For the traveller looking to weave wellness into their vacation, it is not an activity that is booked one afternoon. It is a destination that offers healthy alternatives and positive energy at every turn. Wellness travellers, welcome to Lima.
The City of Kings may not have been named so because of the glorious culinary offerings fit for royalty, although the restaurants in Peru’s capital have certainly made a strong case for this theory. As the red-hot dining scene continues to mature and evolve, the newest chapter in Lima’s gastronomical legacy has brought a tidal wave of vegetarian, vegan, organic and farm-to-table concepts to the city.
Although organically sourced ingredients and vegetable dishes even a ten-year-old would drool over are not exactly ground-breaking ideas to many cosmopolitan visitors, this is a bit of a curveball for the Peruvian diet that has followed the same (albeit successful) formula for centuries. The creative vegan and vegetarian spins on signature Peruvian dishes can almost be seen as a fusion cuisine. Rather than blending another nationality’s flavours into the pot, such as Nikkei (Japanese/Peruvian fusion), this newest round of restaurants has sprinkled in a contemporary understanding of healthy diet and ingredient combinations that act as catalysts to release maximum nutritional value.
"Lima offers a full catalogue of restaurants following this new mantra; some endeavour in the exploration of responsible and organic trends while others attempt to conquer the vegan world."
La Verde, for instance, is an upscale vegan option in Miraflores, that offers almost every option you could ever dream of from a bistro-style location in Lima. Raw Café is another good choice for vegans looking for conscious, healthier options. This comfy café chain is known not only for their delicious dishes but also for the colourful, picture-perfect look of their plates and their accompanying small superfood store that shows some Peruvian star vegan products. In terms of eco-friendly approach, Armónica Café is an all-time favourite. Although they aren´t fully vegetarian, their organically-sourced ingredients and vegan-friendly menu can convince even the most dedicated meat-lover to try a vegetable-based plate. Also, they are quite popular for their wide variety of smoothies, taking advantage of the wide variety of fresh fruits in Peru.
The vegetable invasion has not remained politely within the limits of the main touristic centres and upper-class neighbourhoods. These brash newcomers have infiltrated nearly every barrio along The Green Coast, imposing dietary awareness and opening the doors for a wider onslaught of next generation entrepreneurs to continue offering healthy and holistic alternatives for the local population and visitors alike.
The City of Kings was named so for outdated reasons; the local residents have maintained the title, and updated the way of life so they can continue to thrive and prosper as the Kings who landed on these shores so many centuries ago.
A never-ending selection of cafés across the city is one of the many reasons to come and experience Lima. Peruvian fare, including its keen eye for sustainability practices, pairs perfectly with home-grown coffee. Whether catching up with friends over an iced tea, finishing up work on the terrace with a light breakfast, or just people watching from the wide windows of your local shop with a pour over, come see the heart of South America.
If one needs an introduction to Peruvian cocktails, consider the Pisco Sour. A delightful drink of native grapes – a type of brandy with a rigorous vetting process – and frothed egg white, it is known the world over for its flavor, appearance, and authentic Peruvian identity. It is iconic, well-balanced, and remarkably tasty, but it is just the beginning of what this country, and its capital city, have to offer.