Café Cultural Restaurant Expreso Virgen de Guadalupe in Barranco, Lima, Perú

We very happily stumbled upon this excellent vegetarian buffet inside an old train car while wandering Barranco looking for a lunch spot.  For only 16 Soles, it is a steal!  The selection is also excellent, the food delicious, and the location could not be more unique!

The train car is from 1909, and the furniture and decor is all from that time period and beautifully maintained.  The buffet includes chicha to drink, a myriad of fresh veggies and salads, a soup, several delicious entrees and sides, and a couple desserts to choose from.

As salads and food this healthy is hard to come by in Perú (on our budget), we absolutely LOVED indulging in plate after plate of vitamin-rich veggie goodness!

This place was so good that we had to go back for a second lunch two days later.  Who knows, it’s quite likely we’ll end up back again for our third time today!

Location: Av. Prolongación San Martín 15, Barranco, Lima.  (Just off the main plaza.)

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El Balcón de Don Zacharias in Chivay, Perú


El Balcón de Don Zacharias is the most famous of Chivay’s group-oriented buffet restaurants, and for good reason.  For 30 Soles ($10) you can enjoy unlimited servings from the spread of soups, salads, entrees, sides, and desserts.  The price also includes coffee or tea, although other beverages are available for purchase.


As hungry Americans, we definitely appreciate a good face-stuffing buffet experience every once in awhile.  Although the price tag of Don Zacharias would normally be out of our reach, on this day we had a special reason to splurge…we had just gotten engaged!!!  Combine our excitement and celebratory moods with our hunger after a five-hour hike, and we were ready to indulge!  I particularly enjoyed the salad bar, as fresh veggies are a rarity in Perú.  We sampled the trout, chicken, pesto alpaca, lomo saltado, and vegetable ratatouille, finding each entree quite tasty.  The typical-Peruvian potato/carrot/pea salad was one of my favorite sides.

Happy face and happy stomach.

And then we hit the desserts, of course!  Chocolate cake with amaretto-flavored mousse was exactly what my sweet tooth desired.  We also enjoyed lots of fresh melon, wishing that healthy fruit would negate some of the fatty calories!  All in all, El Balcón de Don Zacharias was a great experience: friendly staff and a delicious selection!

Note my obvious display of the new left-hand ring along with the chocolate cake.
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