It’s not difficult to find quality ice cream in Lima, but most of these shops—with truly unique flavors—are tucked away from the touristy areas.
Ice cream was once a very exotic treat for Limeños. According to Cesar Coloma, President of Latin American Institute of Culture and Development, coffee shops first started serving ice cream in Lima in 1791. It was very expensive, however, because it was made using blocks of ice brought down from the Andes.
Nowadays, you can find D’Onofrio brand ice cream on almost every street corner. However, if you want something a little more adventurous, that captures the spirit of those early ice cream pioneers, here are some options for you.
Though a short walk from Parque Kennedy in Miraflores, this ice cream shop is tucked along one of the side streets of the Mercado Nro. 1 in Surquillo—thus, to the misfortune of many travelers, they miss the opportunity to try a Lima classic. The owner, Carlos Cassasa, opened up this shop in 2010 at the tender age of 72, making his entrepreneurial story as sweet as his ice cream. This is where you can try adventurous flavors like ginger and ají, Peru’s favorite spicy pepper.
Address: Narciso de la Colina 580, Surquillo
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11am-7pm; Sunday, 10am-6pm
Located in the heart of modern San Isidro, this small and cozy ice cream shop offers flavor combinations like bitter chocolate with orange as well as fresh fruit sorbets like higo (fig) and chirimoya. If you need a caffeine and sweet tooth fix, order up the affogato (a scoop of ice cream topped with a shot of espresso).
For a romantic evening that doesn’t break the bank is eat your ice cream under the shade of any tree at Parque Olivar, which is right behind Cremeria Toscana. (There is also limited seating inside, so you kind of have to get creative with where you’ll eat.)
Address: Conquistadores 325, San Isidro
Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 11am-9pm (closed Mondays)
This is a traditional café in downtown Lima which offers great coffee mixed with Bayleys (the Esbari special coffee), sandwiches and many other desserts. It also serves Pisco Sour ice cream, which really tastes like Peru’s traditional cocktail because it actually contains pisco. For a sober palalte, try the aguaymanto or coffee flavors.
Address: Jr. de la Unión 574, Cercado de Lima
Hours: Sunday-Friday, 9am-11:30pm; Saturday, 9am-9pm
This is a traditional hot spot in Magdalena, where ice cream is made according to a family recipe. Here you can find 17 different flavors, though the favorite is tiramisu. Speciale receives approximately 2000 people every weekend and sells 900 liters of ice cream every day. Visit this great place and find out for yourself why it is so popular. There is now a second location in Barranco, just behind the Starbucks near the main plaza.
Address: Jr. Libertad 1231, Magdalena
Hours: Monday-Sunday, 11am-10pm
Palermo, in Jesús María, is a great place to spend an evening with friends and family. If you love fruit, here you can find delicious artisanal ice cream made out of wonderful Peruvian varieties. Cakes, sandwiches, coffee as well as cremoladas and frappés are also available. Try the mora, species of blackberry native to South America.
Address: Huiracocha 1237, Jesús María
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 12pm-10pm; Sunday, 11am-9pm (closed Mondays)
Cover image: Pixabay
This article has been updated since its original publishing on January 4, 2013.
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