When I arrived in Lima over 10 years ago, there were a sparse amount of international restaurants, not including the abundance of chifa, Japanese and nikkei establishments. Ever so slowly there has been a slight increase in the international options. When I first arrived, the only Thai restaurant I knew of was Siam in the Surco area. Within the past few years, however, we have had two popular and authentic Thai additions…the restaurants Bangkok and Ají 555.
The most recent newcomer to the Thai cuisine scene is Lima Thai, which opened in December of 2016. Lima Thai is the creation of Roger Arakaki and the same group of owners that are involved with Sushi Ito (a restaurant mainstay for the past 20 years) as well as Fiamma (known for their beef and pasta). They bring their good reputation as well as an experienced, knowledgeable and attentive cooking and wait staff. In the brief time that Lima Thai has been open, they have quickly developed a following as well as return customers.
When we first walked down the stairs to enter the premises of Lima Thai, we were immediately transported to a Thai-inspired peaceful and relaxing oasis. The ambiance and attention to detail were exhibited in every inch of the restaurant premises. From the detailed, carved ornate wood doors…to the simple, yet elegant black and gold decorative accents in the interior of the restaurant. Thai-inspired statues were placed tastefully throughout the indoor and outdoor patio premises. We sat outside on the patio among luxurious greenery and mini cascading waterfalls. The outdoor patio has regular seating as well as two separate, more private areas with large sunken tables and lush, colorful cushions for seating.
(Photo: Caroll Ortiz/ Living in Peru)
Lima Thai offers refreshing non-alcoholic beverages as well as a wide variety of cocktails. The cocktails we sampled were excellent and the presentations were aesthetically pleasing. My favorite was the Lima Thai (S. 29), a crispy concoction of Tanqueray gin, grapefruit juice, ginger, a rosemary sprig, and tonic water. The accent of a tiny ají limo pepper was a nice touch. A perfect beverage on this hot day.
The cirocska (S/. 39), appealed to the vodka lover in me. The combination of Ciroc coconut vodka and an abundance of Tahiti lime slices was on the stronger side, but delicious. The blue-tinged glass with the extra touch of sugar and coconut on the rim added to the tropical vibe of this cocktail.
The cuisine at Lima Thai is not entirely 100% authentic Thai, but they do use traditional Thai recipes incorporating many of the typical Thai ingredients as well as a few Peruvian ingredients. The use of peanuts, rice noodles, coconut, curry, cilantro, and lime is used prevalently in many Thai dishes. Thai food has a balanced mixture of flavors such as salty, sweet, spicy and sour and Lima Thai more than adequately provides this in their dishes. The portions are reasonable and most dishes can serve one or two people. The menu is varied. You will find symbols of red peppers denoting the dishes that are spicy and what level of spiciness (low, medium or high). You may choose the level of spice you prefer. Vegetarian options are available and many of the dishes can be prepared for vegetarian preferences by request. Each menu item is assigned a number as well which makes it easier to order than trying to pronounce the actual Thai name.
(Photo: Caroll Ortiz/Living in Peru)
We began our culinary experience at Lima Thai with three starters. The Satay Moo (S/. 27) was a decent serving of four pork brochettes on skewers served with a delicious and creamy peanut and coconut sauce. The Poh Pía Sod (S/. 29), four plump fresh spring rolls made out of rice paper and filled with shrimp, rice noodles, carrot, and cilantro was a typical rendition of this dish accompanied by a sweet and sour dipping sauce. The Pik Gai Thot (S/. 29) was one of my favorite starters. These chicken wings accented with peanuts and green onion had a slightly sweet and spicy chili sauce with a nice “kick” to them. They were slightly addictive and very flavorful.
Lima Thai offers three salads on their menu as well as the new one we sampled the day of our visit, the ensalada Som Tam Lima Thai (S/. 31). We enjoyed the crispness of textures and freshness of the ingredients. This salad with julienned mango, papaya, pea pods, carrot, along with cherry tomatoes and large shrimp, and accented with peanuts was a definite hit. The sauce had a light touch of fresh lime juice and Nam Pla (a fermented fish sauce which is indispensable in the use of many Thai dishes).
On to our curry dish. The coconut-based curries are numerous (red, yellow, green, panang and massaman). Curry is used in Thai cuisine to add intensity to the dishes. Typical Thai curry dishes share similar bases and all contain coconut milk, a variety of vègetables and meats, fish, pork or seafood. The menu at Lima Thai offers five curry options and we sampled a brand new one the day of our visit. We thoroughly enjoyed the Curry Massaman de Langostinos (S/. 39).
Massaman curry is Persian-influenced and uses dried spices which make it more unique. This curry is a combination of dried red chilies, shallots, garlic, galangal, lemongrass, coriander, cumin, cloves, white pepper, salt, and shrimp paste and also includes peanuts and whole spices such as cinnamon, white cardamom, and nutmeg. This dish incorporated the Massaman curry as its base along with zucchini, onion, carrot, pieces of avocado, and large shrimp. The dish was stew-like in appearance, mild in taste and slightly sweet with a mild taste of roasted spices. I love curry and this dish was creamy and rich…an exceptional dish. Due to the richness of this dish, I feel it could be easily shared between 2 to 3 people. Typically curry dishes are served with jasmine rice. At Lima Thai, none of the curry dishes are accompanied with rice and must be ordered separately. I found this a bit odd.
(Photo: Caroll Ortiz/Living in Peru)
Our main dish, the Sen Mee Pad Nuea (S/. 37), was a satisfying and wonderful option for meat lovers. Juicy pieces of tender veal, along with sliced green onion, carrots, pea pods, bell pepper, and onion, served on top of sautéed noodles was ample enough for at least two hungry diners.
Our two desserts were a pleasant way to finish our meal. We sampled the Gluay Thot (S/. 27), which consisted of fried banana pieces accompanied by creamy artisanal ice cream, which was the lychee flavor this day. This dessert is somewhat typical of many Asian-style desserts and nothing out of the ordinary.
Our second dessert, on the other hand, was a “star”, especially if you like mango. The Crema de Mango (S/. 29) consisted of a cold mango cream (like a thick soup) with pieces of mango and grated coconut and smack dab in the middle was a wonderful large cocada. This dome-shaped treat typically consists of eggs, shredded coconut, sugar and condensed milk which is baked in the oven and has a soft and chewy texture, similar in flavor to the macaroon cookie. I find it to be overly sweet most of the time, but in this particular dish, the mango and cocada complemented each other.
Lima Thai is a nice international addition to this bustling area and restaurant scene.
- Lima Thai
El Polo 759 (C.C. El Polo Plaza)
Santiago de Surco
Hours: Monday thru Saturday: 12:15 p.m.-3:30 p.m. 7:00 p.m.-11:30 p.m.
Delivery available to Surco and LaMolina (15 soles charge)
Capacity: approx. 60 people
- Starter/Appetizers: S/. 25-29
Salads: S/. 29-31
Soups: S/. 31-39
Curries: S/. 37-41
Main dishes: S/. 35-39
Rice: S/. 7-19
Desserts: S/. 19-29
Non-alcoholic Beverages: S/. 8- 12
Teas/Infusions: S/. 9
Beer: S/. 10-16
Wine by the glass: S/. 18-19
Wine (bottle): S/. 29-129
Full Cocktail bar
House Cocktails: S/. 29-39
Other cocktails: S/. 21-39