By Maureen Santucci
Now that visitors are spending a bit more time in Lima, they’re looking for places to branch out besides the typical tours and tourist destinations. The standard so-called “Lima City Tour” only focuses on some of the historic places in the downtown area. But with a metropolis this size, you could spend weeks visiting all there is to see. One place that is beginning to get more attention is Chorrillos.
Once a seaside resort that only the wealthy could afford, Chorrillos was almost completely destroyed during the War of the Pacific and was further devastated during an earthquake in 1940. Nonetheless, some beautiful old buildings can still be found here and there in this section of Peru’s capitol city.
It’s a great place to go walk along the water, in a locale that’s less traveled than Miraflores or Barranco. You can even get fresh seafood right at the beach. If you’re adventurous, there is an area that is pretty low-brow but still offers really tasty ceviche. If your stomach is not quite up for that type of adventure, there are plenty of great restaurants in town.
One of the best, and a more recent arrival, is Ballaró Restaurant. The building itself is pretty nondescript from the outside but the clean minimalist interior décor provides a kind of casual elegance. It’s the type of place you’d feel just as comfortable in jeans as in more of a black tie sort of garment.
But as comfortable as the surroundings are, you’re here for the food which is nothing short of fabulous. The chef/owner hails from Sicily and it shows. I’ve lived in Peru for 7 years and can tell you that authentic Italian food is extremely difficult to come by. Almost every time someone has told me that a place serves “great” and “authentic” Italian food, I’ve been disappointed.
I’m from New York originally. My ex-in-laws were Italian. If there’s one thing I know, it’s Italian food. So take it from me… this place is worth a visit to Chorrillos all on its own. Whether you choose a traditional meal like lasagna or ravioli, or opt for one of the many delicious seafood dishes, your tastebuds will be happy.
Be sure to accompany your meal with a fine bottle of wine, and end it with a digestivo of Limoncello. If you can manage it, try to find some space for the house tiramisu as well. It may well ruin you for anyone else’s rendition. In fact, writing this right now, my mouth is watering for my next visit. Somehow I think it will be sooner than later.
Chances are you probably aren’t staying in Chorrillos. Top off your evening (if you aren’t ready for bed after indulging yourself) by stopping off at one of the many bars that Lima’s Bohemian district, Barranco, has to offer, such as Ayahuasca or the Victorian. Housed in mansions from the turn of the century, put them on your list just for the architecture, if not for one more chance to try the national liquor, pisco.
Malecon Grau 1157
+51 12 481 594
Originally from the US, Maureen Santucci now calls the ancient Peruvian capital of Cusco home, where she has lived for 7 years, working as a travel consultant as well as writing for Fodors Travel Guide. This article was written on behalf of Aracari Travel, experts in providing luxury tours to Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.