Coming to Lima was a bit of a last minute decision. It had the best and cheapest flights back to Argentina, so here I am. I had only 4 days in Lima, so my main goal was to eat, and eat well. So eat, I did!
EL TOKE PEZ:
Av. Angamos 886, Surquillo 15047
I came here before I watched the episode on Netflix (Street Food: Latin America: Lima, Peru). I should have watched the episode first to fully appreciate each small detail. The first and most important thing you should know about El Toke Pez is that it’s delicious, worth it, and you should definitely go.
Netflix informed me that the owner, Toshi, is third generation Japanese born in Peru, to a successful restaurateur father. He calls his restaurant ugly, and himself a loser. Neither of which are true. Toshi earned a PhD in chemistry in England and runs an incredibly successful restaurant in Lima. It’s small. It’s not fancy. But it has charm. El Toke Pez is on a busy main street full of car horns and bus stops.
But once inside, it feels intimate. I chatted with the man who sat on my right, a South Korean/American professor who brought students to Peru for a semester study abroad program. He watched the Netflix episode first.
Both the professor and I ordered the ‘combinado’ for s/25, which is certainly the most popular and necessary dish to order. It comes with three sections: chicharron, ceviche, and rice with seafood. Each individual dish comes with a rich and individual flavor. The rice dish was hot, the ceviche was cold, both seasoned expertly. I couldn’t finish it all but I certainly tried. I rinsed it all down with the included chicha morada (purple corn drink).
According to Google Maps, the place is open every day from 12-4. According to the sign, it’s open from 11:30-3:30. I suggest arriving as close to 11:30 as possible if you want to sit down. I arrived at 12:10, and the line was already 10 deep. I waited 35 minutes in line until my turn arrived. A man came through the line to check if each person wanted to wait and sit, or order take away. Obviously I wanted to sit. Give me that experience, I am not in a hurry.
I finally arrived to my seat at 12:45, and the second I sat down, a beautiful 3-dish plate was served to me. I enjoyed every moment, including the parts where I started to feel full and could no longer take it. This was the best food I’ve had in Lima, and definitely the best ceviche I’ve had in Peru. The line was still several people deep when I left.
Calle Berlin 15048, Miraflores
I was told that Calle Berlin is the place to go for sandwiches, and so I went. I walked by several shops and finally settled on El Burguero, which had both the lunch menu option (s/15) as well as a sandwich menu. I ordered the sandwich clasico (& a lemonade for s/24), which was a thin chicken breast, lettuce, tomato, mayo, a side of fries, and nothing to write home about. I’ve tasted better, I’ve tasted worse. Next time I’ll get the lunch menu.
After having lunch at El Burguero I decided to take a walk over to the cliffs along the water. I wanted to see the sea. As I strolled along the ocean overlook path, I passed a woman selling churros. They were fat and filled with dulce de leche and I wanted to try (s/3). It wasn’t warm, it wasn’t cold, but it was delicious and exactly what I was craving.
A perfect snack for a grey, foggy day stroll along the coast of Lima. Also presenting in this photo my many bug bites from Machu Picchu. Ta-da!
Genova 101, Barranco 15063
The same friend who recommended I try Morena Peruvian Kitchen in Cusco, also recommended I come here. Because of the true beauty of Morena, he had gained my solid trust when it comes to food, and I knew I had to come.
Canta Rana is in the center of the Barranco neighborhood, which is worth a visit itself. I came on a Sunday, and the area was full of markets- vintage market, handmade market, craft market. I saw at least 5 different Sunday markets around the hood.
Canta Rana sits on the corner, and once the line starts forming around 1pm, the line goes down the block away from the main door. There are tables both outside and inside. The sidewalk seating is on the small street and on a nice day is very desirable. I got sat inside and had a front row seat to the chaos. This place is BUSY. The workers run around, working hard and fast. The food comes out surprisingly slower than expected for a place with a line out the door, but once it does come, it is delicious. And rich. I had the spinach ravioli with the famous Peruvian huancaina sauce. So rich I now have leftovers for dinner. Raviolis + lemonade + 10% tip = s/ 41.
In the center of 7 de Julio/Kennedy Park
After leaving El Toke Pez yesterday, I decided I should probably try watching the Netflix show that helped increase its popularity. The episode was good, and what I also found there was Picarones Mary, in the center of Kennedy Park. So, of course, I went. I wanted a little sweet something after lunch.
Picarones are fried dough in the shape of a donut. Though it may surprise you when they don’t taste like a donut at all. The dough is made of pumpkin and sweet potato, then deep fried. A sugary glaze, almost molasses-like, is then poured over the top.
I wanted to like these, and I almost did. I liked them for the moment, but I can’t see myself ever craving them in the future. Just a one and done kinda food for me. But I’m glad I tried them. Five came in the package, I ate 3, and 2 went to the trash can. 5 picarones for s/ 8.