Thursday, February 07, 2008

El Bolivariano In Pueblo Libre

El Bolivariano is a well-known restaurant located in a former convent building in the Pueblo Libre district of Lima, just around the corner from the Antigua Taberna Queirolo (which I write about here) and a stone's throw from the National Museum of Archeology, Anthropology and History of Peru.

What I like most about the historic center of Pueblo Libre is it feels very much like a small village in the midst of the big city. There is a pleasant central plaza in which to stroll, quaint buildings, and at least two great options for Peruvian food.

El Bolivariano is famous for its Sunday buffets, offering a wide selection of Peruvian food at a reasonable price and with a family atmosphere. We went on a weekday and were impressed with the food and the attentive service.

Unfortunately, the day we visited we had already started our Peruvian food adventure at the Antigua Taberna Queirolo where we had eaten a number of appetizers; so, by the time we got to El Bolivariano, we didn't have room for much more. Still, we managed to sample their anticuchos, those tasty bits of beef heart heaven, and a mazamorra morada, a sweet pudding made from Peruvian purple corn. We had no complaints.

We particularly liked El Bolivariano's historic feel. The original part of the building, belonging to the local parish church, was constructed in 1780 and was known as La Huerta del Convento, The Convent Garden. At the time, Pueblo Libre was called Magdalena Vieja and was an area of productive farmlands.

The parish eventually sold the property in the late 1800s, and it was bought and sold various times before the current owners purchased it and transformed it into a restaurant. The name alludes to the fact Simón Bolívar, one of Peru's independence heroes, lived in Pueblo Libre, precisely in the colonial home facing the plaza where the National Museum of Archeology, Anthropology, and History of Peru is housed.

We left El Bolivariano stuffed and hoping to return one future Sunday so we could sample the buffet everyone told us about. On weekdays, the restaurant offers à la carte dining as well as several prix fixe meals, known in Peru as menu.

The map below indicates El Bolivariano's location, as well as that of the Antigua Taberna Queirolo, the National Museum of Archeology, Anthropology and History of Peru, and the María Magdelena church, the original parish church mentioned above. Pueblo Libre's other museum, the extraordinary Museo Larco is not that far away.

El Bolivariano
Pasaje Santa Rosa 291
Pueblo Libre, Lima

Phone: 261-9565
Website: El Bolivariano

Click here for the Peru Food main page.

TAGS: Peru, Peruvian, food, cooking, cuisine, cocina, comida, gastronomía, peruana


Gretchen Noelle said...

Several years ago this was certainly one of my favorite restaurants - one I would take all visitors to try wonderful renditions of gastronomia peruana. However, the last several times I visited (over a year ago now) both the service and quality were suffering. I hope you experienced better on both parts.

::Alejandro:: said...

Thanks Gretchen for the comment, maybe we were lucky when we went there, because we didn't encounter that. Then again, as I said, we didn't eat full meals, and the waiters were very attentive.

Canelita said...

I had no idea there was so much history behind this restaurant.

I visited El Bolivariano a couple of years ago, on a weekday night in late December. The place was packed, mostly with groups of office workers and a few tourists as well. Both service and the food were excellent--we had anticuchos and tamalitos verdes, all too delicious to last more than a couple of minutes on their plates. However, I must admit the best part was dancing the night away, as they turn part of the back room into a dancing area.

::Alejandro:: said...

@ canelita: I would love to have seen you dancing the night away...

Julio said...

Oooooooh I ate there last year the food was great although I got sick later that night, don't know it was the cause but I have no qualms about the food, can't wait to go back!

Sol said...

Ay... me has hecho salivar! La última vez que estuve en Lima fue hace un año y medio y fuí a comer a El Bolivariano. Qué rico! Pedimos lomo saltado (uno de mis favoritos) y ají de gallina. La comida peruana es absolutamente deliciosa. Pero claro, i am biased, so...

Me encanta tu blog.

Peruana en California.