There’s good news for travelers that need to eat gluten-free in Peru: you too can safely enjoy some of the country’s wonderful cuisine with the help of our translation card in Spanish, insights about Peruvian cuisine, and restaurant recommendations.
Gluten-Free Spanish Translation Card
Explaining your gluten sensitivity and what you can and cannot eat is difficult when you don’t speak the native language.
Our complimentary Gluten-Free Translation Card:
- Explains celiac disease and dietary restrictions
- Lists ingredients that you can and cannot eat
- Outlines your cross-contamination concerns
Save our translation card on your phone or print a copy to use during your trip.
Gluten-Free Peruvian Cuisine: Yes or No?
Explore various savory and sweet dishes from Peru below. We’ve outlined some popular gluten-free options along with ones containing gluten (even if it’s only in trace amounts) that you’ll want to avoid. The country’s cuisine is as diverse as it is delicious.
Yes, These Peruvian Dishes Are Gluten-Free (typically):
* Er on the side of caution and check with your server to see if your order has gluten or not. These following Peruvian dishes are typically gluten-free, but recipes and cooking preparation vary from restaurant to restaurant.
- Ceviche is a lunchtime favorite in Peru, especially for residents of Lima. Order Ceviche de Pescado, a dish prepared with chopped raw fish marinated in lime juice and seasoned with salt. Yellow corn, sweet potato slices, and toasted corn kernels called canchita usually accompany the dish.
- Rocoto Relleno is a typical dish from Arequipa. Roasted rocoto pepper is filled with diced meat, eggs, potatoes, and cheese, all flavored with a blend of herbs and spices.
- Causa is a dish of mashed potatoes layered with slices of ripe avocado, fresh seafood or chicken, and a mayonnaise-based sauce.
Gluten-Free Peruvian Desserts
- Likened to flan or caramel custard, Crema Volteada is made from a base of eggs; sweet evaporated and condensed milk; and vanilla.
- Lucuma is a fruit native to the Andes with a flavor reminiscent of maple, pumpkin, and sweet potato. It is mixed into smoothies, baked goods, and gluten-free Helado de Lucuma or lucuma ice cream.
- Mazamorra Morada is a cross between a purple corn-based pudding and jello with a medley of fruits inside including pineapple, apple, and lime.
- Suspiro de Limeña is a decadent dessert comprised of a rich dulce de leche pudding topped with meringue.
No, These Peruvian Dishes Are Not Gluten-Free:
Dishes That Contain Crackers/Bread
“Many creamy sauces like salsa de huancaína, salsa de rocoto, and crema de ají use saltine crackers or bread to make the sauce thicker. You can find photos and ingredients (in Spanish) of the major sauces and creams used in Peruvian dishes here: About Español: Cremas y salsa peruanas. Look out for the ones that list “galletas” in the recipe; these will look thicker and creamier than the others.”Rachel Walker, Travel Advisor
Here are a few dishes prepared with these creamy sauces that are likely thickened with bread crumbs/crackers:
- Papa a la Huancaína takes slices of boiled potato and drizzles them in a creamy huancaína sauce made from fresh cheese, milk, aji amarillo chilies, garlic, and thickened with crackers.
- Aji de Gallina is a creamy shredded chicken dish typically served with a side of rice and potato slices. The sauce contains cheese, aji amarillo, stale bread, soda crackers, evaporated milk, and sometimes peanuts.
Dishes That Contain Soy Sauce
Soy sauce in Peru may appear on a restaurant menu as salsa de soya or sillao.
- Flavored with soy sauce and vinegar, Lomo Saltado is a beef sirloin stir fry with peppers, onions, and tomatoes. The dish is usually served with a side of fries and rice.
- Arroz Chaufa is a fried rice dish prepared with soy sauce and but one example of Peru’s chifa cuisine. Chifa is Peru’s answer to Chinese food, an ode to the scores of Chinese immigrants that came to the capital in the 19th century.
- Pollo a la Brasa is a Peruvian style of rotisserie chicken. The meat is marinated with salt, lime, cumin, and sometimes soy sauce, beer, or vinegar.
Drinks That Contain Barley
- Emoliente is a Peruvian tea blend of toasted barley, flaxseed, alfalfa leaves, cinnamon sticks, and more. Fresh lime juice and sugar are added by preference.
- Chicha de Jora, or corn beer chicha, often contains a measure of barley. Chicherías is what locals in Cusco call places that sell chicha beer.
Gluten-Free Lima Restaurants
Lima is the gastronomic capital of South America and if you love food, you’ll likely want to spend a few days exploring the capital of Peru along the way to Machu Picchu. We’ve narrowed our selection of restaurants in Lima into two categories: 100 percent gluten-free restaurants and acclaimed restaurants with gluten-free options for a special dining out experience.
Twins Cafe GF
Twins Cafe is a quaint Barranco-based eatery with a dedicated gluten-free menu. With a thoughtful selection of sandwiches, pizzas, quiche, and desserts, this cafe is patronized by individuals sensitive and intolerant to gluten alongside local limeños seeking a casual meal. Pair your meal with a cold-pressed juice or coffee.
Jiron Colina 108, Barranco, Lima
Twins Cafe Website
Open daily – coffee and casual, a light meal
Veda Restaurante is entirely free of gluten and one-hundred percent vegan. Here, celiacs can enjoy a pleasant sitdown meal and don’t have to hold back from ordering anything on the breakfast, main course, and dessert menus.
The cuisine at Veda is wide-ranging and beautifully presented. In the morning, ask for gluten-free toast topped with guacamole or acai served with coconut shreds and fresh strawberries. International and Peruvian options for lunch and dinner range from rice-based pasta in alfredo sauce to vegan ceviche made from a base of mushrooms instead of fish.
Round out your meal with the restaurant’s signature kombucha infused with chicha morada (a sweet Peruvian beverage made from a base of purple corn) or maracuyá (ie. passion fruit).
Veda is modern and inviting. Potted plants dangle from the distinct bamboo frame covering the outdoor area, and inside Veda, there is more formal seating. Menus are available in English. And only three and a half blocks from Parque Kennedy in the heart of the Miraflores neighborhood, the restaurant is walking distance from Inca’s Expert Pick hotels in Lima.
Calle Schell 630, Miraflores, Lima
Veda Restaurante Website
Open daily – breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Our selection of acclaimed restaurants (listed below in alphabetical order) is a blend of award-winning establishments gracing the top spots of Latin America’s Top 50 Restaurants (announced Oct 2019) along with a handful of preferred picks from our Inca Expert team members in Lima. These restaurants do not have a dedicated gluten-free menu, but they can substitute ingredients for a particular dish when possible or make excellent gluten-free proposals.
Astrid & Gaston
# 13 of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019
Astrid & Gaston, the jewel of Gaston Acurio’s culinary crown, set the standard for Peruvian fine dining when it first opened in 1994. The cuisine is refined though still approachable, and likely what you want for sampling great Peruvian dishes, several of which are already gluten-free.
- Av. Paz Soldán 290, San Isidro, Lima
- Astrid & Gaston Website
- Open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday for lunch only
# 2 of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019
# 6 of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019
Central is for anyone who appreciates an adventurous meal taking two or more hours. The dishes at chef Virgilio Martinez’s flagship restaurant honor Peruvian cuisine with inventive touches and seasonal menu changes.
Central is not every-day eating and advanced reservations must be made up to three months before your trip to Peru. Inform the restaurant of your gluten-free diet restriction when you submit your reservation. During your unique dining experience at Cental, your servers will explain the ingredients mixed into each dish and adapt or substitute a course when necessary.
- Av. Pedro de Osma 301, Barranco, Lima
- Central Website
- Open Monday through Saturday, Closed Sunday
#1 of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019
#10 of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019
The acclaimed menu at Maido traverses the landscape of Peruvian and Japanese cuisine. Appreciate chef Maido Mitsuhari’s vision of Nikkei cuisine, refined after years of culinary training and on-the-ground experience in Japan, with the tasting menu that can be prepared with gluten-free substitute dishes.
- Calle San Martín 399, Miraflores, Lima
- Maido Website
- Open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, Sunday for lunch only
Chef Rafael Osterling’s casual and cool restaurant features a refined menu of seafood specialties. Order the gluten-free ceviche or tiradito dishes to share. If you want to get a local feel, we recommend eating a meal here.
- Av. Hipolito Unanue 203, Miraflores, Lima
- El Mercado Website
- Open Tuesday through Sunday, Closed Monday
Gluten-Free Cusco Restaurants
Inca Expert has a dedicated team of guest relations officers, operations coordinators, and content creators in Cusco who put together a list of their favorite cafes and restaurants with gluten-free pickings. Grouped by neighborhood and alphabetically ordered, these gluten-free options appeal to a range of preferences.
Plaza de Armas
A trip to Cusco would not be complete without visiting the iconic Plaza de Armas in the historic downtown where a bourgeoning culinary scene hosts wonderful restaurants with nice gluten-free options. The following are some of our Cusco team’s recommendations:
- Avocado Toast and More is a good place for lunch or breakfast. Avocado is the main ingredient used in all their dishes – even the burger buns. Closed on Sundays. Open daily. (Santa Catalina Ancha 366, Cusco)
- Deli Monasterio is a fancy cafe and restaurant operated by the 5-star Belmond Hotel Monasterio. There are numerous gluten-free options for lunch, breakfast, and dinner. Open daily. (Calle Palacio 136, Cusco)
- INKAGRILL offers may options free of gluten such as ceviche and salads. Gluten-free pasta dishes are also on the menu. Open daily. (Portal de Panes 115, Cusco)
- La Bodega 138 is a well-known Italian restaurant and all their dishes can be gluten-free for an extra 5 Soles. The wood-fired pizzas are delicious and – according to our Cusco team – prepares the city’s nicest spaghetti bolognese. Open daily. (Herrajes 138, Cusco)
- Museo Del Cafe is a wonderful cafe with a great breakfast and lunch. All their crepes are gluten-free. Open daily. (Espaderos 136, Cusco)
- Organika (Calle Resbalosa 410, Cusco) and Rucula (Calle Ataud 266, Cusco) are two restaurants under the same ownership that are known for their healthy options and original recipes full of green ingredients and vegetables. Both are good gluten-free options. Open daily. Please keep in mind that Rucula is cash only.
- UCHU is a great steakhouse that offers salad and Andean potatoes as well as vegetarian skewers. People with celiac disease have commented on how helpful the waitstaff has been to cater to their diet restrictions.
San Blas Neighborhood
Up the hillside from the city’s Plaza de Armas is the artisan neighborhood of San Blas. The cobbled streets are narrow and lined with colonial-style buildings, some of which are occupied by the following gluten-free friendly cafes and restaurants:
- Acai is a store with numerous locations throughout Cusco that sells gluten-free bread and great healthy snacks such as probiotic yogurt and kombucha. In San Blas, Acai operates inside Monkey Cafe and Qura.
- Green Point is arguably the most popular restaurant for vegans in Cusco and almost everything on the menu can be prepared gluten-free. Stop by for a great lunch special between 12 pm and 2 pm. Open daily. (Carmen Bajo 235, Cusco)
- La Boheme is a warm French cafe (and adjoining hostel) with gluten-free crepes and lunch options. Closed on Mondays. (Carmen Alto 283, 2nd story, Cusco)
- La Rabona is a cafe recognized for its vegetarian options and sells gluten-free brownies, banana cake, and more. Open daily. (Calle Herrajes 146, Cusco)
- Monkey Coffee has amazing sandwiches and falafels with some gluten-free options. Closed on Tuesdays. (Siete Angelitos 638, Cusco)
- NaturAle is family-run and far less fancy than some of the city’s high-end restaurants, but the delicious gluten-free pizzas make this spot worth a meal. Open daily. (Calle Carmen Bajo 169, Cusco)
- The Churro Bar and Vegan Bakery offers gluten-free ice cream and other baked goods. Closed on Wednesdays. (Choquechaca 216-C, 2nd story, Cusco)
- The Little Bake Shop is a vegan bakery, owned and operated by Green Point, with a lot of gluten-free bread and cakes. Open daily. (Calle Carmen Bajo 222, Cusco)
- Qura is a fantastic and very healthy breakfast and lunch spot. Perfect for gluten-free. Open daily. (Calle Carmen Bajo 228, Cusco)
Bueno provecho is Spanish for “bon appetite” or “enjoy your meal.”
Food is a tremendous point of pride for Peruvians and a uniting emblem that honors the cultural and geographic diversity of their homeland. The gastronomy of Peru is famed for its flavor diversity and fusion, and with such a wide selection of restaurants to dine at in Lima and Cusco along the way to Machu Picchu, it’s easy to see how your days can be planned around mealtimes. Now, with our Spanish-English translation card and gluten-free tips, you can enjoy the world of Peruvian cuisine as a celiac. Buen provecho!