Gastronomy has always been, since the days of the Spanish vice royalty, an essential aspect of life in Lima. During the last few years, however, the city's dining reputation has experienced a huge leap in the eyes of the world because experts gathered in the Fourth International Summit of Gastronomy Madrid Fusión 2006 and formally declared Lima to be the "Gastronomy Capital of the Americas". The offerings in Lima are nowadays most varied and cover a wide range of types and cuisines, both regional and international.
Despite the wide range of choice in Lima's many restaurants, ceviche is surely number one on the list of dishes you must get to know, not only because it happens to be the "Peruvian national dish", but because of its unparalleled delicious taste. With the increasing interest in the Peruvian cuisine, ceviche is quickly making its way onto tables all over the world. But if you want to enjoy the real thing, don't miss it during your stay here in ceviche's Mecca. There is at least one cevichería in every neighbourhood, so it won't be hard to find one. Moreover, most criollo restaurants include ceviche on their menus; indeed, many restaurants do, even the more upscale nouveau-cuisine.
A second must goes to Asian cuisine, both Chinese and Japanese, which predictably, have a strong Peruvian influence. Chifas -that is, Chinese restaurants-, which can be counted by the hundreds if not thousands, are usually down-to-earth neighbourhood eateries, offering a fare rich in seafood and chicken. Japanese restaurants, on the contrary, are less widespread, and more upscale and expensive. Their forte is, of course, a year-round supply of the freshest and most variegated seafood.
Peruvian food tend to be spicy and heavy. Try it with method and ask if any dish is picante (spicy), and if you are not fond of that, avoid it since it may be really picante. A full meal may be really heavy and cause problems even if it's perfectly nice and well prepared with fresh ingredients.
Travelers longing for a delicious falafel or shwarma sandwich will be pleased to learn there is an excellent cafe along Parque Kennedy that serves these type of Middle Eastern foods at reasonable prices.
There is a heavy presence of Western fast-food chains such as KFC, Pizza Hut, Domino's Pizza, McDonald's, Subway and Starbucks Coffee all over the city if you'd rather not try anything new to you. Places such as Burger King, Chili's and Friday's are scarce, but can be easily found around Miraflores. Also, you shouldn't miss Peruvian-style hamburgers at Bembos, traditional Peruvian sandwiches in Pasquale and fusion pizza over at D'nnos Pizza if you want to give your everyday fast-food a local twist.
Lima is home to around 220,000 restaurants, cafes, juice bars and runs a program (Restaurante Saludable) to recognise clean and healthy restaurants. Only around 800 or 1.2% of venues have received this award, so keep your eyes open for the logo Restaurante Saludable.
Jiron Azangaro, cuadra 4
Parque de la Reserva
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