemon meringue pie), Cheesecake de Saúco (a native Andean fruit), Huevos Chimbos (a type of flan with a caramel and triple-sec coating), higos rellenos con manjar blanco (figs stuffed with blancmange), Mousse de Lúcuma, Picarones (local variety of doughnut). Try these desserts at Punto Blanco , and some of the least expensive carretillas (food carts) on Alameda Chabuca Granda .