Lima’s burger scene is growing, and this week’s restaurant visit may just land in the top 3 according to our resident foodie, Sheila. Vegetarians don’t pout, read on to find out what’s in store for you!
Back in 1984, Bon Beef opened its doors on Camino Real in San Isidro. The founder of Bon Beef, Guillermo Gonzales, enjoyed instant success with his popular restaurant. The hamburgers were the “stars” on his menu. However, Bon Beef closed their doors in 1992 to business after 8 years due to serious terrorist activities during this time. Fast forward 23 years and Bon Beef has reinvented itself. Once again the burgers are one of the most popular items. The restaurant is now in the capable hands of his grown children, Lorena and Guillermo, since September of 2014. Some of the original recipes from years past have been rescued and new creations introduced as well.
The decor of Bon Beef is refined and has an appealing mix of natural elements (potted plants, fresh flowers, ivy growing on some of the walls as well as a tree smack dab in the middle of the patio) as well as rich wood and granite. The restaurant has several different areas to eat; the first floor has capacity for approximately 100 people which also includes a bar and lounge area, open and covered patio areas. The second floor has seating for at least 30 people as well as an enclosed elegant area available for private meetings or parties.
(Photo: Parker Clifford/Living in Peru)
We began our dining experience at Bon Beef with a juice combination of pineapple and mint (piña con menta) which was served in a large glass mason jar with a handle. There is an extensive selection of juices and limonadas to choose from.
Bon Beef has an ambitious menu with approximately 90 or more items. We began our dining experience off with several starters. Bon Beef’s version of steak tartare (Tartar de Lomo Bon Beef) was an absolute pleasure to eat. I am a big fan of steak tartare so I was excited to try this. The beef was very high quality and used just enough finely diced onion and Worcestershire sauce to enhance the flavor, but not overwhelm it. Many times you will order steak tartare at restaurants and the flavor of the meat is overwhelmed by using an aggressive amount of Worcestershire sauce, onions and other condiments. Not here! Capers typically accompany steak tartare, but in this case they used fried capers which really added another dimension to this dish. The steak tartare was topped off with a raw egg yolk and accompanied by baguette toasts and an arugula salad. Definitely a worthy starter.
Huevos de Lucio and Tartar de Lomo Bon Beef(Photo: Parker Clifford/Living in Peru)
Next up were the Huevos de Lucio, an interesting and decadent combination of crispy french fries (using papas amarillas) and generous slices of prosciutto with basted eggs on top. My first thought that came to mind was that this dish would be perfect hangover food. I am a huge egg lover so I enjoy the prevailing trend of eggs in dishes.
The barbecued chicken wings (alitas picantes) were delicious as well and served with a blue cheese sauce on the side. I am a fan of blue cheese, but the barbecue sauce on the wings had so much flavor that there really was no need for the blue cheese.
Saucy chicken wings done right (Photo: Parker Clifford/Living in Peru)
Bon Beef offers eight different salads. All of the salads are generous in size and can easily be shared between a couple people. We sampled the Monchi salad which consisted of romaine lettuce, arugula, alfalfa sprouts, prosciutto, blue cheese, caramelized pecans, dehydrated tomatoes and dried apple chips and topped off with the house dressing.
Now it was finally time to dive into the burgers. Bon Beef offers 16 burger options, all which use U.S. Angus beef. There are many types of cheeses (cheddar, gouda, gruyere, brie and gorgonzola) to accompany the burgers, as well as any of the other available toppings (bacon, mushrooms, onions, guacamole, prosciutto and even fried plantains). The bread used for the hamburger buns is baked fresh daily on the premises. Besides their beef burgers, there are four vegetarian varieties and three chicken burger options.
First up was the vegetarian burger called “Apple”. The burger patty consisted of a mixture of peas, quinoa and mushrooms. The toppings on this veggie burger were melted gouda cheese, grilled pineapple, fried red onion ring, dried apple chips, spinach and arugula accompanied by a celery mayonnaise and a drizzling of a balsamic reduction. So far, so good.
Fried onion rings dressed in barbecue sauce atop the clasica (Photo: Parker Clifford/Living in Peru)
The three beef burgers we sampled were: the clásica with fried onion rings, gouda cheese, tomato and lettuce served with a drizzling of barbecue sauce; the mexicana with toppings of cheddar cheese, salsa, guacamole, yellow corn tortilla chips and lettuce and served with a spicy gulf sauce; and the pupina topped off with melted brie cheese and sun dried tomatoes. We enjoyed all of them.
I have eaten at practically all of the hamburger restaurants here in Lima over the past 8 years and Bon Beef is definitely in my personal top three. After a couple bites of the clásica burger, I was hooked. I immediately was transported back in time to my family home, sitting on our outside patio while my dad cooked hamburgers on the grill. I asked if the burger had been prepared using charcoal and their response was “yes”. My personal opinion is that burgers and other meats prepared on charcoal grills definitely enhances the flavor of the meat. Many restaurants utilize gas grills since it is a simpler process. Besides the charred patty, the ground beef-to-fat ratio was perfect for me; the burger was juicy as it should be, but not greasy. The homemade buns did their job by almost melting into the meat without the bun falling apart and making everything a mess.
All burgers include your choice of french fries, sweet potato fries, or a small mixed salad (lettuce, tomato, avocado and onion) or caesar salad. Burgers are cooked medium unless you express your personal choice. All beef burgers are available in 220 grams, or for 5 soles less, a 150-gram burger. There are plenty of options from a simple, classic burger to a more elaborated burger and everything in-between.
Even though a large portion of the menu is devoted to burgers, there are a few steak options as well. The beef used at Bon Beef is 100% Angus High Choice and Prime beef, aged 21 days. There are also a variety of chicken dishes and at least 17 vegetarian items to choose from.
A dessert not to miss: Crocante de manzana casero (Photo: Parker Clifford/Living in Peru)
To complete our dining experience at Bon Beef, we sampled their apple crumble dessert (crocante de manzana casero). This dessert was a spectacular culinary delight! The apple crumble generously filled the ceramic ramekin cup and was topped off with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream which was accented with a blueberry, mint sprig and dried apple slice. I am a baker and I prepare many variations of apple pies and crumbles on a regular basis. This dessert, in my opinion, was perfectly executed. The crumble portion was buttery and crunchy, but still allowed the apple to shine through; a “spot on” homemade version of apple crumble. The presentation was pleasing to the eyes as well. If you enjoy apple desserts, do not skip this one.
I found the overall quality at Bon Beef to be very good. Fresh ingredients and precise execution could be found in all the dishes we sampled. The menu options are varied enough to satisfy both vegetarians and carnivores alike.
Pardo y Aliaga 596 (corner of Jr. Libertadores)
Private rooms available
Parking lot & valet parking
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 8:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.
Friday/Saturday, 8:00 a.m.-12:00 a.m.
Sunday, 8:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.
Full Bar & Cocktail Menu
Breakfast & Lonches: S/. 7-25
Starters/Appetizers: S/. 6-39
Salads: S/. 24-30
Sandwiches: S/. 12-20
Beef Burgers: S/. 29-38
Vegetarian Burgers: S/. 29
Chicken Burgers: S/. 29-30
Hot Dogs: S/. 23-25
Beef/Chicken Main Dishes: S/. 19-95
Vegetarian “Steaks”: S/. 20
Sides: S/. 8-20
Desserts: S/. 12-20
Milkshakes: S/. 15-17
Fruit Juices: S/. 9-14
Non-Alcoholic Beverages (hot & cold): S/. 7-15