El Bolivarcito. Jiron de la Union 926. Lima

The smaller, cheaper version of the famous Bolivar does a fantastic Pisco Sour Catedral, made with the excellent Ocucaje for S/.20; the regular version is half the price. Bolitas de yuca (S/.10) were very plain and uninspiring, with an insipid Huancaina sauce.
But what will really hit you as you walk in is the well-established stench of sweat: we reckon it’s all down to the forlorn overworked waiters. No music, nor much real ambience, but clean and functional and located slap-bang on the beautiful Plaza San Martin.

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Ceviche. Esquina de San Felipe y Angamos Este. Surquillo. Lima

He’s here for a few hours most weekdays, and locally famous for a reason: this really is excellent ceviche, spiky and tangy, and great value. The S/.5 plate is loaded with pulpo and fish, some chicharrones, red onions and a bit of yuka. The secret to the taste, however, is in the leche de tigre, a spicy citrus marinade that you’ll want to bottle and take home; luckily it’s also available in a cup with a few morsels of fish for S/.3 for those on the move.
An unmissable experience at excellent value.

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Siam Thai. Av Caminos del Inca 467. Santiago de Surco. Lima

Lima needs more of these – just one Thai restaurant in such a gastronomic city means that this joint is constantly packed, and waiting an hour for a table is not uncommon. The decor is beautifully restrained: glowing orange fixtures over mahogany brown with a touch of bamboo’n’buddha. Service can be stretched at busy times, but is helpful and friendly. The ‘Pla muk yak thok’ pulpo crocante octopus starter looks great but La Alta found it a bit too graphic so we went for the ‘Kung yang’ brochetas de langostinos (grilled shrimp skewers) which were delicate and had real bite and subtle spice. The Indian-style fish curry was magnificent, and the Pad Thai – customized with tofu for us – a breezy, tasty version of one of my favourite dishes of all time. It is all predictably expensive, but worth doing if you’re in the area and hankering for a taste of South-East Asia in a city with a real dearth of it.

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Twist Gourmet Burger Bar. Av Grau 384, Barranco. Lima

The crusade to bring gourmet burgers to Lima has been taken up by only a few brave restauranteurs, and the young English lad that started Twist is certainly passionate about good grub. The meat here is excellent: thick chunky patties of quality beef, but you’re going to pay a bit for it: S/.24 to be exact. You get a choice of fries, onion rings or hash browns and I’d recommend all of them. The Barranco burger is a spicy one, the Caprese comes with a side of olives, the Mexican burger with jalapeño and guac, the French burger with camembert cheese and grapes, and the Philadelphia with cream cheese – all are fantastic. The veggie burgers are both mushroom-based and the spicy chicken salad is loaded with fresh veggies. Service is friendly and decor is industrial-chic; free wi-fi and a great selection of drinks means that I can’t recommend it enough.

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Burrito Bar. Av Grau 113, Barranco. Lima

An excellent hole-in-the-wall with a solid local reputation, this six table joint serves up tasty, spicy burritos and tacos with a choice of regular Cusqueña or Sierra Andina micro-brew beers, or Margaritas if you’re in the mood for something stronger. Giant carnitas, veggie, or chicken burritos are wrapped with guacamole, sour-cream, black beans, lettuce, tomatoes and hot sauce in fresh hand-made tortillas (S/.15). The result is definitely more than just the sum of its parts. Delish fish tacos (S/.5) and salads (S/.8) are available for those with smaller appetites. Don’t miss out on this one if you’re in Barranco.

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