Restaurant Review: La Principal


It’s not a coffee shop, and it’s not a restaurant. La Principal takes a new form that would be considered a trend in Lima, a bistro…

Vanilla Cheesecake and Red Velvet Mango Ice Cream Cookies  (Photo: Maria Alejandra Baraybar/Living in Peru)
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La Principal
República de Colombia 305, San Isidro, Tel. 440-1445
Monday to Friday, 9.00 – 21.00
Saturday, 10.00 – 17.00 (only brunch menu)

Interior (Photo: Maria Alejandra Baraybar/Living in Peru)

The interior decoration reflects the tastes of Josefa Arias-Stella and Nadina Poletti, the owners of the bistro and the creators of the recipes. From the sandwiches to the handmade ice creams (which have made more than one client travel only to get a taste) the owners have had a hand in everything. The two initially saw this little bistro catering to the busy workers of the area but news soon spread and the business has grown to include customers from all over.

The variety of food they offer could be for any occasion.

The veggie bites (S/ 18) are made of breaded eggplant with Parmesan served with a tomato dip. There are two kinds of tequeños, filled with cheese or quinoa, and fried foods including buffalo wings and choripapa (sausage and French fries). If you want something lighter, there is a pepper hummus (S/ 18) with toast or vegetables. Also, a Piadina (S/ 14) flat bread, that comes with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

The salad selection (7 in total) is large and shows the owners’ interest in fresh, healthy food. There are classics like the Cesar salad and a Cobb salad (S/ 25), made with pancetta, goat cheese, hard-boiled eggs, avocado, and tomato.  There is also a Bresaola salad (S/ 28) that comes with arugula, bresaola (a raw beef cured by salting and air-drying) goat cheese, candied tomatoes and Parmesan.

“We started with a very light menu but after a while, we realized that burgers were also necessary”.

La Principal has two ‘combos’, one consisting of a Rump Steak Burger with fries and a beverage (S/ 34) and the other named Panko Sandwich, made of panko chicken breast with mozzarella, fries and a beverage (S/ 30) that are well served. Both come with a tomato sauce for dipping. Other sandwiches on the list include the Salame, El Pavo (made of turkey) and El Contundente (with pancetta).

These sausages are made by Nadine’s grandfather, who dedicates his life to these kinds of products.

Quinoabowl (Photo: Maria Alejandra Baraybar/Living in Peru)

We tried one of the specials of La Principal: the Quinoabowl (S/ 26) which mixes quinoa, cherry tomatoes, avocado, chicken and hummus which serves as a dressing. More than a salad but still light (and nutritious) you won’t miss the rice or pasta.

If you are interested in something a bit heavier, however, they do have a lasagna, with four sauces to choose from and a mac & cheese with truffle oil. Also on the menu is a Chinese style Chaufa (S/26), made with quinoa and sesame with an oriental touch, as well as a wheat dish, the Trigofest (S/ 24), made with wheat, pesto, candied tomatoes, and mozzarella.

Desserts are the greatest attraction at La Principal.

The most popular are the handmade cookie sandwiches that are filled with ice cream. There are several different ice cream flavors to choose from; they include vanilla, strawberry, lucuma, mango, cheesecake and more. The cookie shots are also very interesting; a cookie in the shape of a cup filled with milk, coffee, ice cream or a milkshake. Key Lime Pie, brownies, chocolate cake and more explain why La Principal could be the paradise for the sweet lovers.

If you plan on visiting La Principal, keep in mind that on Saturdays they only serve the brunch menu.

Salads (S/ 24 – S/ 28)
Sandwiches (S/ 18 – S/ 28)
Extracts and juices (S/ 12.50 and S/ 12.00)
Smoothies (S/ 16.00)
Coffee (S/ 6.00 – S/ 8.00)
Cookie Ice Cream (S/ 14.00 – S/ 18.00)
Cookie Shots (S/ 14.50 – S/ 18.00)


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Javier Ernesto García Wong Kit

Javier García is a Peruvian journalist that writes for news, magazines, and websites about ecology, gastronomy, sports, and culture, specially Nikkei culture for APJ and Discover Nikkei. He teaches journalism at San Martín de Porres University and is the editor of the book of chronicles "Tentaciones Narrativas" (Redactum, 2014). He is also the founder of La Mesa - Pase y Pruebe, a fan page about news and events of gastronomy and culture.