Ah, to be young, in love and in Paris. Before you jet off for the City of Light seeking a dreamy romance, allow yourself to fall head over heels for the candlelit tables of La Bonbonniere, right here in the City of Kings. It has five locations, but the most enchanting is the San Isidro locale; it occupies the first floor of a skinny, multistory apartment building that looks like it’s straight out of a Van Gogh. There's plenty of outdoor seating so you can take in the starry night, and you’ll wish the wine and steak frites would never end.
Where: Calle Burgos 415, San Isidro, Lima
When: Tues.-Sat., 8 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun., 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
More info: +51 4212447; restaurantelabonbonniere.com
La P'tite FranceOne in a baker's dozen
When a French native living abroad misses his homestyle breads so much that he brings one of the most esteemed master bakers across the Atlantic, you know he means business. La P’tite France sounds sweet, and indeed many of its baked goods are. Bite into the flaky croissant that dares you to count all 36 buttery layers, or the brioche, as tender as Saint-Exupéry’s tale. Of course, savory loaves and simple baguettes also have their place in each of the two Lima locations (Barranco and Surquillo). Using a long and natural fermentation process and authentic French techniques, this bakery may just convince you it's the best thing since sliced bread.
Where: 131 Prolongación Av. San Martín, Barranco; Jirón Gonzales Prada 599, Surquillo
When: Barranco, Tues.-Fri., 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sat. & Sun., 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Surquillo, Mon.-Sat., 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sun., 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
More info: Barranco, +51 2431565; Surquillo, +51 2431565
MarchandThe best of both worlds
Japanese and Peruvian fusion is known as Nikkei, and Chinese-Peruvian is Chifa. While a trendy term for French-Peruvian cuisine doesn't yet exist ("Fruvian," anyone?), it’s a culinary mash-up you shouldn't pass up just because it lacks a portmanteau. At Marchand you'll discover gnocchi made of Peru’s famed yellow potato bathed in a creamy sauce of France’s true blue, Roquefort, and a typical duck steak with a not-so-typical spicy sauce thanks to rocoto pepper. Outdoor rooftop seating gives you the chance to escape Lima’s busy streets as you enjoy a rich crème brûlée under a red umbrella.
Where: Grau 301, Miraflores, Lima
When: Mon.-Sat., 12:30-11 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m.
More info: +51 2430152; Facebook
Café et ChocolatFrench by design
Is anything as sinfully delicious as chocolate and coffee (okay, besides Johnny Depp circa 2000)? It’s hard to stick to a diet — or Lent, for that matter — when you walk into this cafe, seemingly lit by the pristine white walls alone. With European-style minimalist decor and an array of delicate pastries, Café et Chocolat makes a statement without hardly saying a word. And that’s okay, because we have our mouths full anyway. The options range from savory to sweet, with standouts such as a salad of fresh greens tossed with blue cheese, prosciutto and pecans and a chocolate-banana-peanut-butter smoothie. Don’t skip the high-quality coffee, from Cusco producers handpicked by the cafe’s owner.
Where: Grimaldo del Solar 164, Miraflores, Lima
When: Mon.-Sat., 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
More info: +51 6245373; Facebook
DelifranceFarm to fourchette
If you’ve had your fill of ceviche and are searching for a culinary thrill, try half a dozen escargot served in the shell. You'll feel the relaxed yet elegant atmosphere so typical of a brasserie once you step onto the black-and-white tiled floors of Delifrance. Take a seat along the room-length red cushioned bench and peruse the menu of French classics that incorporate a farm-to-fork sensibility. Try any of the duck-based plates, such as confit de canard, all straight from the restaurant’s farm in the high Peruvian jungle, or a simple salad topped with fluffy clouds of goat's cheese.
Where: Av. Santa Cruz 982, Miraflores, Lima
When: Tues.-Sat., noon-11 p.m.; Sun., 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
More info: +51 2217196; Facebook
Nuevo Mundo Draft BarBelgium by way of France
Can you get more multinational than a cozy bar in Peru that serves up Belgian-style beers brewed by Frenchmen? A world of flavors is offered in liquid form inside Nuevo Mundo Draft Bar, a second-story beerhouse with windows just large enough to see lights shining from a neighboring church and the flora of a touristy park. National brewers shine with a rotating draft selection as well as 40-plus bottles, though it’s the house brews that rule supreme: Try Nuevo Mundo’s Premium, a Tripel-style beer that stays true to its Belgian roots with a sweet flavor, or the Amaz, an amber ale offering a refreshingly light taste to carry you through the night.
Where: Av. Larco 421, 2nd flr., Miraflores, Lima
When: Mon.-Thurs. & Sun., 5 p.m.-1 a.m.; Fri. & Sat., 5 p.m.-3 a.m.
More info: +51 2495268; nuevomundocerveceria.com