Papacho’s. Avenida La Paz 1045, Miraflores. Lima

This is a Gastón Acurio restaurant, so these are the gourmet burgers of the city. We were impressed by the quality of the meat, the veggie options (six in total! Six! Including lentil and chickpea patties) and the decor. The prices and service need a little improvement, though. Paying $10 for a veggie burger and $12 for a beef variety seems a little bit high, and I was expecting there to be about 20% more meat between the bun. The bread is average, but the varieties of toppings and sauces are dizzying. Onion rings were good – though maybe not crunchy enough -and sweet potato fries were almost perfectly cut and cooked. Well-heeled families come here on Sundays while Miraflores residents, businessmen and foreigners make it here at all other times. Look no further for the best burgers in town, though my pocket would be more suited to the surprisingly good burger a la pobre – for a third of the price – at Lima Cricket and Football Club.

$$$

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ámaZ. Av.La Paz 1079, Miraflores. Lima

Featured on Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown series, ámaZ is a stunning space with a truly unique menu: jungle food as haute cuisine. There are such a huge variety of fruits, roots and vegetables in the Amazon that are underused, and sometimes unknown, especially in the big cities; ámaZ is there to promote these Peruvian gems of the jungle and make a lot of money along the way. Located in a small block of expensive restaurants, its decor is well-executed, with mixes of dark and light wood, canopies of large leaves and ceilings of densely arranged stakes and spikes. Service is prompt, helpful and informative, and they even have a menu on a tablet that allows you to flip through beautiful pictures of the dishes. This helped us a lot; we ordered the Conchas canga con camu camu, huge scallops with a sweet-sour sauce ($15), Patarashca de dorado, a large portion of rich river fish cooked in bamboo leaf ($18) and Moqueca de camaron tarapotino, a coconut-milk Thai-style prawn curry with rice ($17). All impressed to an extent, but none of them popped or fizzed. The cocktails were like loaded pulp juices, slow movers that worked their inebriation stealthily.

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Cónchale. Av.Cesar Canevaro, Lince. Lima

This place boasts the highest quality set lunch at the lowest price: a jaw-droppingly cheap $2.50 for two courses and a tiny dessert. They have pricier options too, from the ‘achorado’ combo ($12.50) to the ‘abusivo’ ($22) that looks like it could feed a very hungry family with beer needs; portions are large, in general. The fish is merely good but the beef is wonderfully cooked, while the soups and rice choices are average. A glass of jungle-fruit juice – for I will never ever remember the names of the numerous exotic varieties of edible tree-decorations – is included. The first time we went we had a refreshing mandarin jelly for dessert, the second time we were offered a gloopy , so I wouldn’t necessarily save space for dessert.
$

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Tarboush. Av. Diagonal 358, Miraflores. Lima

A very friendly and noisy little cafe facing Parque Kennedy, Tarboush has decent, affordable Shawarmas ($3 for a delicious lamb one) and Falafel wraps ($2.50). There are larger plates of rice and salads if you’ve got the appetite. Coffee is average, music is loud and the terrace is the place to be, perfect for watching the Miraflores crowds bustle by. Francisco the waiter is a jolly, energetic fella and will help you with your choices.

$

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Café MATE. Avenida Pedro de Osma 409, Barranco, Lima

One of the best carrot cakes I’ve ever had and a very smooth cappuccino in the courtyard of the Asociacion Mario Testino photography gallery was a good choice for a cool, lazy Sunday. The gallery itself is a shallow exercise in celebrity snaps and loud colours, and even though the good at the cafe is a little overpriced, service is very friendly and quality is extremely high.

$$$

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Dánica. Av. Emilio Cavenecia 170, San Isidro. Lima

We tried the Pear and Gorgonzola pizza here, along with a Maracuya sour and a Canela sour. Everything was delicious, and salads look reassuringly large with grand chunks of meat served separately to add as you see fit. Service was a little slow on the Saturday evening we went, but they do seem to care. Prices are high, but this is a fairly upmarket Italian joint in Miraflores after all.

$$$

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La Esquina. Calle Berlin 920, Miraflores. Lima

This wine bar is open until 3am, and it gets pretty busy on weekends with thirty- and forty-somethings. The choice of glasses and bottles is fairly good, but prices are predictably quite high for certain European choices. Our glasses of Chilean red and Argentinian Santa Ana white were $7 each. Sherry, Lambrusco and champagne (from $80) are also available. Small pieces of soft bread are served with mini-syringes filled with olive oil. It’s a nice gimmick, but quite fiddly.
The manzana y cabra montaditos (apple and goats cheese with cinnamon sauce canapés) we ordered were sweet and very moreish. Music is very varied, ranging from chanson to soft electronic.

$$$

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