This City Is Considered One Of The Top Foodie Destinations In South America

South America is attractive to visitors for a plethora of reasons. Whether it's the pristine beaches of Brazil or the dramatic glaciers of Patagonia, there seems to be something for every type of traveler on this colorful continent. For those looking to indulge in not only some of the continents but also the world's best food, a visit to one particular city in Peru is simply a requirement.

Lima, the capital of Peru, is a foodie haven with world-class cuisine. Home to a mix of eclectic street food and top-tier restaurants, there's no shortage of flavorful local delicacies when visiting this bustling city. Peruvian cuisine is heavy on citrus and spice and offers palate cleansers in its abundance of fresh fruit and a wide variety of starchy vegetables. The country might best be known for Machu Picchu, but Lima specifically is a perfect destination on its own for those looking to indulge in some of the world's top-notch gastronomy.

Iconic Peruvian dishes

If you're headed to Lima, we hope you come hungry because the options are almost endless. Let's start with a dish you're probably familiar with — ceviche. Ceviche is one of Peru's most famed dishes, with the unique addition of leche de tigre, which translates to Tiger's Milk, but in actuality means the leftover liquid from marinating ceviche.

You'll also want to get your hands on lomo saltado, a salty beef stir fry made with veggies and frequently served with French fries. Lomo saltado has Chinese influence and is one of the many evident examples of the large presence of Chinese migrants in Peru, dating back over 160 years. In fact, if you want to venture out of typical Peruvian cuisine, Chinese takeout is not too difficult to find. If you're a fan of organ meat, Lima's got you covered with anticuchos. Anticuchos are beef heart skewers marinated in lime, garlic, cumin, and chili peppers and are a common street food throughout the city. 

No visit to Lima is complete without trying some potato variety. Peru is home to over 4,000 potato varieties, so move over Ireland. One of the most iconic potato dishes is causa, a layered potato and avocado dish, often with an additional layover of meat or fish. This list is by no means extensive, as there are plenty of other famed Peruvian dishes. Whatever you choose to eat, make sure to wash it down with a Pisco sour.

The top restaurants in town

Lima is not only home to great cuisine in general, but it is, in fact, home to the world's best restaurant. According to the highly esteemed World's 50 Best Restaurants List, Central in Lima was voted the No. 1 spot for 2023. Run by Virgilio Martínez, Central first made its appearance on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list in 2013 at No. 50. Safe to say, getting a reservation here is difficult, but if you can manage, you should not miss the opportunity to dine at this widely praised eatery.

Maido also made the list, coming in at No. 6. Still an impressive and admirable feat, Maido impressed the masses with its Japanese meets Peruvian cuisine by Chef Mitsuharu 'Micha' Tsumura. Coming in at No. 28 was Kjolle, yet another highly-praised Lima restaurant. Central Head Chef Alum Pía León runs Kjolle and emphasizes serving food as colorful as the rainbow. 

Finally, there's Mayta. Mayta ranked No. 46 on the Top 50 Restaurant List for 2023, and it's no surprise it made the cut. Mayta focuses heavily on Peruvian ingredients, with dishes like goat served with Andean herbs, Amazonian ceviche, and even a full Pisco bar to help diners explore outward of the typical Pisco sour.