5 Best Restaurants in El Centro, Lima

Bar-Restaurante Cordano

$ | El Centro
Dating from 1905, this venerable Lima institution has served up ham sandwiches and pisco sours to Peru's presidents for over a century. Every inch of the décor—the worn wooden bar, the old black-and-white photos, the well-stocked saloon shelves and cabinets—oozes history. Try the butifarra (marinated pork with zarza criolla on a homemade roll), or, if you're famished, the bistec con tacu-tacu (steak with pan-fried rice and beans).

El Fayke Piurano

$$ | El Centro
This bustling two-story eatery specializes in comida norteña—northern cooking from the city of Piura. That means delicious grouper cebiche,seco de cabrito (goat stew), and green tamales—all in gut-busting portions. This is a classic example of what Peruvians call a huarique: a hole-in-the-wall restaurant where in-the-know locals go for homestyle cooking—at prices that won't break the bank.

L'Eau Vive

$$ | El Centro

Run by nuns who serve satisfying (though not extraordinary) French food and sing the "Ave Maria" nightly at 9, L'Eau Vive sits in a restored mansion across the street from Palacio Torre Tagle. Trout baked in cognac and duck in orange sauce are two dishes that bring the locals back time and again. The floors and furnishings do not do justice to the colonial architecture.

Jr. Ucayali 370, Lima, 01, Peru
Known For
  • Singing nuns
  • Inexpensive three-course lunches
  • Solid French cooking
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Closed 3:30–7:30 and Sun, Credit cards accepted

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La Muralla

$$ | El Centro

Hungry office workers crowd this excellent criollo restaurant every day at lunchtime for heaping plates of fettucinne a la huancaína (pasta in cheese sauce) and pescado a lo macho (fish topped with spicy seafood). The setting, looking out over Lima's old fortified walls, is one of the greenest you'll find downtown. Don't miss the lomo saltado (beef stir-fried with peppers and onions): Gastón Acurio himself has called it one of Lima's best.

A second, less-scenic branch can be found on the Plaza San Martín.

Wa Lok

$$ | El Centro

The best chifa in Chinatown, Wa Lok is known for such memorable dishes as calamares rellenos (shrimp-stuffed squid tempura), taipá (wok-fried chicken, pork, shrimp, and vegetables), and pato pekinés (Peking duck). It's best to go with a group and share, or ask for half orders. Vegetarians can choose from more than 30 dishes. The surrounding neighborhood is sketchy after dark, so at dinnertime you're better off heading to the Miraflores branch, on the corner of Avenida Angamos Oeste and Calle Arica.

Jr. Paruro 878, Lima, 01, Peru
Known For
  • Traditional Chinese cuisine
  • Excellent Peking duck
  • Good seafood
Restaurant Details
Rate Includes: Credit cards accepted