There is nothing we like more than a good bakery, and we stumbled upon a great one in Lima, Peru’s Panadería El Pan de La Chola (Av Mariscal La Mar 918, Miraflores 15074, Peru). The closest analogue to El Pan de la Chola we know of is Zak’s Bakery in Miami. Like Zak’s, El Pan de la Chola, is a bright, airy bakery which serves up breads, sandwiches and coffee in a friendly rustic-chic environment to a enthusiastic crowd of local and expat cognoscenti, students and families. The bakery is run by a British expat, Johnathan Day, who realized his dream of opening a bakery in Peru.
The bread is the star of the show, and you can buy it in loaves (whole grain, wheat, focaccia, etc.) or in other dishes that make use of the bread as a a centerpiece like tostadas. We ordered the avocado tostada, and it was the best avocado toast we have had (an honor previously held by Zak the Baker). The avocado toast consisted of a full Peruvian avocado (called palta in Peruvian Spanish) with thick slabs of sourdough bread, olive oil and sea salt – it was perfect! We also tried the burrata toast, which consisted of creamy ball of burrata paired with thick slices of stunning, delicious focaccia. Other options for toppings included hummus and butter with marmalade, as well as sandwiches with fillings like caprese and mortadella.Though bread is front and center, Chola also offers a huge variety of drinks to accompany your meal including fresh-squeezed beet, carrot and apple juices, iced tea (not a common beverage here) and any number of espresso drinks. For dessert there are cakes and cookies with both European and South American flavors. The chewy ginger cookie and the dense apple pound cake were both stand-outs. When we saw the basket of fresh croissants on the counter we knew we had to try one, and it turned out to be one of the best renditions we have had outside of France. We visited the bakery several times throughout our trip, and everything we got there was excellent, without exception. If you are in Lima, and looking for some of the best bread around, along with tasty sandwiches and fresh beverages, definitely stop at El Pan de La Chola, for breakfast, lunch and/or diner!