Our resident foodie Jason Kearney ventured out to find a restaurant with really good options for vegetarians and vegans in Lima. His choice of restaurant was La Balanza located beside Miraflores in the neighbouring district of San Isidro, here is what he found.
This restaurant aims to provide organic and vegan food in Lima Peru, it does so along with a host of other non-vegan and non-vegetarian dishes. If you are looking for a place with something for everyone, then you will not be disappointed. The location is set on Av. Emilio Cavenecia in the district of San Isidro but it is just 10 minutes by taxi from central Miraflores. What the restaurant does offer is an informal setting to enjoy food as locals do whilst letting you get away from the tourist traps a few blocks away.
The exterior is unassuming and inside you will see a small organic food counter followed by rows of tables, but if you can go and sit at the back where there is a lovely round rustic area decorated with fresh herbs. When I visited with my family it was around 3 p.m. and busy. The waiter was attentive and given the volume of sales the service was good.
Start by trying some fresh juices like the strawberry, lime and pineapple or better still a fresh mint lemonade while you browse the menu. The menu is comprehensive and offers Peruvian local foods and more exotic dishes too. The menu also is colour coded to help vegans and vegetarians find their dishes more easily. It can be seen La Balanza offers many vegetarian food options here in Lima with a focus on fresh organic ingredients. The vegetarian causa with avocado is recommended but to start I had a tomato soup and it gets ten out of ten for novel presentation! It tasted equally good, coming served in a bread bowl.
The main courses are equally varied and for fish lovers there are an array of fresh tuna dishes coming with quinoa, chia seeds, coconut milk, to name but a few. I chose the Malfattis dumplings and here in Lima they use kale, goats cheese and tomato to fill them, a twist on their Lombardian heritage from Italy. The only problem I had was that there wasn’t more of them, but maybe that’s just my appetite.
The other main course we had at our table was a veggie burger and it was delicious, apparently this dish is renowned amongst vegetarians in Lima where good vegetarian food can be to challenging to find. A host of vegan options include spaghetti in tomato sauce, tacu tacu with dried mushrooms and quinotto made of three types of quinoa served with truffle oil.
For dessert we sampled the cheesecake and also the banana crème brûlée and were delicious not being spoiled by being over sweet and letting the flavours of Lima shine through. The cheesecake includes a kiwicha crumble, kiwicha is an ancient Peruvian superfood and the texture was delicious married to a fresh red berry compote. The banana crème brûlée also came with a Peruvian twist, adorned with flavourings of coconut and a sorbet of chia seeds and mango.
So where does the scales balance in La Balanza?
The food is of a high standard in an informal setting, and you really can get something local if you wish or else something more touching on international food. The vegan and vegetarian food options in Lima are limited and this restaurant can allow customers a choice of delicious dishes in a relaxed and friendly environment.
The downsides for this restaurant include a rather limited selection of organic wines. We ordered a Galician Albariño wine from the menu and none was available. We then opted for an organic Argentinian chardonnay, a lesser choice from a limited selection in my opinion.
There is an option of a menu del dia (menu of the day) for S/30 (USD $9) which are excellent but this limits your choice. Prices for regular meals are typically for starters S/35, mains S/50 and desserts S/30 with a bottle of wine about S/120. This equates to a total meal price of about S/175 (USD $54) per person. It is not cheap for Lima, but then it offers something different and some very special dishes to tantalise your taste buds.
The location is a short taxi ride from the touristic district of Miraflores. At La Balanza you can also access the host of nearby shopping opportunities around the Óvalo Gutiérrez and a stroll down Avenida Los Conquistadores. Personally, I will return again for sure and so I can recommend that you too should go and check it out for yourself. Something different in dining, especially for vegans and vegetarian food in Lima.
Contact Information / Opening Hours
Address: Av. Emilio Cavenecia 162, San Isidro.
Telephone: (01) 2222659 (reservations not usually necessary)
Hours: Open daily 12.30–4:30p.m., 7:30–11p.m., except Sunday 10:30a.m.–4:30 p.m.