Peruvian cuisine is one of the hottest cuisines in the world right now and Lima has some incredible restaurants to choose from. Our top finds include:
Astrid y Gaston: Currently at Calle Canturias 175, the same location for 19 years, this was just listed as the top restaurant in South America by Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2013. I had one of the best meals ever. They book up at least two months in advance so I was able to get a reservation for lunch. I opted to order a la carte, two appetizers, one entree and a dessert, instead of one the the larger tasting menus. The larger has 23 small courses which can last several hours. Wine pairings for each course are also available. The restaurant was not huge but attractive, the service outstanding and the food really outstanding. They will be moving to a larger space in San Isidro in 2014 that will include a cooking school according to local friends.
My lunch included beautiful breads, octopus on top of potatoes covered in squid ink sauce, a quail egg in a sauce, causas or potatoes topped with fish, a fennel salad and tuna and white fish with a rum glaze, with coconut foam and a corn tamale with coriander, plus a decadent chocolate dessert. Each course was beautifully presented!!
Central Restaurant: The 4th best restaurant by Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2013, this is a must to visit in Lima. There is seating on two levels, but I recommend sitting along the window on the first floor and looking into the open kitchen in order to watch the chefs meticulously preparing each dish. Hopefully you will see or meet Chef Virgilio Martinez who is delightful.
I had crispy sweet potato and root vegetables in dipping sauces, a tasty eucalyptus and coca leaf bread, a light entree of sea bass dusted with an ash of vegetables in a coconut sauce with lemongrass and scallops, a small side of rice with scallops, several small pieces of lemongrass jelly on the plate, a refreshing lemonade, ice cream with mango and coconut and a small presentation of chocolates and other sweets.
Amaz: At Av. la Paz 1079, in the first floor of the Hilton in Miraflores, along with several other restaurants. Recently featured in the New York Times, this is a restaurant with a creative menu by Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, that is one of the first to use ingredients from the Peruvian Amazon. My meal included a seafood and mango salad ceviche, a refreshing fruit drink made with camu camu, paiche (the huge Amazon fish) with a cocona fruit and lemongrass sauce plus a light sponge cake with pineapple, Myer’s rum and coconut ice cream. So many new tastes for the first time! His other restaurant, Malabar in San Isidro, is listed as the 7th best restaurant by Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2013 and is highly recommended.
I opted for Tanta in San Isidro, for a light dinner after having eaten my way through Lima and its exceptional cuisine. Owned by chef Gaston Acurio, plus with reasonable prices, it is good for casual Peruvian specialties, salads, sandwiches and pastas. It has an attractive patio and indoor seating. I had a very good tamal (a Peruvian tamale) and an excellent ceviche. Pancho Fierro 115.
Cafe de Museo/Museo Larco: A lovely small museum with wonderful displays of ceramics, textiles, metal work and jewelry from Peru’s many ancient civilizations dating from BC. Don’t miss having lunch on the terrace at Cafe de Museo, which is a Gaston Acuria restaurant. They have some lovely salads and lighter fare. Av. Bolivar 1515, Pueblo Libre.
Other recommended restaurants, by locals, include:
Restaurante La 73, in Barranco at Av. El Sol Oeste 175.
Gaston Acuria’s empire includes:
La Mar in Miraflores, Av. La Mar 770: Gaston Acuria’s casual seafood dining spot.
Panchita, for typical Peruvian cuisine at Calle 2 de Mayo 298 in Miraflores.
Los Bachiche, in Miraflores at la Paz 1025, for Italian and Peruvian specialties.
Madam Tusan, for Chinese in Miraflores at Santa Cruz 859.
Other recommendations include:
Huaca Pucllana for Continential Peurvian food in the ruins in Miraflores. General Borgono cdra.8.
Chez Wong, which is Javier Wong’s well-known home-kitchen cebicheria/cevicheria. Calle Enrique Leon Garcia 114.
La Gloria, in Miraflores at Calle Atahualpa 201.
La Tranguera for steak at Av. Jose pardo 285.
Maras, at the corner of Las Begonia and Amador Merino Reyna.
El Mercado, at Hipolito Unanue 203 in Miraflores.
Pescados Capitales, at Av. La Mar 1337.
Restaurant Sonia, at Agustin Lozano La Rosa #173 Chorrillos.