Lima is well-known for its fine dining, but you don’t have to blow your travel budget to experience the best of what this city has to offer. Likewise, Lima restaurants are famous for their seafood and ceviche, but there are plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans as well. Many restaurants are used to accommodating vegetarians and vegans, and they will clearly mark the relevant dishes on their menus. Read on to find out about some of the best restaurants in Lima, Peru!
Ceviche, cebiche – Lima’s most famous food
Ceviche (or cebiche) is a staple of Peruvian cuisine. It’s a dish of raw fish cured in a tasty sauce made of lime juice and other components. We enjoyed ours at the Barra Maretazo. Okay, yes, this restaurant is SUPER touristy. Full disclosure: an entire tour bus of gringos showed up while we were there. But the ceviche is fresh and tasty, the pisco sours are yum, and they have vegetarian ceviche on offer as well (made with mushrooms instead of fish. It has milk, though, so not for vegans!). Plus, they’ll ply you with free cocktails and appetizers at random intervals throughout your stay. And everyone loves free! Expect to pay around 30 soles ($10 USD) for a main course.
If Barra Maretazo is touristy, Veggie Pizza is anything but. It’s on a quiet street several blocks north of Parque Kennedy (be cautious late at night). There was only one other party of diners there while we ate, but this emptiness was baffling to us. This pizza was SOOooOOoO good. They have various thin-crust, vegetarian pizzas on offer. We chose essentially at random, because all of them looked great, but also admittedly because the menu was only in Spanish and our obscure-veggie-naming skills are not up to par. Seems that you can’t go wrong, though.
For two of us, one small pizza (you can choose two flavors) was barely enough to share, and only because we had recently eaten (30 soles, or $10). The other option was a large pizza (60 soles, or $20), which would have been twice as big, with four flavors. For the vegans out there, they had the option to make any pizza vegan with avocado-based cheese.
Indian food, yummmm
Okay yes yes I know we were in Peru, but… We kept walking by this one Indian restaurant every day, and it smelled so good, and the terrace looked so inviting, and Indian restaurants always have great vegetarian food… We were going to cook at home one night but then we thought that actually probably we should go for Indian. And we were right. Mantra Garden Restobar had very tasty Indian food, including vegetarian and vegan options, in a central Miraflores location. We shared two dishes and naan for about $10 USD each. We could have saved money by only getting one dish and also buying rice (doesn’t come automatically), buuuut they were both so good..
Best for last – authentic Peruvian, but vegan!
OMG this place was great. Great great great. Too bad we only discovered it on the very last night. Veda Restaurant. What they do is they take traditional Peruvian dishes, and they turn them vegan, and they serve them to you on a very cute outdoor terrace. We found a good mix of locals and tourists there. We had an appetizer of Causa Rellena, which is basically a delicious potato stuffed with vegetables and smothered with a fantastic sauce. DON’T MISS THIS FOOD!!
As a main course, I had a vegan Lomo Saltado, which usually is a very typical Peruvian beef dish, but in this case it was was made with tofu. Ethan had a vegan Aji de Gallina, which usually is made with chicken, but here was magically made vegan. They were huge and so tasty! Only tiiiny downside is that they don’t serve any alcohol, just lots of kambucha “cocktails.” Our meal came to about $12 USD each, including a shared appetizer and a main dish per person.
Truly, Veda Restaurant is not to be missed. It’s definitely on our list of the best vegetarian restaurants that we’ve visited.
Coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee
The best coffee in Lima was definitely at the Agora Arte y Cafe. Right near the Parque Kennedy, but easy to miss due to the construction that’s going on there now. They had great coffee, friendly service, not too touristy of an atmosphere. There is a terrace, a downstairs, and a cute upstairs. They also had great little sandwiches available for about $4 USD.
The best view was at the Buenavista Cafe. It’s on a cliff overlooking the ocean, and for some reason it costs exactly the same as any other cafe in the city. Great place to drink a coffee, read, and listen to the waves down below!
We didn’t find a single bar that we love love loved in Lima (please, leave us your suggestions in the comments so that we can hit them up next time!) But we found a few that we enjoyed!
Selina is a little bar down a weird little alleyway full of other bars. We stumbled on it by accident when the bar we were actually looking for was closed for Easter weekend. Selina, on the other hand, was open. Turned out to be a hotel bar, but it was chill and Brooklyn-y and there was a couch for us to sit on, which is always a plus!
Cafe de la Paz is right in Parque Kennedy, so yeah it’s a tourist scam, and yeah it’s a little more pricey. BUT it’s nice to sit outside and have a drink in the park and watch the cats go by, so. Plus, their pisco sour is strong and yummy!
Then the real motherlode of bars in Lima is on what we fondly refer to as Backpacker Alley. You know Backpacker Alley; they exist across the world, from Europe to Asia to South America. Western tourists getting krunk, Selina Gomez blasting non-stop, and those weird little red and green disco lights zooming around the walls, floors, and ceilings like so many speedy, shiny ants. We don’t hate Backpacker Alleys! They’re pretty okay if you’re in the mood! And Lima definitely has one, the Calle Manuel Bonilla. It’s expensive, it’s (slightly) less noisy than the Thailand version, and it’s lively! Worth checking out if you wanna go out and get low-key drunk.
Bonus: THE BEST SNACK!
Guys, there is this snack that they give away FOR FREE in Lima. It appears sometimes at restaurants, sometimes at bars, and it’s always a joyful little surprise when it materializes. Sometimes it’s salty! Sometimes it’s spicy! You never know until you try! It is called Inka Corn, and basically what it is is crunchy, inside-out popcorn. Like, it appears to be a giant unpopped popcorn kernel but ACTUALLY the inside is popcorny, and the outside is crunchy and spiced or salted. Yum yum! You can also buy this in convenience stores, but it’s 100000x more exciting when it just appears free with your beer! Don’t miss this!
Tell us about your favorite bars, restaurants, and cafes in Lima! We’d love suggestions for our next trip! 🙂