The wealth of its lands and cultural diversity give Peru an exquisite and tremendously varied gastronomy. Each city boasts its own regional dish with unique flavors. Thousands of countryside products and tens of living cultures, which have shared a single territory for centuries, create an offer that is practically infinite. Let your taste buds to choose for you.
Virtually everyone who visits Peru stops over in Lima before traveling on to Cusco and Machu Picchu, the Amazon, or other regions. In the past, visitors may have had low expectations and stayed only a couple of days, not enough for a Colonial city that’s almost 500 years old and whose rich cultural appeal includes pre-Inca archaeological sites and artifacts that are many centuries older.
Luxury experiences in Lima can take you by surprise, because now there are even more reasons not to shortchange your stay in this city. Besides old mansions transformed into boutique hotels in recent years, chefs, designers, and other innovators have launched an exciting evolution that has catapulted the Peruvian capital onto all kinds of “best of” lists.
If dining at world-class restaurants, shopping for fine fashion and beautifully designed home goods, and being pampered at a great spa peak your interest, come see why Peru was named the world’s No. 1 culinary destination.
Paragliding in Costa Verde, Miraflores ©Christian Vinces/PROMPERÚ
None other than renowned French chef August Escoffier once ranked Peru’s food as the world’s third best gastronomy behind French and Chinese. But it would take more than a century for Peruvian cuisine to grab the spotlight on the global culinary stage. Much credit goes to Gastón Acurio, a self-appointed ambassador of Peruvian cuisine, whose vast restaurant empire made him the country’s most famous chef. His message was that the foundation of Peru’s gastronomy is built on centuries-old family recipes and the hard work of those who catch the fish, raise the animals, and grow the native crops — including a whopping 3,000 different kinds of potatoes — that are the foundation of all this amazing food. That strategy worked.
Peruvian restaurants started popping up in food-centric world capitals, and a new generation of Peruvian chefs drew travelers to Lima just for the food. Among dozens of terrific restaurants, three consistently make the annual World’s 50 Best Restaurants list: Astrid y Gastón, Central and Maido.
Astrid y Gastón, Acurio’s flagship restaurant, occupies a beautifully restored 17th-century hacienda in the San Isidro district, dishing up contemporary Peruvian cuisine. Led by Gastón Acurio, the kitchen team is mainly made up by experienced and creative young people who are not afraid to try new things. Their goal: that the food they serve meets the highest standards of quality, while they keep researching about our resources and maintaining a relationship of mutual learning with local producers.
Nikkei food, Maido Restaurant © Karina Mendoza/Promperú
Central Restaurant ©Ernesto Benavides/ PROMPERÚ
Central Restaurant made a world culinary star of Virgilio Martínez, who last year relocated from the Miraflores neighborhood to his massive new food complex in Barranco. It also houses his wife Pia León’s restaurant Kjolle, a garden, and their research lab, Mater Iniciativa. Through his dishes, Virgilio encourages curiosity, pride and innovation. He understands the impact the food industry has and is determined to continue supporting local communities, in an effort to have a positive and sustainable impact on Peru’s socio-economic development.
And then there’s the Miraflores marvel of Japanese-Peruvian fusion, Maido. Its Lima-born, Japanese-Peruvian chef, Mitsuharu Tsumura, followed up cooking school in the U.S. with an unpaid apprenticeship at a sushi restaurant in Japan, working his way up for three years before he was allowed to learn the craft of sushi making. That prepared him for success when he opened his Nikkei cuisine restaurant that blends Japanese and Peruvian flavors and ingredients.
Nikkei food, Maido Restaurant © Karina Mendoza/Promperú
Other beloved Lima dining options include Malabar in San Isidro for chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino’s contemporary small plates that feature Amazon rainforest ingredients. At Rafael, chef Rafael Osterling wins over guests with Peruvian-Italian cuisine and the cozy vibe of art-filled dining rooms in an old home in Miraflores. Chef José del Castillo’s Isolina is a dining darling for traditional Peruvian criollo dishes served in the former summer home of wealthy Limeños, three blocks from the main square in Barranco.
A divine experience that you’ll never forget is dining in Huaca Pucllana, a seven- level truncated pyramid made of clay where you can enjoy a special meal. The Huaca is a ceremonial center built by the Lima culture between 450 and 700 AD. It later became a resting place for elite characters of the Wari Culture between 850 and 1000 AD, and finally, a site for offerings and burials of the Yschma Culture between 1000 and 1450 AD.
The Huaca Pucllana offers a culinary philosophy of using Peruvian flavors as a base for its cuisine, interpreting the classic cooking techniques, as well as the contemporary styles, and satisfies the demands of the most exquisite palates. With Arturo Rubio´s qualified contribution as the restaurant promoter and chefs Marilú Madueño and Andrea Massaro, it offers a renewed cuisine to the most demanding palates.
The restaurant has become a popular meeting point especially in the evenings, where diners can enjoy the beautiful view of the Prehispanic structures’ details thanks to a unique lightning system, which artfully illuminates its patios, plazas and enclosures.
© photographer name / PROMPERU
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