With the word ‘Ceviche’ on everyone’s lips, and Martin Morales treating this summer’s Latitude Festival to his acclaimed Peruvian fusion cuisine, we want to show you why Peru is such a tantalising foodie playground.
The history of Peru’s cuisine is in itself fascinating: from the Incan farming practices which are being revived today, and the Spanish conquistador recipes introduced in the 1600s, to the 2,800 varieties of potato which are paid homage to in the Easter Watia festival, and the quinoa super-grain which is tipped by many to be the solution to world hunger.
It’s only recently though that Peru has really taken off as a gourmet destination, with the Japanese influence merging perfectly with the coast’s incredible seafood, Michelin-starred restaurants without the Michelin starred prices, and something different to be tried in each of the distinct regions, from the Andes, Amazon, the coast, and beyond.
Here are some of our favourite Peruvian restaurants, including Astrid y Gaston in Lima which has earned itself a place in the top 50 restaurants in the world.
Astrid Y Gaston
An incredible Japanese and Peruvian fusion restaurant, recently classed as one of the top 50 restaurants in the world, Astrid y Gaston in Lima is a school and shop window for the best in Peruvian gastronomy. Its menu never fails to innovate and surprise, proffering more than fifteen types of potato, and a wine list of regional Chichas prepared in house.
Traditional anticuchos (grilled beef heart) can be found on every street corner in Lima, and Panchita offers a gourmet twist on this classic. Inside, the feel is earthy and lively, with an open grill, a wood oven, and a cool wine cellar inspired by Ayacucho altars.
Another favourite of our Latin America expert James, who was treated to dinner here on his recent trip to Peru, Limo in Cusco is a riot of red, green, yellow orange and even violet, with chillies as its star ingredient. Tucked in the second floor of the old Casa del Inquisidor, the balcony tables have amazing views of the Plaza de Armas and the ochre coloured city, from which you’ll begin with a Peruvian twist on oriental spring rolls, and small baskets of maq’tillo potatoes (a unique variety) accompanied by delicious dipping sauces.
Calle del Medio
Just a few steps away from Cuzco's Plaza de Armas, and with a classic Spanish façade, the setting is one of the aspects that sets Calle del Medio apart. Whilst here, you’ll also want to try one of their speciality cocktails, “macerados,” before tucking in to the “conscious” cuisine, which is crafted by Jaime Pesaque who believes that cooking holds a sense of social and environmental responsibility.
A relaxed ranch-style restaurant in the Sacred Valley, Wayra is the place to enjoy wonderfully fresh, seasonal produce, in the form of ‘Pachamanca’ - an ancient BBQ tradition, which is accompanied by a Peruvian Paso horse demonstration, and the colourful marinera dance.
Owned by the renowned Lambarri Orihuela family, who have inhabited the Sacred Valley for over 350 views, and with beautifully tended gardens, Hacienda Huayoccari is one of the most scenic and historic places to eat. Experience a warm and un-contrived Peruvian welcome as the family shows you their vast collection of Peruvian folk-art, before savouring a meal that’s made using the Andes’ wonderfully fragrant herbs and unique potatoes.
Another amazing setting, opposite Arequipa’s beautiful San Francisco square, Zig Zag is built with volcanic stone, and offers chic mix of contemporary and traditional Peruvian cuisine. Must tries include stone-grilled ostrich and alpaca, which – combined with the protein packed quinoa – should set you up nicely for a day of exploring and mountain biking.
Just moments away from Machu Picchu, there are few restaurants which offer a more dramatic view than Tinkuy. The relaxed restaurant of the Orient Express-owned Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge, it offers excellent Andean and International cuisine, along with traditional afternoon tea overlooking Machu Picchu. Perfect reward after the Inca Trail trek – or for the ultimate indulgence on a Luxury Peru Honeymoon.