It is possible to find vegetarian restaurants in South America but unfortunately most of them are awful, serving up bland, uninspiring fare with too much focus on soya. But in Lima we found the best vegetarian restaurant we have eaten in since Buenos Aires.
AlmaZen is on a completely different level to those veggie set lunch places, delivering quality, inventive, organic food in a lovely setting. Prices are high, painfully high for Peru but absolutely worth it. We were sick of eating average and unhealthy meals and AlmaZen was just what we craved. Despite the price we went there twice.
Located in a quiet part of Miraflores, AlmaZen has a cafe serving tea and cakes and a small dining room with just four tables. It’s a classy but homely place with an intimate atmosphere and a friendly owner/ chef happy to chat and answer any questions about the food.
While waiting for our meal we enjoyed complementary home made wholemeal garlic bread and a small cup of herb tea. We ordered strawberry juices without knowing the price (15 soles/US$5!) but the huge glasses of wonderfully flavourful juice were so delicious that we couldn’t resist when we returned.
We shared a starter and each time it was the highlight, giving us the opportunity to try vegetarian versions of Peruvian seafood classics. The avocado and mango ceviche was beautiful (see top photo). The combination of the two fruits with onion in a tangy chilli and lime dressing was incredible. It had been a long time since we had eaten anything so fresh and unique.
On our next visit we went for a similar starter, this time a vegetarian causa. The avocado and mango mixture was served on a bed of creamily soft yellow mashed potato. Divine.
The main courses were just as wonderful. An olive risotto cooked to perfection and stuffed courgette with baby roast potatoes and onions, mashed potatoes and fresh salad.
On our second visit we continued the theme with pepper stuffed with cheese and potato with similar sides to last time including a salad featuring sweet yellow cherry tomatoes.
We also had creamy gnocchi in a yellow garlic sauce.
Everything we ate at AlmaZen was heavenly and worth the crazy 115-125 soles (US $40-45) price tag for two juices, one starter and two mains. This is four times the price we paid for any other meal in Peru, but for this quality you’d be looking at US$100 in the US, so think of it as a bargain!
Address: Recavarren 298, Miraflores, Lima
Opening hours: Mon. to Fri. 11 a.m. – 11 p.m, Sat. 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Telephone: 243 0474
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