It is a fact that at the moment Peruvian cuisine is a benchmark of international cuisine: Ceviche, Arroz chaufa, Causa, Anticucho, are just some outstanding examples of tasty Peruvian gastronomy. For this reason, we have decided to draw up a list to highlight the 10 best restaurants in Lima.
The list has been drawn up based on our personal experience and some international awards such as The World’s 50 Best Restaurants of the British magazine «Restaurant«, which also publishes a section dedicated to Latin America’s 50Best
The fact that Peru lived what was known as «The gastronomic boom» about two decades ago, has made for its own merits the first and second place of this list are occupied by Maido, by Mitsuharu Tsumura (as known as Misha) and Central, by chef Virgilio Martinez , who also occupy the 8 and 5 positions respectively into the world´s bests restaurants.
The most exclusives restaurants in Lima treat the ingredients which they work with in an almost poetic, sacral way, creating proposals that encompass a culinary experience for the client and concentrate on their ingredients not only flavors, but also sensations and emotions.
The prices of these restaurants are pretty expensive, but we have to take into account that what is offered is a gastronomic experience that can hardly be repeated in another part of the world due to the quality and flavor of the inputs of this privileged natural reserve that is Peru.
The best 10 restaurants in Lima
Maximum attention to detail is a constant feature of Restaurant Maido by chef Mitsuharu Tsumura who, far from stagnating in the success he gained with the opening of his Nikkei food store a few years ago, has continued to innovate in his processes.
This innovations made Maido to win the first place in 50best restaurants in Latin America in 2017. Also is the best Peruvian restaurant of Japanese and Nikkei, according to the guide Summum 2017.
According to its chef, today a luxury restaurant should offer a «experiential experience«, betting on a cuisine that focuses on detail, creative and full of surprises. Its previous menu was a bet to put in value the enormous potential of the gastronomy of the Peruvian jungle ‘Nikkei Experiencie’ and was a success. Currently its menu 200 miles is another ode to Peruvian marine gastronomy.
Restaurant Central crowns the list of Latin America’s 50 Best for the third consecutive year (2014-15-16), mainly due to the creativity of its chef, Virgilio Martínez, who has managed to compose a menu integrating the cosmovision of Andean gastronomy with the most contemporary cuisine.
Soon, the restaurant will be moving to the bohemian district of Barranco and will create an experimentation workshop in the town of Moray, Cusco, about 3,500 meters above sea level. Currently Virgilio Martínez is also news in his native Peru for appearing in the third season of the documentary series Chef’s Table in which unveils some of the secrets of Peruvian gastronomy and its Central restaurant.
3. Astrid & Gaston
Before entering the criticism of the restaurant, it is worth mentioning that Gastón Acurio, is a referent of the Peruvian gastronomy and the great architect of the current gastronomic boom that is going through the country, considered for the fifth consecutive year as a World Culinary Destination.
For years, and even moving to San Isidrino Casa Moreyra, Acurio has been able to value the Peruvian input, which is an absolute fan and has defended until Congress approved the moratorium on the entry of transgenic products into Peru. As president of the Peruvian Society of Gastronomy (Apega) he did a great job promoting such international fairs as the popular Mistura, inviting Peru to world-class chefs like Ferrá Adriá, Redzepi and others.
The change of location of the restaurant also served to renew the menu and the atmosphere, which was descending positions in lists like the already mentioned 50Best Restaurants. Today the place is in the 30th place and the reviews are unbeatable for an author’s cuisine that brings the pachamama to the table and remakes dishes like the carapulcra, the tiradito based on sea urchins, shrimp, shells, or a spectacular chupe. The Astrid & Gastón franchise, which is in several of the most important capitals in Latin America and Europe, still has a long breath.
4. La Mar
La Mar is the star cevichería of the same emporium Gastón Acurio, that owns an ample list of restaurants that lodge the different types of food that owns the Peruvian gastronomy (mountain range or Andean, Italian fusion or until its own hamburguer restaurant).
The premises is a nice place that immediately refers to a traditional fish market, with has small boats with the catch of the day, the name of the region from which it comes, and even the name of the fisherman. The idea of Acurio is to conmemorate the act of ‘bringing the small producers to the table’.
Opened from more than a decade, this restaurant is considered one of the best cevicherias in Lima. In its menu offers dishes ranging from sushi to the oriental preparation of fish, as exotic as the devil (or carachama) and on some occasions the pejesapo (which traditionally has been prepared in Chinese restaurants of food’ chifa’).
A revelation in all gastronomic circles was the opening of Osso Carnicería y Salumería, by chef Renzo Garibaldi, who in just five years of life, managed to position a country so little known for its meats, as Peru, is a benchmark, reaching last year the 27 position in the 50Best Latam.
According to Garibaldi himself, his sausages are artisan, without nitrates, preservatives or colorings, with meat that was raised in a sustainable way, mainly from the pastures of Oxapampa (Peruvian jungle). A nice gest is that if you are a vegetarian, Garibaldi can prepare a meatless option (and I emphasize, detailed by a chef whose offer is based on beef). Osso is undoubtedly the best place to eat meat in Lima because of its offer and creativity in the dishes.
In the 30th place of the best restaurants in Latin America we find another classic that could not be missed among our recommendations: Rafael, by the famous local chef Rafael Osterling.
If we previously quoted Gastón Acurio as promoter and architect of the gastronomic boom, it would be unfair not to cite Osterling as another catalyst for the proliferation of author restaurants that pamper the inputs brought by the sea, the sierra and the Peruvian jungle.
Making signature cuisine (we must be careful with the word ‘fusion’) was a premise at the time of opening Rafael, who has been leading more than 15 years the avant-garde of Peruvian cuisine. These dishes use catch of the day, fresh supplies and all the tradition of Peruvian food, straightened with some complements of the Spanish or Italian tradition.
Renowned chef Ivan Kisic is the architect of this miraflorino restaurant that plays with a gastronomic proposal of contemporary Peruvian food, respecting with great care the inputs and focusing on the details of each dish.
Kisic uses avant-garde techniques to adapt the ancestral techniques to obtain a dish that shows the tradition and the new Peru of today. In addition to its 6-step menu, the IK restaurant offers ten entrances, with dishes such as the Andean tartar or the Amazonian cebiche, as well as nine background dishes incorporating the 190º cheetah or bacon in its juice. Broken chocolate and the buried lucuma are two delicious desserts with whom we finish our marvelous experience in IK.
The restaurant rooms are divided between La Jaba room, Semilla Bar room and the private room La Casa del Arbol, a private, discreet and cozy space to enjoy the Peruvian cuisine in an intimate way, ideal for groups of 12 people.
Continuing with the list of the 50 Best, it would have been time to talk about Malabar, however, we have preferred to recommend another premises of the creator of this restaurant: the prestigious Peruvian chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino.
In this point, we decided to include Ámaz because the gastronomy of the Amazon – despite the aforementioned Boom – remains the great forgotten and the great unknown in its capital (logical in some part by the distances and the lack of a cold chain that assures the freshness of its inputs).
That is why the proposal of Schiaffino gains value and acquires by own merits the monopoly of the kitchen of the gourmet jungle in Lima. The patarashca (traditional fish of the forest as the dorado, paiche or the maid cooked to the grilla in a leaf of bijao) possesses the ideal smoke and intense flavors that give him spices like the sachaculantro, the sweet chili or the stick. The Juanes and other traditional dishes like the cecina are prepared at their point and they make note all the flavor of the jungle.
9. Lima 27
This restaurant located in the financial district of San Isidro (Santa Luisa 295) is characterized by an international food with Peruvian fusion, highlighting its atmosphere, inside an old and beautiful house, offering a mix between the modern and cozy.
For starters, classic ceviches of corvina, tuna with oriental sauce and grilled octopus with pallares puree, are a must-be-tried. For background dishes are highly recommended their shrimp risotto, XXL ravioli, tuna to the brass, rice with shrimp or the classic lomo saltado.
The renowned chef of La Red, José del Castillo, was right on the mark with his new restaurant concept based on the spirit of an old Peruvian tavern, with a 100% Creole cuisine and well «taipá» (as they say in Peru to the well served). In just 3 years Isolina was able to enter the 50Best Restaurants LATAM with the number 41 in 2016.
During 2017, Isolina was consolidated in the 21st place of the 50Best, and catapulted its chef to the top of the national gastronomy. First of all, you will never cease to be surprised by its bread with pejerrey, a recipe that is as simple as it is delicious, to continue with its ceviche, asado de tira, tongue, a powerful lomo saltado, or your -already famous- omelet of brains. Go hungry because the dishes are for sharing