City Index

The Best Music Venues

  1. Bootleg Theater
    2220 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles
  2. Hollywood Forever Cemetery 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood
  3. The Echo 1822 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles
  4. Fais Do Do 5257 W Adams Blvd, Los Angeles
  5. The Wiltern 3790 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles
  6. Hollywood Bowl
    2301 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles

The Best Bookshops

  1. Arcana
    8675 W Washington Blvd., Culver City
  2. Bookmarc
    8407 Melrose Pl., Los Angeles
  3. Booksoup
    8818 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles
  4. Vroman’s
    695 E. Colorado Blvd. 
  5. The Last Bookstore
    453 S Spring St., Los Angeles
  6. Hennessey + Ingalls
    214 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica

The Best Cup of Coffee

  1. Stumptown
    806 S Santa Fe Ave, Los Angeles
  2. Menotti’s
    56 Windward Ave, Venice
  3. Dogtown
    2003 Main St, Santa Monica
  4. Intelligentsia
    3922 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles
  5. Cognoscenti
    6114 Washington Blvd, Culver City
  6. Go Get Em Tiger
    230 N Larchmont Blvd, Los Angeles
  7. Coffee Commissary
    801 N Fairfax Ave #106, Los Angeles
  8. Daily Dose
    1820 Industrial St #104, Los Angeles

Kevin Starr’s Los Angeles reading list

  1. The Nowhere City by Alison Lurie Find out more
  2. Ask the Dust by John Fante Find out more
  3. After Many a Summer Dies the Swan by Aldous Huxley Find out more
  4. Any of Raymond Chandler's books, but start with The Big Sleep Find out more
  5. The writings of Carey McWilliams Find out more

Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn's Persian Dessert Tips

  1. Pink Orchid
    1927 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles 90025; for pirashki (buns stuffed with custard).
  2. Rex Bakery
    1659 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles 90025; renowned for their Noon Khameyi (cream puffs), and Persian cookies.
  3. Saffron & Rose Ice Cream Shop
    1387 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles 90024; best seasonally inspired Persian ice creams; carrot and saffron floats.
  4. Mashti Malone’s Ice Cream
    1525 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles 90024; known for ice cream sandwiches.

Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn's Favorite Persian Restaurants

  1. Javan
    1150 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles 90025.
  2. A Taste of Tehran
    1915 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles 90025.
  3. Darya Restaurant
    12130 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles 90025.
  4. Shaherzad Restaurant
    1422 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles 90024.
  5. Sholeh Restaurant
    11330 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles 90024.
  6. Shamshiri Grill
    1712 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles 90024.
  7. Flame
    1442 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles 90024.
  8. Hen House Grill
    18040 Culver Dr., Irvine 92612.

Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn's Favorite Persian CafÉs

  1. Naan Hut
    1151 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles 90025; for freshly baked sangak.
  2. Café Glace
    1441 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles 90024; popular for its Persian pizza, salad olivier (chicken salad with potatoes, eggs, gherkins and peas), asheh reshteh (vegetarian bean and noodle soup), and zaban (tongue sandwich).
  3. Attari Sandwich Shop
    1388 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles 90025; for kotlet sandwiches.
  4. Farsi Café (formerly Baran)
    1916 Westwood Blvd. Los Angeles 90025; for tahchin (Iranian rice cake with yogurt, saffron, egg and chicken)
  5. Raffi’s Place
    211 E. Broadway, Glendale 91205; for kabab.
  6. Panini Café
    10861 Lindbrook Dr., Los Angeles 90024; offers dolmadas (stuffed grape leaves), kabab, plus Mediterranean and Italian dishes.
  7. Attari Grill
    1388 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles 90025; for old-style dishes and hard-to-find delicacies like dombalan.

Martin Morales’ Foodie Tips


  1. El Mercado. This is one of the best restaurants in the world. Rafael Osterlina is one of the top two chefs in Peru. Very beautiful and unique. Every dish is a smash. Sit at the bar so you can see through to the kitchen. You can watch all the la-di-das behind you, and watch the amazing chefs working in front of you. Only open lunch times. There’s a queue at the weekends, so you’ve got to book. Website.
  2. Chez Wong. This is Javier Wong’s restaurant. He’s an 80-year-old Peruvian of Oriental descent. Working class, no bullshit, he runs a restaurant which started in his garage and now extends throughout his whole house. You might find a labourer sitting next to the Prime Minister at lunchtime. 20 seats. Only open for lunch, only on weekdays. There’s no menu and you only have two options – sweet or savoury, hot or cold. He only cooks with lemon sole. There’s no other chef. And he’s got a chopping board and a pan. That’s an amazing experience and the food is pure sex. 
  3. The neighbourhood of Barranco is amazing and was a huge inspiration for Ceviche, in terms of the aesthetic, the creativity, the vibe and the bars and restaurants and coffee shops and gift shops. It’s the Soho/Shoreditch of Lima.

Vacide Erda Zimic Top Spots for Kids


  1. The Museum at The Church of San Francisco
  2. Parque de la Reserva
  3. Antica Pizzeria, where the children can make their own pizza
  4. Bioferia Market, an organic farmers market every Saturday in Miraflores Calle 15 de Enero behind Parque Reducto No. 2
  5. Antique shopping in Surquillo Pasaje Junín, 138, Surquillo
  6. Dédalo Arte and Café Paseo Sáenz Peña 295, Barranco



Local artists who inspire Rafael Lanfranco


  1. Fernando “Huanchaco Gutiérrez. Painter, Sculpture, photographer. His work shows the complexity and richness of contemporary “chicha” culture. View online.
  2.  Aldo Shiroma Uza. Sculpture. Very ludic and tender characters whose Asian sensibilities blend with Peruvian sense of humour. View online.
  3.  Marcelo Wong. Sculpture, designer. A promising young Peruvian sculptor and designer who has gained celebrity status in Lima. His work is very clean, and depicts mundane daily situations. View online.
  4.  Fito Espinosa. Painter, Illustrator. Combines a poetic sensibility with childlike illustration and storytelling. View online.
  5.  Pablo Patrucco. Painter. Very detail-oriented, hyper-realistic artistic who deals with Peruvian urban topics in his work. View online.
  6.  Giancarlo Vítor. A very talented hyper-realistic young painter. He is very technical and a master with the medium. View online.


Jorge Olazo: The Sound of Lima in 6 Songs


  1. Frágil, “Avenida Larco” Still in the progressive rock vein of the late seventies, this song from 1980 is a true Peruvian rock classic. Its lyrics describe a night shot scene of a “viernes sangriento” (“bloody Friday”) in Miraflores. It gets national radio airplay to this day, something almost impossible for most Peruvian artists. Among musicians and fans, Frágil is often quoted as the greatest band of the country, although after their second album they vanished from the scene for years, with sporadic reunions and reformulations of its line up. Listen.
  2. Chabuca Granda, “La Flor de la Canela” If the country was asked to choose their National Anthem, this may be a strong candidate. “La Flor de la Canela” is a song by Chabuca Granda, Peru’s most important creole composer, and one of the most popular Peruvian songs in the world (along with ”El Condor Pasa”). A poetic description of downtown Lima’s atmosphere in the mid 20th century, it was inspired by a black woman, Victoria Angulo, who helped the then upcoming composer to enter the creole “royalty” circle, circa 1950. Artists from Caetano Veloso to Maria Dolores Pradera have sung it, but to listen to Chabuca herself singing it, it is beyond gorgeous. Listen.
  3. Los Mojarras, “Triciclo Perú”  Los Mojarras come from El Agustino, a neighbourhood located over the first mountains that become the Andes. As the era of violence and fear from the terrorist group The Shining Path was coming to an end, this song from 1994 emerged as a mirror for a deeply beaten society, trying to look back upon itself and recompose. Raw and direct, and with a “chicha-rock” feel, it became a massive hit when chosen as the theme song for the very first TV soap opera with social content in Peru. Listen.
  4.  Los Destellos, “La Muerte del Preso que se Escapó por ir a Bailar Cumbia” What defines what we call “Peruvian cumbia” is the prominence of the electric guitar, and here is a composition of one of its finest players: Enrique Delgado. After a successful career as a creole studio musician, he formed Los Destellos in 1966, giving a unique “Limeño” sound to a tropical movement that also includes the psychedelic influence of the jungle (Juaneco y su combo) and the Andean nostalgia (Los Shapis). “Elsa” must be Los Destellos’ hit single, but listening to this instrumental track the title of which translates to Death of a Prisoner that Escaped Because he Wanted to Dance Cumbia, one can understand why Delgado, a true innovator, deserves to be “discovered” by world music critics. He is a performer that can match the glory of pioneers like Carlos Santana. Listen.
  5. Bareto featuring Dina Páucar, “La Distancia” This song about lovers that live apart from each other also worked as a metaphor for those who have left their hometown, as did thousands of migrant families that came to Lima from everywhere in the country, mostly from the Andes. A mid tempo cumbia with a huayno feel (with saxophones that are evocative of the great brass orchestras of Huancayo, right up in the mountains, 7 hours west from Lima), “La Distancia” (The Distance) is sung as a duo with Peruvian folklore diva Dina Paucar, one of the most successful artists of the country and a true representative of the upcoming, second generation of migrant Lima residents. Listen.
  6. Cuchillazo, “Munición” There’s a vibrant underground rock scene in Lima producing weekly festivals that attract 3,000 - 10,000 fans and showcase hundreds of hardcore, metal, and punk rock bands. Headlining those festivals is Cuchillazo, with their explosive track “Munición” (Ammunition), a brave power trio that take no prisoners with their politically charged lyrics and electrifying live performance. Listen.


Rafo León’s Favourite Buildings

  1. The Church of San Francisco. Located in the oldest part of the city, this complex consists of the Convent of San Francisco (which includes several cloisters, countless works of art and vast catacombs), the Temple of San Francisco and the Chapel of Solitude. These three meet where several narrow streets also converge, opposite the iconic Hotel Europe where backpackers have been staying since the sixties.
  2. La Quinta de Presa. This is the only villa the viceroyalty ever built in Lima, under the rule of viceroy Amat in the eighteenth century. A stunning Rococo building with a lot of French soul, the viceroy and his court held many festivities on its grounds. Currently the structure is in a very precarious situation though there are ongoing efforts to restore its huge aesthetic and heritage value.
  3. The archaeological site of Pachacamac. Located in a valley about 20 miles south of Lima, this once huge site went through several occupations before the Incas, and functioned as an oracle. The site was also used for “ritual control” of earthquakes; they believed that their god, called Pachacamac, sends them as punishment for the people so they made these ceremonies there to please him. The belief has survived to this day, in some kind of “cultural continuity” in the catholic tradition of the “Señor de lo Milagros” (Lord of Miracles), which has its origin in this oracle, but was recreated by Spanish migrants and black slaves in an image of Christ that in Lima “moves masses” (in a massive religious procession every October).
  4. The Huaca Pucllana. Located in the beautiful district of Miraflores, this set of pyramids formed before the Incas arrived, served as an administrative and religious center that was very influential to the southern valley. For many years, as with almost sixty similar monuments in Lima, this temple was abandoned and subject to much neglect. Twenty years ago the magnificent restoration process began, and still continues today. It has an interesting museum next door and a privileged view both day and night (it is lit) serves one of the best restaurants in Lima, La Huaca.
  5. The House Courret. A small Art Nouveau building located on Jirón de la Unión, the most elegant shopping street in Lima during the first decades of the last century. Interesting architecture within a city that holds few testaments to Art Nouveau. For a long time the building was French photographer Eugene Courret’s studio. Courret moved to Lima in the late nineteenth century and photographed all of the significant characters in Lima at that time.


Lima’s Best Streets for Street Art

Recommended by artist FABER


  1. Calle Cajamarca, Barranco
  2. Avenida Pedro de Osma, Barranco
  3. Calle Berlin, Miraflores
  4. Calle Manuel Bonilla, Miraflores
  5. Jirón Ancash (near Bellas Artes University), Centro Histórico de Lima
  6. Jirón Quilca, Centro Histórico de Lima
  7. Avenida La Colmena, Centro Histórico de Lima
  8. Avenida Paseo de la República  (in front of the National Estadium)


Recommended Further Reading


Seven Noteworthy Fashion Designers


  1. Jessica Butrich. The rails at Jessica Butrich’s boutique are full of Peruvian pima cotton, but not in a Peruvian-kind-of-way. Her designs are whimsical, a lover of the 50s and 60s, Butrich created her latest collection around the ‘impossible love story between a penguin and a flamingo’. Her colors are fun and considered, you’ll find stripes and high-waists and a whole lot of femininity in everything she puts her hand to. Website.
  2. Meche Correa. A creative force to be reckoned with, Meche Correa is one of Peru’s best-known and most-loved designers. Inspired by everything Peru has to offer from old recycled materials to a tiny section of detail in Peruvian folk art, Meche is championing Peruvian fashion and the local design scene insisting on its quality and robustness of personality. (“If you give the Peruvian a push, he will fly,” she says.) Elaborate floral headpieces, full-bodied hand-embroidered skirts, chunky gold-gilt necklaces, clear-plastic handbags with see-through pockets full of religious charms and offerings, Meche Correa’s collections present to the world the vivid color, complex history, and sheer beauty of Peru. Website.
  3. Sumy Kujon. With Peruvian and Chinese heritage, Sumy’s clothing combines sleek, sophisticated shapes and lines with natural Peruvian fibers such as baby alpaca. Meticulously structured and colored to reflect the richness of the Amazonian jungle, Sumy’s designs are practical and yet deep in inspiration and meaning. Approaching fashion with an almost anthropological rigor, Sumy’s collection is full of individual masterpieces, each one standing for it’s own sliver of culture be it Peruvian, Chinese or something altogether obscure, every piece is beautiful and each one tells a story. Website.
  4. Andrea Llosa. Award-winning designer and niece to Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, Andrea Llosa takes inspiration from her time living abroad in Spain and London, and mixes it with her Peruvian heritage and her trained eye for interesting fabrics and silhouettes. Andrea’s collections are glamorous yet urban, contemporary and utterly wearable - a combination that takes raw talent and creativity on the designer’s part, two things that she has in abundance. You’ll find a lot of black in Andrea Llosa’s boutique, perhaps unexpected in Peru, but no less interesting and immensely sexy. Look out for her jewelry, too, which is a real standout. Website.
  5. Chiara Macchiavello for Escudo. A name with a buzz behind it, Chiara Macchiavello’s brand new fashion label, Escudo, is already making waves locally and abroad. The Escudo collection is fun and colorful, inspired by the more flamboyant side of Peruvian culture from the fluorescent chicha posters to the hand-painted cargo trucks emblazoned with slogans and outrageous graphics. You’ll see dresses and shrugs covered in brightly-dyed alpaca pompoms and plenty of bright oranges, rich burgundies and vibrant royal blues reminiscent of Andean women’s shawls and skirts. You’ll see hand-embroidery, armor-style buttons, Peruvian coins and metallic threads – layers and layers of the country’s rich culture, fitting for the label whose motto is Devoted to design, committed to heritage. Each piece is spectacular without taking itself too seriously – the perfect collaboration! Website.
  6. Alessandra Petersen. A huge advocate for Peruvian suppliers and designers, Alessandra Petersen hopes to see the local fashion industry in Lima go from strength to strength. Campaigning for the industry to create thousands of new jobs and working to bring the high-quality, unique clothing of local designers to the attention of Peruvian and international shoppers alike, Alessandra believes in the talent and abundance of resources that Peru has to offer. Her own designs, which have featured in Vogue and other high-fashion media, make use of native textiles such as pima cotton and baby alpaca and the staggering heritage and skill of Peruvian weaving and crocheting. Website.
  7. Vacide Erda Zimic. An artist to her core, Vacide Erda Zimic is a pioneer in recycling in Lima, scavenging her local area for any material, fabric, or object that she can turn into a wearable accessory. Best known for her felt bags and brooches, Vacide’s studio is a magpie’s heaven. Shelves line the walls stuffed with her market finds and the objects she’s found on Lima’s streets. Her finished accessories are fun and colorful - a perfect reflection of her vivacious personality - but with structured, intelligent shapes and designs. Better known abroad than in Lima, Vacide’s accessories can be found in museum and design shops such as MoMA and the Art Institute of Chicago. Website.