Peru is the culinary capital of South America and for good reason. The cuisine is inventive and varied ranging from delectable seafood dishes to fine grilled meats and delicious Asian and European fusion. To complement your personalized Peru itinerary, Pacha Perú has the restaurant recommendation for every destination on your custom Peru tour.
The nutrient-rich waters of the Humboldt Current have made Peru’s coast rich fishing ground. For lovers of seafood, this is a land of plenty. If you only eat one fish dish during your personalized tour of Peru, make it ceviche – thinly cut fish or shellfish marinated in citrus juices, chili and onions.
LA MAR CEVICHERIA
Ceviche is a dish that is both well-known and well-loved outside Peru. But nowhere does it as well as its birthplace. In Gastón Acurio’s La Mar, this delectable dish comes in many forms, with several varieties of fish (tuna, octopus, scallops and sea bass among others) and marinades. If you are struggling to decide which to order, choose a sampler-style plate instead, which includes three different types of ceviche. Those who don’t eat fish can opt for a vegetarian version with mushrooms.
Though ceviche is a specialty, it’s not the only thing to try; various other Peruvian dishes and fresh fish options bulk out the menu. The best seats in the house are on the bamboo-roofed patio, but you’ll have to get there early to get them. La Mar doesn’t take reservations and long lines are common. Facebook: La Mar Cevicheria
Pescados Capitales is Spanish for seven deadly sins, and the menu here plays off this theme. Their excellent ceviches are labeled as “virtues.” The “generosidad” (generosity) ceviche includes meaty chunks of salmon, tuna and sole, marinated in lime and adorned with ají chilies and red onions, while the “paciencia” (patience) ceviche Gandhi – named for the great Indian peace activist – is made with chita (a white fish), prawns and calamari, and is served with mango chutney, peaches, white onion and mushrooms.
As the food heats up, so too do the sins: there’s “avaricia” (greed) pescado Rockefeller and “lujuria” (lust), fettucine with prawns, scallops, swordfish and calamari in a nut-based sauce. Pescados Capitales is one of the few restaurants to offer ceviche in the evenings, meaning gluttons can indulge themselves at dinner. It is, understandably, busy, so reservations are recommended – ask your Pacha Perú host to book a table for you during your customized tour of Peru. Facebook: Pescados Capitales
At this Miraflores restaurant, ceviche is elevated to a fine art. Start with a helping of Nikkei-style (Japanese-Peruvian-style) or classic Peruvian ceviche, or order a sampler to try a little of each. There’s also a range of imaginative seafood dishes, among them langostino and artichoke lasagna, and a selection of meat-based Peruvian entrées, such as arroz con pato (duck with rice). Alfresco is among the best ceviche spots in Lima, and indeed, the world. Facebook: Alfresco Restaurant
Ranking number four on the Word’s 50 Best Restaurants List is no small achievement, but with truly excellent food, this avant-garde restaurant is deserving of the accolade. Chef Virgilio and his team focus on the biodiversity of Peru, taking diners on a whistle-stop tour-by-tastebuds through the coast, jungle, lowlands and highlands. Rare ingredients, such as cushuro (freshwater algae from high-altitude Andean lakes) and alrampo (a pink cacti plant), are plucked from extreme locations and served here. Since opening in 2009, Central has been showered with praise by reviewers, who commend the kitchen’s demonstrable knowledge of Peruvian history, science and culture. Reservations are required; Pacha Perú can help you get a table here during your luxury tour of Peru. Facebook: Central Restaurant
LA ROSA NAUTICA
In property, the adage of choice is “location, location, location;” this also holds true for restaurants. At upscale La Rosa Nautica, the setting is stellar, with the dining room jutting out over the pier at Makaha Beach. Not to be overshadowed by surfers showing off on the nearby waves, Chef Iván Flores and his dynamic team also turn out seriously special food. Diners can choose from daily dishes, which range from fish in a salt crust to oven-cooked kid with yellow chili pepper sauce. Desserts – among them lúcuma (a starchy-sweet Peruvian fruit) tart on a “chocolate mirror” and a crunchy chocolate mousse with pralines and lúcuma sauce – are equally show-stopping. Reservations are a must, so ask Kuoda to arrange them as part of your exclusive tour of Peru.
Criollo cuisine blends elements of indigenous, Spanish, African and Western European culinary styles to produce unique flavor combinations. The emphasis is on fresh, natural ingredients. Local herbs and seasonings, such as mint-like huacatay and muña, cilantro and flavorful ají peppers, are used to add depth and complexity.
FIESTA CHICLAYO GOURMET RESTAURANT
The latest success story from the Solis family – who have owned and operated gourmet restaurants for more than half a century – is Chef Hector Solis’s Fiesta Chiclayo, which ranks among Latin America’s top 50 restaurants. Old favorites from Peru’s northern coastal regions take pride of place on the menu – think arroz con pato (cilantro-tinged rice tossed with tender pieces of roast duck) and ceviche. Goat appears more than once in dishes such as oven-roasted suckling kid and charcoal-broiled kid rib. If your luxury tour of Peru takes you to Lima, have Pacha Perú call to make a reservation here. Alternatively, have us book a table at one of its sister restaurants in Chiclayo or Trujillo. Facebook: Fiesta Chiclayo Gourmet
ASTRID Y GASTON
Occupying the bronze spot on the 2015 list of Latin America’s 50 best restaurants, Astrid y Gastón has a superb reputation. This restaurant recently moved to Casa Moreyra, a palatial-style historic house in Lima, where head chef Diego Muñoz continues to cook up a storm. Peruvian fare is the order of the day and regionally sourced ingredients are meticulously prepared and presented.
Tasting menus include a whopping 28-course extravaganza known as “Memories of my Land,” devoted to the flavors of Gastón Acurio’s childhood. Alternatively, order off the a la carte, where you can pick from dishes such as noble robado fish with oysters and miso sauce or cuy Pekines, a twist on Peking duck with guinea pig replacing the waterfowl as the main protein. This restaurant is much sought after and fills up months in advance, so you’ll have to get in early; Pacha Perú can help you procure a table.
Another restaurant from Peru’s culinary king, Gastón Acurio, Chicha is dedicated to the tastes of Cusco. Intriguing ingredients, such as cushuro (edible roe-like algae) and muña (an aromatic herb) are put to use, while regional meats are also given the Acurio treatment: cuy (guinea pig) comes accompanied by chaufa (Andean fried rice), egg, fried banana, cabbage and yacón (a sweet local tuber) salad, while alpaca is served as a tartare. Want to dine at Chicha or at any of superstar chef Acurio’s other Peruvian establishments? We can arrange reservations at one (or more!) on your behalf. Facebook: Chicha Restaurante
UCHU PERUVIAN STEAKHOUSE
This elegant Cusco restaurant exudes a glamorous air, with chef Marcelo Batata plating up fine grilled meats and imaginative dishes built around traditional ingredients.
For starters, try the crema de papas Peruanas, a velvety potato soup concoction topped with caramelized pecans. For mains, it’s got to be meat, which will arrive at the table still sizzling away on a hot stone grill. Loco carnes, a combination of alpaca tenderloin, beef tenderloin and lamb chops, is a tempting choice, as are the anticuchos (skewered meats), which come with a to-die-for huacatay (an aromatic herb) sauce. Add in a few pisco-based cocktails, fresh fruit daiquiris and good company, and you have the makings of a memorable carnivorous night out. Have Pacha Perú plan a meal here as part of your Peru luxury travel experience. Facebook: Uchu Restaurante
CAFE MORENA PERUVIAN KITCHEN
Café Morena takes home-style Criollo dishes and adds the odd unconventional twist to surprise and delight diners. Portions are generous, plating is artful and the homey atmosphere makes it the kind of place where you can comfortably linger.
You might start by sharing a portion of empanadas (golden, crescent-shaped pastries filled with meat) and papa rellenos (fried potato croquettes with beef and veggies). Continue feasting with a lomo saltado sandwich, filled with sautéed steak strips, tomatoes and onions, and accompanied by perfectly cooked potatoes – crisp on the outside, tender on the inside.
Other mains, among them chicken pasta with a creamy tomato sauce, aren’t specifically Criollo, but are tasty nevertheless. This place has developed a cult following among travelers. Pacha Perú can arrange for you to dine here during your stay in Cusco. Facebook: Cafe Morena Peruvian Kitchen
Another Criollo favorite, the menu at Cusco’s Pachapapa restaurant runs the gamut of Peruvian classics, from alpaca anticucho (strongly seasoned skewers) to smoked trout causa (a layered potato cake) to ají de gallina (a creamy yet spicy chicken stew), as well as wood-smoked meats and pizzas.
The most camera-ready option here is cuy (guinea pig), which arrives at the table whole and roasted, before being cut into quarters for eating. There’s an airy patio with outdoor heaters that’s perfect for al fresco dining during the dry season, though tables quickly fill so ask Pacha Perú to book in advance.
From Cantonese-style stir fries to sashimi-influenced ceviche, one only has to look at a handful of menus to see evidence of Far Eastern influence on Peru’s cuisine. Asian immigrants – first Chinese, then Japanese – began arriving here as early as the 19th century, and a Peruvian-Chinese fusion cuisine (Chifa) and a Peruvian-Japanese hybrid (Nikkei), soon developed. To sample these multifarious cuisines, incorporate visits to one or more of the following restaurants into your personalized tour of Peru. Facebook: Asian Food
Maido may just be the best place in the city to try Nikkei cooking. At the helm is Lima-born Chef Mitsuharu Tsumura who traveled to Japan at the age of 21 to hone his culinary chops under the celebrated Chef Hirai at Seto Sushi.
At Maido, the freshest, most sustainable dishes are fastidiously prepared and carefully cooked. The “Nikkei Passion” encapsulates the cross-pollinated flavors of Peruvian-Japanese cuisine, with dishes such as Kansai yakimeshi (Japanese fried rice with eggs, prawns and a sweet-sour ankake sauce), an assortment of sushi and sashimi starters and creative desserts, such as the “egg and nest” (a white-chocolate egg filled with custard apple sorbet and aguaymanto “yolks”).
Reservations are recommended and can be organized by a Pacha Perú representative.
The old stomping ground of President Alberto Fujimori, this pioneering Nikkei restaurant was opened more than 40 years ago by Humberto Sato, who learned how to cook from his mother. Sato’s sons have now joined the operation, and Costanera 700 remains a firm favorite on Lima’s fusion dining scene.
Seafood dominates, though there are some pasta dishes as well as specialty platters of duck, goat and beef. For some tableside drama, order chita a la sal; this salt-encrusted fish will be set alight and cracked open in front of you. If you’re planning a celebratory meal during a family trip to Peru, the chita a la sal is a wonderful option – have Pacha Perú book a table in advance. Facebook: Costanera 700 Restaurant
When you hear the name Gastón Acurio, you know you are in good hands. Peru’s superstar chef and restaurateur opened Madam Tusan, an upscale Chifa (Peru-Chinese fusion) restaurant in 2011, and – as with most things he touches – it was an instant hit.
In the dining room, a huge red dragon made by artist Marcelo Wong hangs from the ceiling, watching over diners as they munch on upscale Chifa cuisine. There are more than 100 dishes to choose from, including steamed dumplings, fried shrimp covered in sweet potato strips and chicharron de pollo valiente (chicken stir-fried with Peruvian ají chilies, ginger, green onions), whose continent-spanning ingredients exemplifies the hybrid flavors of Chifa cuisine.
It’s advisable to call for a reservation at least a few days prior to your meal if you want to dine here during your luxury tour of Peru. Facebook: Madam Tusan Restaurant