With Lima finally coming out from underneath Machu Picchu’s (rightfully) hefty shadows and enjoying its own moment in the gastronomic limelight, the time is ripe to visit the coastal capital of Peru. Aside from the obvious reasons to visit Lima – the ultimate gastronome’s pit stop en route to historically rich Cusco – there is an emerging contemporary art and design culture that the city can offer design-minded visitors looking for a dose of modern city life. ForbesLife went to investigate.
Lima is a city of charming contrasts where important archeological sites meld in with a patchwork of modernist architect designed homes, Miami-esque apartment complexes, shantytowns and (sometimes) preserved colonial buildings. While this may sound like a less than aesthetically pleasing hodgepodge, the result is visually fascinating. Somehow, the city’s speckled landscape draws you in and gives you that magnificent feeling that creativity and cultural discovery isn’t far away.
With a thriving contemporary art scene, new design-centric boutiques and cutting edge art hotels popping up amongst Lima’s internationally lauded, chef-driven restaurants, the city is becoming a destination that speaks not just to the history and gastronomy buffs but more recently to contemporary culture seekers.
GALLERIES – FOR CONTEMPORARY ART HOUNDS
Lucia de la Puente Galeria de Arte
Lucia de la Puente Galeria de arte is one of Peru’s most prestigious and highly regarded contemporary art galleries. Situated in the bohemian arts district of Barranco, the multi-floor exhibition space inside a fully renovated historical mansion plays host to works from cutting-edge Peruvian artists such as Aldo Chaparro, Ramiro Llona and Mariella Agois. The in-house café makes for the perfect refueling station from a day of heavy art watching.
Lucia de la Puente Galeria de Arte Lima
Paseo Sáenz Peña 206, Barranco, Lima, Perú
+51 1 4770237
Originally set up by musician Renzo Gianella and artist Giancarlo Scaglia as a platform to advance the local contemporary art scene, Revolver Galeria presents the new guard of young Latin American artists in its Miraflores gallery space. Together with a strong international artist residency program the gallery’s aim is to breed artistic exchange and dialogue between local and international artists.
Revolver Galeria Lima
Calle General Recavarren, 261, Miraflores 18, Peru
+51 1 2558571
MATE Museo Mario Testino
Celebrated photographer Mario Testino, best known for his iconic imagery of the world’s most famous supermodels has converted a pristine art deco house situated in the colorful Barranco area into an art space that displays some of his most recognizable works as well as temporary exhibitions from Peruvian and international artists.
MATE Museo Mario Testino Lima
Pedro de Osma 409, Barranco 15063, Peru
+51 1 2517755
Museo de Arte Contemporaneo (MAC) Lima
Opened in 2013, MAC Lima is the city’s newest art institution, which has been built inside a minimalistic, warehouse style structure on an expansive piece of land in the municipality of Barranco. With a permanent collection that includes works from famous Peruvian artists like Ramiro Llona and a regularly rotating roster of exhibitions, MAC Lima serves as one of the city’s most influential centers for contemporary art. The museum’s café, which overlooks the park, pond and large-scale art installations, is definitely worth a visit.
Av. Almte. Miguel Grau 1511, Barranco, Peru
+51 1 5146800
CAFES – FOR COFFEE SNOBS
Las Vecinas Eco-Bar
This delightful café located inside a 19th century Barranco mansion serves up a healthy, eco-conscious selection of salads, sandwiches, fresh juices and cakes. With a tiny adjoining organic grocery, a sunlit patio filled with greenery and plenty of charming nooks and crannies to sit in, Las Vecinas Eco-Bar could easily be mistaken for a trendy Northern European neighborhood café.
Las Vecinas Eco-Bar Lima
219, Domeyer, Barranco, Peru
+51 1 4773253
This is the café for serious coffee aficionados. As soon as you set foot inside, the smell of fresh coffee literally smacks you in the face. And as you walk through and notice workers busily hand-sorting coffee beans in the in-house roasting room you quickly understand why. Take your perfect cup of coffee through to the inviting garden and enjoy it amongst the coffee bean plants.
Café Bisetti Lima
Pedro de Osma 116, Barranco 15063, Peru
+51 1 7139565
RESTAURANTS – FOR THE MODERN GASTRONOME
This canopied open-air lunch restaurant has as much color, vibrancy and energy as the food it serves. The beachside market vibe seems to attract the who’s who of Lima for a casual power lunch orchestrated by one of the country’s most celebrated chefs; Rafael Osterling. Stick to the Peruvian classics like causa and ceviche and the restaurant’s enormous menu shouldn’t be too overwhelming.
El Mercado Lima
Hipólito Unanue 203, Miraflores, Lima 18, Perú
+511 221 1322
Located in the fashionable Miraflores area of Lima, Mayta’s crowd definitely mirrors its locale. Expect Peruvian classics cooked with the finesse of a well-traveled chef. Don’t go past Mayta’s duck rice, which is both comforting and delicious.
Av 28 de Julio 1290, Lima, Peru
+51 1 4465430
Central boasts one of the most considered menus in the country. Each dish on the ever-changing 17-course degustation menu has been arranged by sea level and includes exotic delicacies from the Amazon Rainforest, which have been treated with the utmost culinary creativity and flair. A glass-enclosed open kitchen creates a quietly energized atmosphere where diners can appreciate first-hand, the level of thought and craft put into their food.
Central Restaurant Lima
Santa Isabel 376 Miraflores Lima, Peru, Peru
+51 1 2428515
Isolina Taberna Peruana
Newly opened in the Barranco district, the bustling Isolina Taberna Peruana clearly has the local crowd excited about its arrival. Entering the inviting interior space which has been designed with natural materials, soaring ceiling heights, plenty of natural light and tiling worthy of an #ihavethisthingwithfloors hashtag, you can see why the restaurant has become an instant favorite. The classic home-style Peruvian food inspired by the owner’s mother’s recipes is what keeps the locals coming back.
Isolina Taberna Lima
Avenida San Martín Prolongacion 101 Lima, Peru
+51 1 2475075
SHOPPING – FOR THE DESIGN AFFICIONADO
Situated in the posh San Isidro district is Lima’s premier contemporary interior design concept store. Originally a private mansion built in the 1940s, the by appointment only showroom boasts an impressive collection of design pieces from the likes of Tom Dixon, Mooi, Cassina and Flos. The sprawling outdoor space invites visitors to stay a while and talk design with the passionate husband and wife owners who are dedicated to educating and promoting contemporary design and architecture to the local market.
Av. Salaverry 3361, San Isidro, Lima 27, Perù
WHERE TO STAY – FOR THE LUXURY JET SETTER
Aesthetically inclined travelers visitors to Lima should look no further than Hotel B. This elegant, art-filled hotel bears a strong resemblance to a Peruvian art collector’s manor house and the collection is so substantial it almost rivals the city’s leading contemporary art museum. Each corner of the hotel has been given equal amounts of attention and adorned with subtle Belle Époque details which mingle effortlessly with contemporary design elements like the stunning living green wall located in the Hotel’s alfresco dining area.
Hotel B Lima
Sáenz Peña 204, Barranco, Lima 15063, Peru
+51 1 2060800