Many people we have met during our travels have visited Lima. Almost all of them because the city is the international hub and they were simply passing through. I don’t recall any of them staying for more than a few days before they headed to a different part. We had slightly different plans. We were going to be in the city for an entire week for two very particular reasons.
The first reason was to attend Spanish school Monday – Friday from 9am to 1pm. We went thru Peruwayna school which received awesome reviews online but if I had to be honest I was a bit let down. 20hrs worth of Spanish lessons and I didn’t learn much at all. It was mostly a refresher course on the very little Spanish that we already knew. Definitely a let down.
The other reason was the food! Months before leaving Chicago I kept reading about the food scene here in Lima. The top two restaurants in Latin America are located in Lima. is The #7 restaurant in Latin America, Maido, is also in Lima.
Christmas gifts were a bit difficult this past December for us. We were saving money for the trip and really didn’t want or need anything in particular. I decided to print out all the information I could on Central (The #1 restaurant in Latin America), make reservations for us and print out a map and information on Lima’s shopping district in Larcomar and promised to take Lindsay shopping for an outfit and then out to dinner at Central for Christmas.
Long story short but the original plans for coming through Lima in April were cabashed early on in our trip and I’ve been looking forward to this visit for a long time now. We ended up eating at 4 different highly rated restaurants in Lima (#1, #2, #7 and #27 on the Top 50 Latin America Restaurants list) and ate at Central twice – once for lunch and once for dinner. We dined like kings and queens and are credit card statements can confirm that. These restaurants played a big role in us completely blowing our budget while in Lima and helping account for the most expensive day we’ve had yet – an $1100 day that included a $475 lunch and later casino loses that topped $400. #whoopsies
If you enjoy some good food porn keep scrolling down, if not you can stop reading right now.
I completely understand why Central is the #1 restaurant in Latin America and Astrid y Gastón is the #2. Both of these places are absolutely incredible. We ate at Central for lunch and dinner and at Astrid y Gastón for lunch. The A y G lunch was pretty hilarious because we left straight from our Spanish school, were wearing shorts and t-shirts and had our backpack. I had no idea that it was one of if not thee swankiest place in Lima. I had told Lindsay that I didn’t think that their tasting menu was more than 5 courses. I was just a bit off — there were 30 courses! #whoopsies
The food these places served was absolutely incredible. It tasted wonderful and the presentation was mind-blowing. And so were the bills. Wine pairings, the tasting menu, waters and tip came to $475 at both places. So it ain’t cheap, but it is awesome.
We took hundreds of pictures – full albums are below, but I am going to show just about a dozen or so of my favorite dishes.
What about the other restaurants?
We ate at two other top 50 restaurants while we were here. Rafael which is a European style bistro aka a regular restaurant with a menu that your order from and don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars and four hours to eat there. And it was awesome. We had so much fun and the food was super good. I would go back there in a heartbeat. Tough (for me at least) to want to go back to Astrid y Gastón for instance for another 30-course tasting menu.
The other place is the #7 spot on the top 50 list – Maido – a Japanese restaurant that is also ranked #44 in the world. I have to say – not very impressed. This one made me question whether the whole “World’s Top…” ratings were a bit rigged. I just didn’t have that great of a meal. We ordered sashimi, rolls, a little Japanese sandwich and a pork belly dish. None of it was impressive and I had to send my pork belly back to actually be cooked (it was supposed to be crispy but was soggy and room temperature).
I would totally show you all the pictures we took of the food from Maido if we took pictures. The thing is we didn’t Because I forgot our phone. Because I am an idiot. I can tell you though I am not sure that any of the pics would have made the cut next to the plates from Astrid or Central.
Our friends at Tour the Tropics wrote an awesome piece on 100 Things to do in Peru and they mentioned us in their #19 recommendation on trying the local cuisine. If you’re thinking about heading to Peru make sure you read this!