Full of culinary delights, tempting smells and enticing sights, it can be hard to choose where to eat in Peru with many restaurants offering their own unique twist on the influences that have created the delicious Peruvian cuisine.
From Iquitos deep in the Amazon in northern Peru to Arequipa in the southern Peruvian Andes and from Lima on the western Pacific coastline to the Inca kingdom of Cusco in the east; Peru’s delicious cuisine is waiting for you!
When traveling to Peru, you will want to have the ultimate culinary experience and this list of the top 5 restaurants in Peru is sure to guide you to the right places during your Peruvian vacation. So what are you waiting for…get your knife and fork at the ready and prepare yourself as we show you the best and most unique restaurants in Peru!
Chez Wong – Calle Enrique Leon Garcia 114, Lima
Known for being the father of ceviche and his flaming wok, Javier Wong serves up some of the best local food in Lima. With the menu changing daily, based on what Wong buys from the market, his cooking even caught the eye of Anthony Bourdain who visited his restaurant as part of his TV series, Parts Unknown in 2013. Built into the chef’s home in the Santa Catalina district of Lima, this restaurant is by no means aesthetically pleasing.
You need to make sure you book in advance as Chez Wong has a strong cult following in Peru that claim there is no better place to try ceviche in Peru!
Eating in a restaurant which does not have a menu, no list of ingredients or prices and where you simply say how many orders of that day’s dish you want creates an exciting dining adventure. Whilst watching the chef hard at work with the fresh ingredients you should be warned that the prices reflect the fact that you are paying for a whole dining experience and not just the food on your plate! This secret ceviche hideaway is perhaps one of the most exclusive and special dining experiences in Peru and perhaps even South America!
La Nueva Palomino – Pasaje Leoncio Prado 122, Yanahuara, Arequipa
If you are looking for a true, traditional reflection on typical Peruvian food, Arequipa has the answer and is often seen as the food capital of Peru! At its base, Peruvian cuisine is made up of Inca and pre-Inca traditions followed by the layers of different flavors and cooking techniques that arrived with the different flows of immigrants from Japan, Spain, Italy and Africa.
La Nueva Palomino in Arequipa is a refreshing restaurant as it takes you back to the origins of Peruvian food with the restaurant itself dating back to the 1890s.
The beauty of the food served at La Nueva Palomino is that it is all cooked by hand, on log fires with no sign of electric blenders but instead they use a traditional pestle and mortar called a batán. The simple, homely dishes provide you with a unique insight into the very foundations of Peruvian cuisine today with delicious dishes such as rocoto relleno (stuffed chili peppers with minced beef & pecans) and chupe de camarones (prawn chowder) on the menu. Soak up and enjoy the special atmosphere at La Nueva Palomino with groups of families and friends filing in to eat the finger-licking local specialties and of course drink chichi de jora (corn beer).
àmaZ – Av. La Paz 1079, Miraflores, Lima
Pedro Schiaffino, the chef behind Lima’s famous restaurant Malabar, has created yet another incredible dining experience at àmaZ. With the world and many of Peru’s restaurants focusing on the delights of Andean cuisine and the coast, àmaZ takes an exciting and groundbreaking approach to putting the food of the Peruvian Amazon on the map.
From hollowed-out bamboo with roasted prawn ceviche inside to trying chonta, a type of palm, there are a number of dishes and ingredients that you would have never tried or even heard of before that are served at àmaZ.
Schiaffino’s attention to detail and tradition can be seen through his cooking methods such as cooking dishes inside bijao leaves or using indigenous preparations such as pacamoto which is relatively unheard of outside of a few remote villages in Peru’s Amazon. àmaZ shows the true richness and diversity of the Amazon’s cuisine and culture showing a different side and area of Peruvian food.
ChiCha – Plaza Regocijo 261 (2nd floor), Cusco
Any list of the unique top 5 restaurants in Peru would not be complete without a Gaston Acurio restaurant featured. However, instead of the more famous of his restaurants in Lima, ChiCha is in the beautiful colonial town of Cusco with the celebrity chef taking a gourmet take on traditional food from the Cusco region. On the second floor of a Spanish colonial Casona, ChiCha is a stunning and spacious restaurant set within true colonial Cusco architecture.
ChiCha is one of the best restaurants in Cusco to take a journey through the different flavors and dishes from around the Andes and the Cuzqueña highlands.
The white and dark stained wooden floors, high peaked ceilings and the open bar and kitchen, create a warm and inviting feeling that is similar to the experience you will have walking through the quaint streets of Cusco. Using local ingredients such as quinoa for his tabbouleh and a modern take on the traditional pachamana where meat and potatoes are cooked underground, the restaurant has a warmer more homely atmosphere than perhaps his other restaurants in Lima. This fantastic restaurant is easy to miss, with no sign on the street but when you find it you will be transported through the spectacular flavors of Cusco and its surroundings.
Al Frío y Al Fuego – Av. La Marina N 134-B, Al Frío y Al Fuego Private Dock, Iquitos
Unique dining experiences don’t come any better than this! Located in the Peruvian Amazon town of Iquitos, this special restaurant floats in the middle of the Itaya River. The two-level floating restaurant also has a pool for those of you that might want to take a refreshing dip before or after your meal to cool off from the humidity of the Amazon. Serving creative and contemporary Amazon dishes you will be sure to have your mind-blown not only by the dishes by the beauty and tranquility of the restaurant’s setting. With kingfishers, white egrets and other Amazonian wildlife passing by you can soak up the Amazonian atmosphere whilst exploring its equally as diverse and rich cuisine.
When the large raindrops of the Amazon rainforest decide to fall, there is something quite magical and special about that moment where you realize you are sat on the floating restaurant of Al Frío y Al Fuego in the middle of the Amazon jungle.
The open kitchen is located on the second floor of the restaurant and has a slightly more formal atmosphere than the relaxed downstairs bar area with its poolside patio. Time will fly by as you eat the delicious dishes coming out of the kitchen and enjoy the refreshing drinks of the bar whilst being carried away by the unforgettable Amazon river views.