Museo Larco Café, tucked in the backyard of Peru’s leading pre-Columbian art collection, is more than just a café for visitors to the museum. The beautiful restaurant of Museo Larco is a place for locals to enjoy as well, boasting a menu full of Peruvian flavors and views of an unexpectedly lush garden.
The café has been open for fourteen years and follows the same schedule as the museum (9am-10pm) with a few early closings a year around the holidays.
The grounds of the museum are beautifully landscaped with lots of bright flowers, ferns, cactus and blooming bougainvillea plants. The restaurant is situated below the museum and consists of an indoor dining area and a covered terrace. We sat on the terrace just off the garden area which looks up towards the museum. The space feels light, airy and romantic with white linen covered tables, hanging ivy plants and a collection of mismatched wooden chairs.
During our visit the café wasn’t crowded, making the space quiet and peaceful with light music playing in the background. However, the restaurant is frequently much busier when large tour groups are on-site at the museum and eat at the restaurant.
The menu at Museo Larco Café features a large collection of classic Peruvian dishes and popular ingredients found in Peru. The offerings include sandwiches and snacks (S/15-34), salads (S/33-36), soups (S/25-30), pastas (S/36-45) and main entrees.
The options for vegetarians are somewhat limited, but there are a several plates to choose from in most categories for non-meat eaters. For vegans, however, the choices are extremely limited as many of the vegetarian options do include animal products such as cheese and eggs.
There is also a small breakfast menu (S/10-34) offering eggs, sandwiches and sweets available in the mornings if you arrive on an empty stomach and want to eat prior to touring the museum. The restaurant is also perfect for an afternoon or early evening meetup for a drink and appetizer (S/18-49) or coffee (S/8-10) and dessert (S/18-27).
To drink we sampled a Hierba Luisa Chilcano (S/25), garnished with a stem of fresh hierba luisa (lemongrass). The drink was a well-balanced combination of sweet and sour.
To start our meal, the restaurant served Shrimp Causa (S/32). The chilled potato puree flavored with limón and ají pepper was layered with crispy panko-crusted shrimp and avocado. The finishing touch was salsa golf, a slightly spicy and creamy sauce of ketchup and mayonnaise.
The star of the entire meal for sure were the Grilled Sea Scallops (S/45). Perfectly grilled sea scallops served on the shell drizzled with a buttery sauce flavored with limón, soy sauce and ginger, then topped with crunchy pieces of garlic. The texture and flavors make this dish an amazing start to the meal.
For our entrees we sampled the Risotto Criollo (S/40) and Grilled Salmon (S/52). The Risotto Criollo is a play on lomo saltado, with the risotto rice cooked in an oriental soy-flavored sauce and topped with tenderloin beef strips and crispy homemade potato chips. The rice tasted a bit undercooked and not all that flavorful, not to mention some of the beef was not very tender.
The Grilled Salmon is served with a passionfruit sauce, a side of oriental fried rice and a vinegary snow pea and bean sprout salad. The fish was served medium rare which was a tad undercooked for our tastes at the table, so I recommend requesting the fish to be cooked to your preferences. The sauce is very sweet but pairs well with the fish and side dishes.
Our meal ended with Brioche French Toast (S/24) and the Café Gourmand, a selection of small mini desserts with a coffee of your choice (S/27). The French toast was fresh and delicious, served hot with a warm syrup and side of ice cream and was a fabulous combination. The Café Gourmand included a lucuma mousse that was creamy and delicious and the passionfruit mousse exploded with fruit flavor. The fruit tartlet, a shortbread crust with vanilla custard and fresh fruit tasted great but was outshined by the other desserts. Dessert was accompanied by coffee from their coffee bar and my latte was delicious though a tad on the cool side.
The ambiance at Museo Larco Café is elegant and romantic thanks to the garden setting. Overall the starters and the desserts we shared were definitely the highlights of our visit. While the entrees we tried were rather lackluster in comparison, looking at the full menu there are other dishes that I would be willing to try on a return visit.
The restaurant, Museo Larco Café, takes reservations through the website or telephone. Access to the restaurant is inside the museum property with free entry to eat at the restaurant. The menu is available on their website in Spanish and English.
All photos by Marco Simola
Museo Larco Café
Av. Bolívar 1515, Pueblo Libre
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +51 – 1- 461-1312 ext 207
Hours: Monday-Sunday, 9am-10pm (last reservation is 8pm)