“God has spoken: The future of gastronomy is being cooked up in Peru”, said one the world’s top chefs, Ferran Adrià. And that’s because Lima, or the “City of Kings”, is a gastronomic heavyweight. A true feast, not only for the eyes, but for the taste buds. Peru travel would be incomplete without sampling the city’s top culinary temples.
Housed in a 1920s manor in Lima’s posh Miraflores district, this sophisticated and intimate 15-table restaurant, which offers a delicate fusion of Peruvian, Asian and Mediterranean traditions, is famous for its fish: Lima’s freshest. Dishes, exquisitely prepared by chef-owner Rafael Osterling Letts, include sole ceviche (raw fish marinated in lime juice and ají, the Peruvian hot pepper), yellow fin tuna and scallop tartar with avocado cream, baby grilled octopus, grilled lobster in coral butter, and slowly braised lamb shanks with honey and spices. Desserts and sweets are impossible to resist, especially the burnt lemon Tahiti tarts, anything with lucuma (eggfruit), and the “trembling chocolate sponge” with cacao emulsion, roast raspberries and milk-honey ice-cream.
Malabar, ran by Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, who cut his teeth at a succession of Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe, is truly unique. Its creative seasonal menu, updated four times annually, features skillfully prepared haute cuisine Amazonian and Andean delicacies such as heart of palm soufflés, river snails, yucca purées, scallops with orange butter, seared filets of cuy, or guinea pig, and tuna tartar. The establishment’s well-stocked bar, which seats approximately 30 people, is considered to be one of the “Top Ten Bars in the World” by Food & Wine magazine. Pisco-based cocktails, such as the pisco punch (with pineapple) or Peru’s traditional pisco sour, are sure bets.
Astrid & Gastón
Astrid & Gastón, featured in this year’s S Pellegrino & Aqua Panna’s “World’s 50 Best Restaurants” ranking, is Latin America’s highest rated establishment (dining here is on most people’s travel to Peru to-do list). Owned by Peruvian chef and extraordinaire Gastón Acurio, who studied at the Cordon Bleu, it is housed in a colonial townhouse, has an elegant dining room, open kitchen and bar. Spectacular French and Asian-influenced specialty dishes –such as seafood, ceviches, lamb and duck are prepared with a myriad of native and locally-sourced ingredients. In addition to a first-rate international wine list, an irresistible dessert menu designed by master pastry Chef Astrid Gutsche is offered.
Touted as one of the best restaurants in Lima, Central, ran by Lima-born chef and Le Cordon Bleu graduate Virgilio Martínez, tops Summum’s 2012 ranking of “Peru’s Top Restaurants”. Located in the fashionable Miraflores district, just blocks away from the Pacific Ocean, the 80-seat world cuisine restaurant features a temperature-controlled chocolate cellar, studio, private salon, inviting bar, rooftop garden (which you can ask to see) and open kitchen. Beef and foie carpaccio, lamb canelone, hot cevicheand cashew shrimp are only some of the mouthwatering appetizer options. Delicious and intricately prepared main course meals include grilled ribeye with endive and garlic, rabbit ragout, the “Pig and Truffle”, served with mascarpone and native potatoes, as well as Singha bass, salmon and seared tuna (a tasting menu is also available). Desserts are a must, and can be accompanied by aromatic teas and herbal infusions.
If you just can’t decide what to eat, or if you’re in the mood for a little bit of everything, Lima has some interesting buffet options such as Brujas de Cachiche, Costa Verde and JW Marriot’s window-walled La Vista Restaurant. While the first offers an interesting spin on traditional Peruvian cuisine and the second an impressive seafood buffet, the latter is renowned for its award-wining breakfast, lunch and tea-time buffets and homemade pastries.
Travel to Peru, explore, dine and enjoy.