This year’s seventh edition of “Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants” sponsored by S.Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, saw many Peruvian restaurants receive the prestigious award that marks excellence in global gastronomy in Latin America. Not only the best restaurant in the region is located in Lima, but another 10 gourmet temples in Peru are among the 50 best restaurants in Latin America.
Maido – Best Latin American Restaurant 2019 and Best Restaurant in Peru 2019
For the third year in a row Maido (Calle San Martin 399, Miraflores, Lima) was crowned The Best Restaurant in Latin America 2019 and Best Restaurant in Peru 2019. The flagship restaurant of Lima-born Peruvian Nikkei chef Mitsuharu ‘Micha’ Tsumura offers outstanding Japanese-Peruvian fusion cuisine with a seafood-centric menu.
“The World’s 50 Best” says about Maido and Peru’s finest Nikkei chef: “When Peru meets Japan on the plate, Nikkei is born – and chef Mitsuharu ‘Micha’ Tsumura is the Nikkei king. This translates to a welcoming spot where fresh fish and citrus-packed sauces reign supreme. No wonder it was voted The Best Restaurant in Latin America again in 2018, after knocking nearby Central from its three-year stint at No.1 in 2017.
On the menu: Chef Micha’s Nikkei Experience menu is a journey through Peruvian-Japanese fusion cuisine, with an emphasis on seafood. There is succulent cod marinated in miso with crispy nuts, nigiri sushi, sea urchin rice, 50-hour beef short rib and even tofu cheesecake ice cream. Everything sings with flavour and the natural bright colours that come from Peru’s produce. There’s also a separate sushi counter and menu for every day or business diners.”
Central – Latin America’s Best Restaurants 2019 runner-up and Sustainable Restaurant Award
For the second consecutive year Central (Av. Pedro de Osma 301, Barranco, Lima) owned by Peru's most celebrated chef Virgilio Martínez and Pía León is the second-best restaurant in Latin America and this year as well received the Sustainable Restaurant Award. Central offers a cornucopia of flavor, color and diversity from all over Peru, taking Peruvian food to new heights.
“The World’s 50 Best” says about Central: Chefs Virgilio Martínez and Pía León’s flagship restaurant is a shrine to all things Peruvian, including many ingredients that are seldom seen elsewhere. The husband-and-wife team have been travelling the length and breadth of the country for several years to source interesting and unique produce from land, sea and mountains, and their all-encompassing approach to biodiversity and sustainability earned them the Sustainable Restaurant Award 2019.
On the menu: Martínez and León like to play with the many varieties of corn, tuber, chocolate and more obscure products offered by Peru’s biodiverse landscape. Classics include Land of Corn and Extreme Stems, with newer dishes such as Waters of Nanay featuring piranha fish served in an entire, sharp-tooth-filled piranha head. The menu explores every altitude, from 20 meters below sea level to 4,100 meters above it, in 17+ courses."
Osso Carnicería y Salumería – 9th on the list of Latin America’s Best Restaurants 2019
Osso (Calle Tahiti 175, La Molina, Lima) is probably the least authentic Peruvian restaurant, but surely the best place in South America for steak. This year Osso occupies rank 9 on the list of the 50 Best Restaurants in Latin America; up 16 spots from last year’s 25the position.
“The World’s 50 Best” says about Osso: “A butcher’s shop and restaurant all rolled into one, Osso is the place to go in Lima for all the best cuts, from perfectly cooked ribeye to flavoured sausages (cheddar, rocoto pepper marmalade and limo chilli). Almost everything is grilled over the barbecue and there’s a casual a la carte and a tasting menu to be eaten with the hands only. Typical dishes: Osso carpaccio, deconstructed cutlets, artisanal hamburgers.” The vibe is “Casual, noisy and rustic – this is a joint to get your hands dirty and become at one with your carnivorous self.”
Isolina – 12th on the list of Latin America’s Best Restaurants 2019
With Isolina (Av. San Martin 101, Barranco, Lima) chef José del Castillo pays homage to Lima’s traditional home cooking, creole taverns and his mother. After being placed 13th last year, in 2019 Chef José del Castillo could make up one position placing 12th on the list of Latin America’s Best Restaurants 2019.
“The World’s 50 Best” says about Isolina: “Chef José del Castillo is giving back to Lima the ultimate comfort food experience, recreating the feeling of a mother’s love at the table with delicious and nostalgic food in generous sharing portions. Set in a historic house in Barranco – the favorite area in Lima for bohemians, artists and intellectuals – it has the authentic ambience of an old family home.
Isolina serves many dishes using offal and seafood, including cau cau con sangrecita (tripe and potato stew with fried blood), brain tortilla, liver and onions, and octopus chicharrón (a take on pork scratchings, made with octopus).”
Astrid y Gastón – 13th on the list of Latin America’s Best Restaurants 2019
Gastón Acurio was the first Peruvian chef that actively promoted Peruvian cuisine, ingredients, history and heritage around the globe. Awarded countless times, Astrid y Gastón (Av. Paz Soldan 290, San Isidro, Lima) was the first ever No.1 in the inaugural Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2013.
Gastón Acurio is famous for his contemporary Peruvian cuisine that honors ancestry and tradition. Astrid y Gastón, housed in a beautifully 17th century mansion decorated in modern, minimalist style, offers an unparalleled dining experience and first-generation modern Peruvian cuisine from one of the continent’s finest cooks
According to “the World’s 50 Best”, “This is where the magic began. It is the first establishment helmed by chef and chef-patron saint of modern Peruvian cuisine Gastón Acurio – who fortunately jacked in his law degree for hospitality – and pastry chef wife Astrid Gutsche. Opened in 1994, over the years the restaurant and its owners have grown exponentially, changing concept to focus exclusively on Peruvian culture, dishes and ingredients, as well as moving house: the eponymous restaurant relocated to Casa Moreyra in Lima’s San Isidro district in 2014. All areas are finely tuned at Astrid y Gastón, starting with the most recent menu, a tribute to Lima. Star dishes served à la carte or as part of the tasting menu include Peking-style guinea pig bao, grilled octopus with a pseudo-cereal salad and lucuma gnocchi.
Chef patron Acurio – who picked up the 2018 Diners Club Lifetime Achievement Award at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants – and his team have taken home a cluster of accolades over the years, ranking No.1 in the inaugural Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2013 and winning the Art of Hospitality Award in 2017 and Latin America’s Best Pastry Chef for Gutsche in 2015.”
Rafael – 19th on the list of Latin America’s Best Restaurants 2019
Rafael (Calle San Martin 300, Miraflores, Lima), housed in a beautiful Art Deco townhouse in Miraflores, celebrates Peru's eclectic food culture. Chef Rafael Osterling, a former lawyer and now one of Peru’s culinary stars, explores the diverse culinary heritage of the country, fusing traditional native ingredients with Italian, Asian and Nikkei influences.
“The World’s 50 Best” says about Rafael: “Rafael Osterling's eponymous restaurant, housed in a beautiful Art Deco townhouse in the chic Miraflores area, celebrates Peru's eclectic food culture. The menu draws on Peru's diverse culinary heritage, fusing traditional native ingredients with Italian, Asian and Nikkei influences. Think everything from ceviche and tiraditos to pizza and sashimi. Stand-outs include grilled octopus with pimento chimichurri, Kalamata olives and garlic confit.”
Kjolle - 21th on the list of Latin America’s Best Restaurants 2019 and Highest New Entry Award
Kjolle (Av. Pedro de Osma 301, Barranco, Lima), the second restaurant by husband and wife culinary dream team Chef Virgilio Martínez and Chef Pía León, offers creative and colorful Peruvian cuisine sourced from the Amazon to the Andes.
Pía León worked at Gastón Acurio’s flagship Astrid y Gastón and the Ritz Hotel in New York, before joining Central when she was just 21. She worked her way up to head chef and has now been at Central for over a decade being fundamental in leading the restaurant to incredible highs In 2018 she was voted Latin America’s Best Female Chef and opened Kjolle. The open-plan dining room offers a full view of León and her team in the kitchen, with all furnishings made from 100% Peruvian materials. Even the dishware is made from cedar and capirona wood sourced from the Amazon rainforest.
“The World’s 50 Best” says about Rafael: “After three years topping the Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list with her husband and co-owner Virgilio Martínez at Central, Pía León decided to branch out with her own restaurant. Kjolle (pronounced KOY-ay) comes from the name of a flowering Peruvian tree that grows at extreme altitudes. Debuting on the list at No.21, Kjolle is the winner of the Highest New Entry Award 2019.
On the menu: Like the bright orange flower that gives the restaurant its name, Kjolle’s dishes are extremely colorful and offer a taste of ingredients from all over Peru. A nine-course tasting works through sea bass with razor clams, a selection of tubers including yucca, olluco and potato, and cured duck with squid, onion and kañiwa, a grain similar to quinoa. There is also a vegetarian degustation and an à la carte menu."
La Mar - 26th on the list of Latin America’s Best Restaurants 2019
Chef Gastón’s second flagship restaurant La Mar (Av. Mariscal La Mar 770, Miraflores, Lima) surely is one of the best places in town to enjoy Peru’s national dish ceviche and a wide variety of other Peruvian fish and seafood dishes. In 2017 Gustavo Montestruque, a Cordon Bleu Peru graduate who worked in several renowned Lima restaurants, took over the kitchen at La Mar.
“The World’s 50 Best” says about La Mar: “Lima institution continues to wow diners with a vast array of ceviche. Reason to visit: To mix with Lima’s buzzing foodie crowd and sample chef Gustavo Montestruque’s creative repertoire of ceviches that include octopus, sea urchin, shrimp and grouper – along with a pisco sour or two. Typical dishes: Chalaca de causas, featuring crab, sand smelt crackling, avocado and tartare sauce. The classic ceviche is also a must-eat.”
Mil - 36th on the list of Latin America’s Best Restaurants 2019
Mil (Moray, Maras, Cusco), the third restaurant on the list by husband and wife culinary dream team Chef Virgilio Martínez (Central) and Chef Pía León (Kjolle) and sister Malena, head of the Mater Iniciativa research project, which sources ingredients for Mil, Central and Kjolle, is a sky-high dining project offering avant-garde cuisine with altitude ingredients in the Sacred Valley.
Those making the trip to Mil can book the ‘Immersion’ package, which includes a visit to the fields to experience local life, a tour of Mil and Mater including the cacao and distillation labs, a trip along the botanical route and a guided tour of the agricultural terraces that played an important role in agriculture during the Inca empire. The itinerary culminates in the eight-course tasting menu.
“The World’s 50 Best” says about Mil: “What makes it special: The epitome of destination dining, Mil requires a 70-minute flight from Lima to Cusco, then a 45-minute winding drive up to an elevation of 3,500 meters above sea level. It’s worth the journey – Mil is situated in the Sacred Valley, with breathtaking views of the Moray agricultural ruins.
On the menu: A meal at Mil consists of eight courses that explore local ingredients from ecosystems at eight different altitudes. From the central Andes, there are potatoes, stems, chaco clay and wild chincho; from the Andean forest there is pork belly, avocado and lupinus legume; and from extreme altitude there is alpaca, black quinoa and tree tomato. The menu is dominated by grains, with protein represented in lamb, llama and alpaca.”
Malabar – 48th on the list of Latin America’s Best Restaurants 2019
At Malabar (Av. Camino Real 101, San Isidro, Lima) Pedro Miguel Schiaffino brings the Amazon to life in urban Lima.
And even though the highly rated chef repeatedly stated to just offer "casual cuisine, with a simple spirit and the warmth of home", his creations are spectacular using mostly exotic ingredients, flavors, textures and ancient Andean cooking techniques. Have an apéritif before your meal at Malabar’s bar, which ranks among the top 10 in the world.
“The World’s 50 Best” says about Malabar: Visiting is “a unique Peruvian experience that cannot be recreated in any other part of the world. What makes it stand out: Plated masterpieces featuring exotic ingredients, flavors, textures and ancient Andean cooking techniques. Typical dishes: Chia, guanábana and Andean cereals; rice concoclon with seafood; jungle merengón. The kitchen works with over 100 rare products, spanning the Amazon to the Andes, including algae, roots, freshwater fish and wild fruits.”
Mayta - 49th on the list of Latin America’s Best Restaurants 2019
At Mayta (Av. Mariscal La Mar 1285, Miraflores, Lima) cutting-edge technique meets traditional ingredients in the Peruvian capital.
Chef Jaime Pesaque is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu culinary school, as well as the Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners. He spent years in Europe, working at many Michelin-starred restaurants in Italy and Spain, including former World’s Best Restaurant El Celler de Can Roca. Back in Peru, he refined his style at Al Grano, before opening Mayta in 2008. Since then Pesaque has become something of a global ambassador for Peruvian cuisine opening restaurants in Milan, Oslo, Miami, New York, Dubai and Hong Kong and 500 Grados in Lima’s district San Isidro.
“The World’s 50 Best” says about Mayta: “Mayta is a personal and contemporary interpretation of Peruvian cuisine by world-famous chef and restaurateur Jaime Pesaque. The restaurant moved to a new venue in Lima’s wealthy Miraflores district – a mecca for foodies by the Pacific coast – in 2018. Its muted tones of grey and earthy browns and simple décor allows the food to shine.
Typical dishes: Pesaque makes full use of Peru’s plentiful larder of unique ingredients, cooked with flair and using innovative techniques (think foams, emulsions and reductions) without forgetting the country’s heritage. As expected, ceviche – Peru’s national dish – is well represented, but a smoked magret duck breast with candied leg, foie gras and fried egg served on bed of risotto is the star main.
Mayta is also an award-winning pisco bar, so expect a quality selection of the spirit from a variety of distilleries and an innovative range of cocktails. It’s hard to look past the classic pisco sour, but a chilcano is worth a try, as is a cocktail made with one of many jars of pisco lining the bar filled with exotic native fruits and herbs.”