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For adventurous eaters, Lima is a paradise. Its kitchens are a melting pot of cuisines from various cultures, some of which are well-honed and integrated into the local cuisine, and some of which have just popped up. The Peruvian capital is a wonderland of opportunity for eaters interested in flavor — and street food that moves beyond hot dogs and sausages. Here are five of the best places to eat in Lima for those who are serious about food.
1. La Mar. La Mar is where Peru's best-known chef creates Peru's best-known cuisine. This cevichería does every imaginable variation on traditional recipes, and also delivers them unchanged, much to the chagrin of those who say that particular variations can't be done in highbrow fashion.
2. Chala. This restaurant is an upscale bistro in Barranco where the creative use of Peruvian fruits and herbs is unlike any you’ve ever tasted before. There's a focus on seafood, but other meat-based dishes pepper the menu, too.
3. Costanera 700. You may have experienced the fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine elsewhere (Nobu, for example), but this restaurant is one of Lima’s best local options for trying fresh sashimi prepared with a South American accent. From seafood ceviche to tempura langoustines, everything served is delicately flavorful and expertly prepared.
4. Café Verde. This café is the kind of upscale, unpretentious European bistro that you might hope to find in any city — only the coffee at this one comes with a Peruvian twist. The twist is the fresh-roasted beans, which are locally sourced and then turned into some of the most flavorful and high-octane coffee you've tried. There’s also a pleasant array of pastries to choose from.
5. La Tranquera. If for some reason you tire of Peru's myriad of home-grown cuisines, take a break from fish and feast on the red meat at this Argentine-influenced steakhouse. What this means? Avoid all pastas and anything that cannot be thrown atop the charcoal, and do not bring vegetarians along.