You’re hungry, your wallet is kind of empty, and you’re in Lima, the capital of one of the countries with the best gastronomy in the world. The first thing that comes to your mind is “What are the Best Places to Eat Cheap in Lima?” and that’s why you’ll probably decide to lunch or dinner in any corner that seems cheap. Maybe it’s time to leave the “tourist cliché” at home and get to know some tricks and tips to satisfy your belly and your pocket.
To help you with this challenge, I remind you that there’s no need to search for a perfect place in every corner of Lima. It’s not a lie that there are many places to eat cheap in this city, but the ones that stand out more will appear in this post. These places are well-known for their inexpensive meals, and it’s something that many Peruvians can prove to you. If you’re ready to check these great options to eat delicious food without spending a lot of money, then keep reading below!
“Daily Menu”: Your best ally
If there’s something awesome about this city, it’s that people here eat A LOT. This means that you’ll always find a restaurant with a big portion of food ready to be served. These places have affordable prices, but some people get nervous because the hygiene conditions can be doubtful. Luckily, I’m able to give you some tips to be sure where to order a good menu without risking your health!
- Take a look at the environment in the restaurant, it should look clean and comfy. It doesn’t need to be huge, but it should look clear. If the spot has impeccable tables and walls, it’s more than enough. You should look a remarkable door to the kitchen or at least a cleansed window, that gives confidence most of the time since it means they have nothing to hide, or at least that’s what people think at first sight.
- Most of the reliable locals put their menu prices in the entry or at least over the tables. This is not a must every time, but it can be a little bit strange if the prices are not visible. This is an important point to consider -at least for me- since these places are not high-class restaurants. The owners of these locals know pretty well that they sell ‘cause of their fair prices for a portion of great food.
- Even if it sounds absurd, check if the place is crowded in typical lunch hours. These hours tend to be at 12:00 P.M or 2:00 P.M. at most. If the place is crowded at this time, that means it has an excellent menu option for you. I know it’s hard to believe and sometimes we don’t want to wait to have a delicious plate of food, but sometimes this is necessary to avoid any trouble in the future -basically any stomach issue-.
If you consider these tips, you’ll probably choose an excellent low-cost restaurant to eat something tasty without wasting effort. If you want a range of prices, most of the “menus” cost between S./10 and S./15 which is probably between $3 and $4, so yeap…it’s quite cheap if this includes soups, salads, drinks, and also desserts.
If you stick to fast-food, it’s time to use coupons and discounts
You probably prefer to stick to something familiar or at least common to your mouth. In that case, you can go to the classical Mcdonald’s or KFC, but take advantage of the daily discounts they offer, and of course, DO NOT THROW THE BILLS. Always check your bills first to make sure that you’re not throwing away any discount or special opportunity.
If I’m honest with you, I’m a big fan of Mcdonald’s Duos, I recommend them since they only cost S./8 or S./10 at most (between $3 and $4). And if fried chicken is your fav, I highly suggest combos in KFC o Popeyes, mostly because the spicy flavor is amazing.
The best coupons are in Burger King, or at least that’s what I think. They offer a variety of options and they have a coupon book almost every time.
What you should consider is that these sites don’t offer you an enormous amount of food, and if you want a big portion, you need to pay more, but I think that’s something normal with these places everywhere. However, for those who love a big burger and a lot of sauces, I recommend Bembos, it’s a Peruvian fast-food brand, and its meals are affordable and delicious.
Best place to Eat Cheap in Lima: Cercado or Downtown
If we talk about places to eat a lot of tasty food at a good price, we have to mention Lima Downtown or “Cercado de Lima”.
It’s true that in North and South Lima you’ll find hundreds of places to eat low-cost food. That even happens where I live (Barranco), which is an expensive district. But I have to say, the magic in Downtown is charming, it’s not only a cute restaurant with nice food, but it’s also much more. You can feel the warmth of the people, the beauty of its streets and at the same time taste new things that can cost only $2 or even less!
Another point to mention about this typical site in Lima is its classical environment and delicate architecture. It’s not a lie that it has some dangerous places and you have to take care of your stuff, but this place is still enjoyable.
If you walk through “Jirón de la Unión”, you’ll see lots of restaurants with economical “Menú”, but with a variety of plates and most of them are trusty. You just have to walk a little until you find the perfect place for you if you want to try Peruvian food.
Don’t worry, these places are not something to be afraid of if you pay attention to them, and if you remember the tips I gave at the beginning of this post 😉
Seize The Chinatown in Lima
Inside Cercado de Lima, there’s the well-known Chinatown. This is an excellent place to eat cheap, not just because of the typical “chifas” or Chinese restaurants, but for other things too. You can enjoy some anticuchos, choclo or even local candies with just 1 DOLLAR, which in change it’s S/2 or S/3.
I highly recommend you try any Chinese snack from one special corner where everything it’s just S/2 (it’s not even a dollar), and they taste amazing. This place has a huge variety of Chinese snacks, from min paos to even wings, that’s right, one chicken wing for less than 1 dollar, it’s a must!
I could give you a long list of other things to taste in Chinatown, but that would make the post way too long, so maybe in another opportunity.
In case of hurry, Tambo, Oxxo or Listo are first options
Another quick cheap option in Lima is the popular minimarket, especially if you want to buy some snacks as you walk by. The most popular in Perú is Tambo, followed by Listo, Oxxo and some others.
In the case of Tambo, it has always an “empanada” with a combo (hot drinks most of the time) for only $2 or so. I think this is great if you want to bite something quickly.
You can’t expect too much in quality if you go to these minimarkets. Their food is still delicious but it’s not the big deal since it’s made to solve hunger and nothing else.
Is Lima a good place to eat cheap?
YES, of course! If we judge from what I wrote up, this city is perfect to taste its fabulous gastronomy without spending too much money, but you need to explore it more with caution. And of course, you have to take advice from trustworthy people always.
If you’ve explored Lima before, let me know! And comment below if you have some fav spot to eat cheap and good, I love feedback! Stay alert to more posts in the future!