Forget about the Michelin Guide and the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide. The ultimate restaurant ranking in the world is the St Pellegrino Top 50 (which actually lists 100 restaurants).
A few Australian restaurants are in the list (I believe Tetsuya’s has been there the longest) but today’s post is not about Quay, Aria, Marque or Attica. It’s about my country’s restaurants. Yes, finally two Peruvian restaurants made it to the list (one in the actual top 50, the other in the second half) and I’m as proud as I could be.
Eating in Peru is amazing. Of course as a native I’m extremely biased, but you don’t have to believe me, better believe the zillions of tourists that have been there (many of them only to eat). You can have a meal on the street for less than $1 and be happy. You can spend a small fortune (in relation to the average wages) and be equally happy. Thousands of years of tradition and the influence from different migrating populations (Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, African) over the centuries have developed our daily menu. Geography also plays an important role by giving us so much natural richness. In the end there’s no *a* Peruvian cuisine, but multiple.
Many years ago the son of a politician decided to cheat on his father and instead of using the money he sent him for his law tuition in Paris, he went to Le Cordon Bleu. Back in Peru, he opened his first restaurant along with his wife Astrid. The chosen name was Astrid Y Gastón and the cuisine, French. The restaurant and the chef evolved over time, and while it’s still a fine dining establishment, Gastón Acurio’s involvement with the investigation and exploitation of Peruvian produce has led him to create a truly remarkable modern Peruvian cuisine. A few years ago (pre-blogs) I took my mum for dinner there and it was absolutely mind-blowing. I had the most exquisite guinea pig I’ve ever tasted. Acurio’s other restaurants (T’anta, Panchita, La Mar, etc) are among the best in Peru (yes, I’ve eaten in them all and will go back every time I can) and in several other countries. Astrid Y Gastón made its debut in the The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in place 42.
The jungle of Peru is full of interesting products that no many city chefs have dared to explore yet. Pedro Miguel Schiaffino is one of the first and few ones to experiment with them, bringing them from the rivers and the forests to the tables of his upmarket restaurant. Malabar is located in the most important business suburb in Lima, and as its name implies, has an impressive bar. But the key is not to get distracted with drinks and step directly into the dining room. 3 years ago I had there what I remember as one of the best lunches of my life, no kidding. I invited Alvaro for his birthday and we were both delighted and amazed with the explosion of flavours and textures. Sadly, this visit was also pre-this blog, although I did review the restaurant in my Spanish blog. I spent 168.97 Nuevos Soles, which at that time seemed pricey but converted it’s just 57 Australian Dollars. Bargain. Malabar entered the list in place 87.
To view the full World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, click here.
Astrid & Gastón
Calle Cantuarias 175
Miraflores, Lima, Perú
(511) 242 5387
(511) 242 4422
Calle Camino Real 101
San Isidro, Lima, Perú
(511) 440 5200
(511) 440 5300