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Lima’s Neighborhood Gems

Catedral de Lima

Catedral de Lima

Lima is a sprawling seaside city of more than 9 million people with dozens of distinct districts. It can seem overwhelming, but stay focused on these three areas of Peru’s capital and you’ll discover the city’s most compelling hotels, culture and cuisine.
 

 

Miraflores

Autor II is a boutique B & B with five quirky, light-filled rooms. Don’t look for a sign because there isn’t one. A few blocks from the hotel is the Amano Pre-Columbian Textile Museum, where an enormous collection of textiles—some dating back thousands of years—is displayed expertly with descriptive materials in English as well as Spanish. You don’t have to love textiles to appreciate the beauty. The Lot Boutique Hotel, a stylish yet homey eight-room hostelry, is within walking distance of Miraflores’ popular restaurant row on Avenida Mariscal La Mar. For sustainable and succulent seafood, head to casually elegant La Mar Cebicheria, one of many restaurants from Peru’s original celebrity chef Gastón Acurio. Don’t miss the inventive chilcanos (a cocktail made with pisco and ginger ale) and make a reservation. Peruvian chef Moma Adrianzen spent years cooking in kitchens in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Oceania. Now he’s back home with Jeronimo on Avenida Mariscal La Mar, where the menu shows off what he learned around the world, including legit tacos (with handmade tortillas), seared tuna and barbecue pulled pork.
 

 

Barranco

The artistic heart of Lima is home to the city’s best boutique hotel, wide-ranging museums and the new location of Peru’s most lauded restaurant. Hotel B, housed in a stately renovated mansion where history and hipness mingle, is one of only four Relais & Châteaux hotels in Peru (and the only one in Lima). From the champagne at check-in to the art-filled walls, no detail is too small. The hotel bar is presided over by champion mixologist Jose Luis Valencia (sign up for his cocktail course while you’re at the hotel), but also make your way to Juanito, the 80-year-old traditional watering hole in Barranco, which is packed with politicians and artists who come for the affordable cocktails and convivial atmosphere.

More tradition awaits at Isolina Taberna Peruana, where large portions of the dishes that Peruvian grandmothers used to make earned this neighborhood hot spot a place on the list of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants for the first time in 2016. Speaking of best restaurants, in June 2018, chefs Virgilio Martínez and Pía León will move their chart-topping restaurant Central (No. 5 on the list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and No. 1 on the Latin American list) from its current location in Miraflores to new digs in a sprawling former factory and artists’ studio space in Barranco. Go for the rightly famous tasting menu and make a reservation well in advance.

Despite the closing of the Tupac CCCC studios to make room for Central, Barranco is still home to many artists’ ateliers and you can tour them, meet artists and purchase work during the annual Barranco Open Studios event every April. Street art thrives in Barranco as well, along with niche museums such as MATE, a chic shrine to the work of Peruvian fashion and portrait photographer Mario Testino; the petite but powerful Museo de Arte Contemporáneo; and Museo Pedro de Osma, where a vast collection of colonial, Inca and Tiahuanaco art is displayed in the architecturally stunning home of philanthropist and art collector Pedro de Osma Gildemeister.
 

 

San Isidro

Some of Lima’s best young chefs rub shoulders with established culinary stars in this genteel neighborhood, which is also home to one of the city’s buzziest hotels, Atemporal. Opened in 2016 by the team behind the Titilaka hotel on Lake Titicaca (another Relais & Châteaux property), the nine-room Atemporal is playful, polished and worthy of the hype. On the border between San Isidro and Miraflores, the hotel is just a block from the Huaca Pucllana archaeological site, where guided tours of this ceremonial center—built between 400 and 650—are available. Meat lovers should head to Osso, which started as a butcher shop in a Lima suburb but is now No. 27 on the list of the 50 Best Restaurants in Latin America. Osso creator Renzo Garibaldi teamed up with chef Ciro Watanabe (his Osaka restaurant in Santiago, Chile, is also renowned) to open DonDoh Robata Grill, a Japanese-style robata grill that boasts the city’s largest selection of whiskey. At Félix Brasserie—an offering from top chef Rafael Osterling, known for his restaurant Rafael—you can enjoy modern, sophisticated takes on pasta and seafood in a relaxed setting. San Isidro is also home to Astrid y Gastón, where chef Gastón Acurio’s fame began back in 1994 and where the tasting menu remains a classic Lima experience.

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