Practical information : Eating out Peru
Peruvians eat at all hours! It is not uncommon that as early as 6am, the street vendors are at their post for a breakfast at the corner of the street. Restaurants usually serve from 12 to 2pm and from 6 to 9pm. In Lima and the larger cities, you can find options outside of these hours, but generally have lunch or dinner early. Weekends are busier and some restaurants close on Mondays to compensate, but this is an exception.
Budget & Tips
All price ranges can be found here. There are many ways to find small snacks or hearty meals from street vendors, markets or small popular restaurants. However, if you stop at a cafeteria, a good quality coffee and a sandwich or cake will easily cost S/25 to S/30, the price of a full menu elsewhere. It's all a matter of taste and desire.
Meals up to S/ 30. It is possible to eat for less in many establishments within the cities. The most touristy places are not always the cheapest. For the cheapest restaurants, check the hygiene conditions. They rarely accept payment by credit card. Many restaurants offer a set menu at lunchtime with suggestions on the slate, but desserts are rare.
Meals range from S/ 30 to S/ 100. A la carte, you will find happiness in this price range for quality products. We eat well and generously in Peru, do not worry. Some small hotels will also make dishes on request. Be careful, the bill rises quickly if you add alcohol, a dessert or a coffee
It is possible to ask to bring an uneaten portion "para llevar".
What costs extra
Tipping is more than welcome here. In small restaurants with menus it is not customary, but not unwelcome either. In restaurants or cafeterias it is not uncommon to be asked if you want to add your "tip" on the credit card for example, so that the color is announced. This is not an obligation, you can also leave some coins
Drinking water carafes like bread baskets are not available on the tables, you have to order them separately. Water is still often bottled. Menus often come with a glass of refresco, lemonade or other fruit-flavoured water, which is usually very sweet.
The local way
For ceviche, you should remember to indicate the level of spiciness you want "bajo en aji", "medio en aji" or "bien picante". It is rare that meats are served blue or red, except in specialized restaurants where you will be asked to choose. It is not a bad idea to order several dishes and share them, especially since the portions are generous. There are also dishes served in fuente made to be shared, especially in cevicherias. In the sierra, many dishes based on boiled meats or soups are also served. In these popular cuisines, everything is valued. It is not uncommon to see a chicken leg floating on the surface of a stew. Watch out for the little pot on the table which is often the aji to spice up the dish.
To be avoided
You will often be asked if you want to drink your drink "helada" (cold) or "sin helar" (at room temperature).
In some bars where cocktails or other items are sold, children are not welcome. Everywhere else, no worries.
All establishments are non-smoking except on the terrace (ask permission, it depends on the type of establishment). It is rare to smoke during the day or during meals in Peru.
As everywhere, trust the clientele. Hustlers are more common in the village below Machu Picchu and are specialists in getting the final bill wrong. Some foreign specialties can only be eaten in specialized restaurants, in local restaurants it is better to eat local.