Delicious and diverse, the two words that best sum up our well-beloved Peruvian cuisine. Trains of flavours bridges together, starting with the indigenous cooking traditions from pre and post Incan Empire commingled with the influences from the coming of Spanish colonisation and immigrants from Asia, Europe and Africa. A melting pot of flavours, here’s a cuisine that can take you to different continents in one bite – think the national dish of Peruvian-Cantonese Lomo Saltado laced with soy sauce, Chaufa or what we know as Chinese fried rice and Causa, a dish highlighting mashed potatoes. Not to mention Nikkei cuisine, a beautiful marriage of local Peruvian produce and Japanese culinary techniques.
With a repertoire of time-tested local restaurants altogether with international Peruvian eateries dotted throughout every continent, these establishments are reminiscent of a museum, keeping the cooking tradition alive whilst making it prevail amongst discerning diners around the world.
Ranked on the hot list of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2020 are also many Peru-based restaurants that unquestionably have become the mouthpiece of Peruvian cuisine. Here’s a roundup of five restaurants from Peru that are listed on the top 20 of the prestigious list. They are absolute must-visits if you wish to dive deep into the pool of rich Peruvian food tradition.
A beautiful mashup of Peruvian and Japanese cuisine, Nikkei is a delicious representation of the Japanese population in Peru which is the second largest Japanese community in South America. And if you ask us, one of the best places to best experience the cuisine is here at Maido. Led by the Japanese-Peruvian Head Chef and owner, Mitsuharu “Micha” Tsumura, Maido is a restaurant that puts Nikkei cuisine in the limelight; the menu showcases Peruvian pristine produce from land and sea bridged by Japanese cooking techniques that surprises diners with familiar and comforting Asian notes whilst lending also the bold South American flavours, which altogether make it wow-worthy.
For fine dining lovers, it’s impossible to talk about Peru without mentioning Central, which has been ranked in the top ten of World’s 50 Best Restaurants over the past few years. The restaurant serves Peru on a plate, no pun intended; the menu created by the genius husband and wife team, Chef Virgilio Martínez Véliz and Pía León, represents the ecosystems of Peru, one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet with 84 ecosystems and 28 climates. Each dish is crafted from ingredients Virgilio and his team foraged and responsibly sourced from across the country – from the Amazon Rainforest to the Andes Mountains – to best depict the country’s abundance. Just in case you can’t picture, Peru alone has over 3,000 native potato varieties, some of which you’ll get to taste here at Central along with other rare native produce.
A must-stop for carnivores, Lima’s steakhouse slash butcher shop by Chef Renzo Garibaldi, Osso, doles out meat-focused dishes with a golden standard of flavours. Ranked as No.10 on Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2020, there’s no denying that the venue is the ambassador of meat in this side of the world. So whether you crave a superb steak cooked to medium-rare perfection or an ultra-meaty burger loaded with at least three layers of juicy beef patties, this is the place to be when in Lima, Peru.
Although the husband-wife cooking duo of Central makes a great team (evidenced in years of ranking the top lists of World’s 50 and LATAM’s 50 Best Restaurants), Pía León also carved out a space of her own at Kjolle where not only the native ingredients of the Andes and the Amazon shine but also the Peruvian culinary heritage through her lens as a contemporary and female chef. Dubbed The World’s Best Female Chef 2021, Pía León is without a doubt full of scrumptious surprises so expect a tasting menu that pays tribute to native produce of Peru whilst also applauding the new reimagined presentation and flavours combination.
For home-style Peruvian food that doesn’t sacrifice on taste or quality, head over to Isolina. Head Chef José del Castillo celebrates Peruvian everyday food with rich criollo origins and takes it to the world stage. Without bastardizing time-tested recipes, he cooks up staple Peruvian dishes like how the old cookbooks, moms and grandmas would in the kitchen, keeping the tradition alive one dish at a time.