November 10, 2023
Dining at Central, One of the World’s Best Restaurants, in Lima, Peru
Peru is a destination of breathtaking landscapes, bucket-list archaeological sites—including Machu Picchu—and rich cultural heritage. It has also become renowned in recent years as a culinary powerhouse.
One of the most acclaimed restaurants in Peru is Central Restaurante in Lima, a gastronomic destination known for innovative cooking techniques and a commitment to showcasing indigenous ingredients in a fine dining context. Central was named the World’s Best Restaurant in 2023 on the annual World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Past winners of the prestigious distinction include the legendary Noma in Copenhagen and Osteria Francescana in Modena.
Dining at Central is a unique cultural and gastronomic experience that takes diners on a journey through the rich biodiversity and traditions of Peru’s ecosystems, highlighting heritage plants and herbs (and, in some cases, ancient local cooking methods) from the ocean, desert, jungle and mountain elevations.
Artisans of Leisure travel specialist Aliza Sena, who recently enjoyed dinner at Central Restaurante, noted, “Dining at Central was like taking a trip within our trip. Peru’s agricultural diversity partially stems from its varied landscapes and ecosystems. Central plays up this theme by coursing the meal as an ascent, starting below sea level and ascending into the mountains.”
Aliza chose the Alturas Mater menu, a 17-course degustation menu that began with the Red Rocks course, featuring ingredients like barnacles and razor clams from -10m below the Pacific Ocean.
The meal progressed to the final Medicinal Plants course with congona leaves, huampo gel (a tree bark) and kjolle flowers found at 3,800m elevation in the Andes Mountains.
Courses in between included the artfully plated Desertic Coast, with cactus clams and yuyo seaweed…
…High Altitude Farmlands that featured duck tartare…
…and the colorful Extreme Altitude with kculli (purple Andean corn cultivated at high elevation).
Standout dishes of the evening included the Waters of the Desert with avocado, sea urchin and loche (a squash puree)…
…and the memorable Amazonian Lake, which featured cocona (a type of fruit) and yucca root served atop the razor-sharp teeth of piranha heads (part of the presentation, not intended for consumption).
The conceptual art of the cuisine includes the presentation of the dishes to evoke the different ecosystems.
It extends to the design elements of the tranquil dining room, with stone tables, verdant plants, tree trunks and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Even the menu design is reminiscent of the Incan agricultural terraces in the Sacred Valley.
A large table at the entrance to the restaurant displays the ingredients that appear in the dishes.
Aliza describes the experience as an incredible conclusion to “an extraordinary family trip throughout Peru. It tied all of the landscapes we had seen together: from the Inca agricultural terraces of the Sacred Valley to the sweeping views of Machu Picchu and the misty coastlines of Lima.”
Artisans of Leisure arranges private cultural and culinary tours throughout Peru. Experiencing Peru’s vibrant culinary scene, from gourmet tasting menus in Lima to colorful local markets in the Andean highlands, is a unique (and flavorful) way into the local culture and a highlight of our private Peru tours.
Some of our favorite experiences we arrange include private cooking classes, tasting tours, learning about ancient Incan cooking techniques, exploring markets, shopping for cooking utensils, dining at top restaurants including Central Restaurante, and more.
Contact Artisans of Leisure to begin planning a luxury Peru tour.