Restaurant reviews

Restaurant review: Armónica Café

Ana Paula Chavez / Veggieana

This is a place for everyone: carnivores, vegetarians, vegans, and in-betweens.

Restaurant review: Armónica Café

(Photo: Living in Peru/Roy Mauricio Ugaz)

Armónica Café is a proposal for those who aren’t afraid to try healthy meals that can be delicious at the same time.

Located in Miraflores on Av. La Mar, nearby a few other healthy restaurant/store options, Armónica Café, describes themselves as “a space that promotes a healthy lifestyle, balance and harmony with our bodies and the environment.” Its philosophy shows in the way they’ve decorated the cozy place, with warm yellow lights, lots of plants, buddha statues to remind of a healthy mindset, mandalas and quotes all around the walls that are constant reminders of what is really important in life.

But what is more captivating about this place is the story behind it. Solange Martínez, owner of the restaurant, had a real change of lifestyle a few years ago. She dealt with weight gain and depression, anxiety and respiratory problems, plus she used to get sick all the time. She had really bad habits like smoking, drinking alcohol, and eating hamburgers and pizza on a daily basis. One day, a friend invited her to a focus group where she had to taste a green juice (back in the day when it wasn’t a hit in Peru), and she noticed how her body reacted negatively to the vegetables – this made her realize how bad her relationship was with her body. Since then, she started reading books about nutrition, and soon enough started making her own food starting a change that really meant a lot for her. It was the start of her Facebook fanpage called “Vive Saludable”, a space where she started sharing recipes and later on selling her delicious healthy desserts. She even got to take part in Mistura, the well-known annual gastronomical event in Lima.

A relaxing atmosphere (Photo: Living in Peru/Roy Mauricio Ugaz)

Armonica Café originally started in Punta Hermosa beach, serving acaí bowls and by September 2015, Solange decided to open up in Lima. She describes her restaurant as a place where the main goal is to help people, to give them options that are healthy, but as equally tasty as the ones we’re used to. Now she holds workshops where she shows recipes and right now she’s working everyday in the restaurant and on its social media pages.

The people who go frequently are typically young women during the week, and complete families during the weekend, she tells us. That’s what is unique: they reach all kinds of people and teach them that healthy eating can taste really good too.

Have you tried a vegan huancaina topped with a quinoa burger? (Photo: Living in Peru/Roy Mauricio Ugaz)

Each meal in Armónica is made with natural, organic, whole ingredients. Every meal is customized to the request of clients. They serve breakfast, lunch, dessert, soups and smoothies. They consider plant-based options and gluten free options, and even desserts for diabetics.

Now let’s see what it has to offer…

We were able to try plenty of main dishes: vegan lasagna, vegetarian lasagna, quinoa hamburger with cocktail potatoes, organic chicken wrap, quinotto with quinoa pesto, risotto with coconut yogurt and salmon, and three types of pasta (pomodoro, cashew pesto and huancaína made with coconut milk).

Various pasta dishes for all diets (Photo: Living in Peru/Roy Mauricio Ugaz)

Every one of these was delicious, but I have to say my favorites were the three pastas. They have the same taste of what I remember eating when I was little, but a lot healthier and of course vegan. The hamburger was really good, definitely a must try. The vegan and vegetarian lasagnas made with zucchini were delicious too, however the cashew cream felt a bit rich after a while.

Smoothies and detox juices (Photo: Living in Peru/Roy Mauricio Ugaz)

Moving on to the juices and smoothies, we tried the Rejuvenecedor (acaí), Tropical (pineapple, coconut milk), Favorito (berries) and Detox (pineapple and spinach). The Detox and Favorito were my favorite smoothies, their taste is absolutely breathtaking. The one with berries literally tastes like a strawberry milkshake and the detox would make you think it tastes like a vegetable, but it’s so sweet you can drink it with no problem.

The best part, and definitely one of the main reasons Armónica is so famous, is their desserts. We tried: Brownie Parfait, Strawberry Parfait, Chocolate Cake, Waffles (which diabetics can have) and Acaí Bowl.

Yogurt decorated with tasty toppings (Photo: Living in Peru/Roy Mauricio Ugaz)

I have to say, I surrender to the Chocolate Cake, it had such a creamy consistency and intense chocolate-y flavor that I have no words. Served alongside a scoop of dairy-free ice cream, it’s the perfect combo. The waffles (which are their most famous meal) are a must if you go to Armónica. You can ask them to be decorated with three toppings, like fruit or granola and fudge or even honey and you will fall in love with it!

The only suggestion I have for them is to expand. Having a chain of restaurants like these would really enable people to see how amazing healthy food can be, and would completely help better the quality of life and health of a lot of people.
Armónica is a place you need to visit if you’re looking to eat healthy and delicious – not to mention feel full and great after. You will be amazed at the possibilities of living a healthy lifestyle, your whole mindset will change once you step in the restaurant, I assure you that. So do pay a visit if you find yourself wandering through Miraflores district.

Armónica Café
Av. La Mar 1167, Miraflores
Hours: Tues – Sun, 8 am – 9 pm

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