Lima has an active bakery scene both pastelarias or pastry shops, and panaderías which are bread shops. There’s a standard repertoire that includes alfajores de manjar, a sandwich cookie made from cornstarch and filled with manjar (dulce de leche) caramelized sweetened milk.) The cookie came to Peru from Spain, and came to Spain from al-Andalus. The name comes from the arabic الفاخر, al- fakher. But I digress. There are also tarts, cakes, and pies. The panaderias generally sell a francese roll which is a simple white bread divided in two, a sweet pan de yema which is a soft egg bread, and various baguettes and loaves. There were a few standouts, and one amazing bakery that I saved for last.
We originally went to this place because a friend, Max Veenhuyzen, had eaten there and recommended the pork sandwiches (which are wonderful.) They also have some of the best francese (french) and yema (egg) rolls we found. Because it was October there was also a big tray of turron de doña pepa which looked like a cake but was actually more like a cookie with brown sugar syrup. The sandwiches are good and the bread is even better. If it had been closer we’d probably have been regulars.
This is a bakery that is supposedly “the best bakery in Lima.” If you believe online reviews. Which you shouldn’t. Most interesting to us was that it was supposed to have really good cheesecake. Debbie loves cheesecake, and their cheesecake is really good. Baked of course tall and agreeably dense with a good texture and noticeable cheese flavors. It’s not too sweet and the fresh fruit on it is an excellent choice. It might well be the best cheesecake in Lima.
The space itself is very light and open. They have a wide selection of other pastries and cookies though none of them quite live up to the promise of the cheesecake. Their pecan sticky bun was good, thick and yeasty and had good pecan flavors. Sadly the coffee is only “okay,” not great. It feels very warm and welcoming and a lot of the people there seem like expats or upper upper-middle-class Peruvians. It felt very comfortable to us expats.
Overall – great cheesecake, good pecan sticky bun, but not “the best bakery in Lima.”
It was nice to find another open, friendly, light, airy cafe. It’s a nice place to sit and hanging out. They have a dense moist chocolate turron, almost a brownie in consistency. There’s an impressively stocked display case, but nothing really stood out as amazing. The carrot cake was ok, most of the other things looked ok, the coffee was ok, so we probably won’t go back. Worth a visit if you’re in the area or want a place to chill for a couple hours but otherwise not worth a special trip.
Cafe y Chocolate
Cafe y chocolate is a cute little coffee shop/pastelaria in Miraflores near where we were staying. It has a friendly staff, and a small selection of very well done pastries and cookies. It doesn’t try to compete with the big pastry places, instead concentrating on doing a few things well. We enjoyed it.
It’s a popular big chain with branches everywhere. It’s a competent bakery with good prices, nothing super special. A place to pick up breads and rolls if you don’t have anything better nearby. Much better than the supermarkets.
Pan de Criolla
Nice but rather ordinary place, the “pig ear” was maybe a little old, the coffee ordinary. Nice place to sit for a few minutes if you’re nearby but don’t go out of your way.
La Panetteria Barranco (Laboratorio)
Nice little place in Barranco. Tasty and creative desserts, ordinary coffee. There’s a nice mezzanine to sit at overlooking the main floor. I thought their lemon mousse was particularly nice.
El Pan de la Chola
This place is so good that I’ve written a whole post about it. The breads are amazing, super hydrated, chewy crusty bread that reminds me of Tartine in San Francisco, or Sonoma Bakery in Sydney. The space itself is full of wooden tables that encourage you to sit and enjoy the space. They have cookies and pastries as well, the morning bun is particularly good, but the bread is so good it will make you forget the sweets.