The 7 best upscale restaurants in Lima
With the culinary opportunities that Lima has to offer, it is with difficulty in selection, but great pleasure, that we recommend the following upscale restaurants to compliment your experience in Peru. These restaurants have been handpicked based on the experience you will have and the memories they will create for you. The setting, customer service, and general character will captivate you. Although these are considered upscale restaurants, none hold a strict dress code.
Price range: approximately $50-75 per person (appetizer, main course and drink).
Suggested tipping: about 10%
Dress Code: Flexible/Casual
1. Astrid & Gaston
2013 has been an exciting year for Peruvian cuisine. Its growing celebrity in the world can be witnessed in this year’s Pellegrino’s list of World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Astrid & Gaston has made the list the last 3 consecutive years. However, this year it stands out with the “Highest Climber” award, moving from 35th to 14th. Needless to say, Astrid & Gaston is among Lima’s best fine dining options.
Perhaps the best way to describe the restaurant is to know more about its creator, Chef Gaston Acurio. Acurio left law school in his third year of study to pursue his true passion: food. Although the restaurant debuted originally as a French Restaurant, Acurio could not deny the unique and inspirational spices, products and preparation methods that Peru has to offer. Recognizing this grand point of Peruvian pride, he swapped the cream and butter for the piquant combinations of aguaymanto (small tropical fruit) and ají amarillo (spicy yellow pepper) to contrast the nutty textures of toasted, Peruvian native, quinoa.
Today Acurio and his restaurant have become a voice of Peruvian cultural diversity and originality through the presentation of food that is rooted in tradition, and inspires through innovation while portraying and divulging the marvels of Peruvian culture and biodiversity. This rebel lawyer chef who returned to Lima from France with, according to Acurio, “no money, no job, a pregnant wife and an angry father,” is now the proud owner of 14 restaurants in Lima alone, each one embracing a unique facet of Peru.
The dining experience at Astrid & Gaston is one that enriches the soul while filling your tummy with the integrity of each tasty delicacy that tantalizes your taste buds with sublime yet daring flavor combinations. Try the famous “Cuy Pekines” (Pekinese Guinea Pig).
Bring along your favorite bottle of wine (corkage is free) to accompany your meal, or take advantage of the Wine Steward (Sommelier) to recommend the best wine to compliment your dish. After all, Astrid & Gaston has won best wine list of Peru at the Summum awards for the last three consecutive years!
Make reservations in advance. It is worth mentioning that the menu offered at Astrid & Gaston changes every 6 months presenting innovative contrasts and compliments of colors, flavors and textures.
Address: Calle Cantaurias 175, Miraflores
The food at Central, with its Mediterranean undertones and exotic foreign spices combined with a Peruvian flare, define young Chef Virigilio Martinez Veliz’s concept of Haut Peruvian Fusion Cuisine. This très chic restaurant won first place in Summum’s top list 2012.
It is no surprise that Martinez’s “office” resembles a laboratory with herbs, spices, essences, a collection of books and even a whiteboard to scribe the ideas that become his culinary masterpieces. He even has an organic garden in-situ that he uses to garnish and flavor his creations.
Sitting down for a dinner at this palace of innovation and crossover is comparable to visiting a museum of modern art that you can savor—a Guggenheim for the palate. The modern and somewhat steely premises of Central are balanced by the exquisite care that goes into the presentation of each dish. Every meal is a tribute to creation. The design will not only compliment the dynamics of your dish but also brighten and titillate your mind with its poetic placement.
Try the Camaron de Aguas Bajo Andinas (Low-Land Andean River Crawfish) to savor succulent crawfish enveloped in the unique flavor combinations of ayrampo (cactus seeds), cuchuro (Andean blue-green algae), and rocoto (highland cousin of the habanero pepper).
Or, venture to the Amazon basin of Peru and order the Paiche en Huerta Amazone Yurimaguas (Paiche on an Amazonian Garden of Yurimaguas) to experience the wisdom of the ancient Moche and Chimu civilizations of northwestern Peru intermingled with Andean potatoes, Amazonian fish and delicate palm hearts. Mentionable ingredients: zetas Marayhuaca, Arrachaca, Chonta, and Stevia.
The importance of Virgilio Martinez’s work to raise awareness or the multitudinous nutritive wealth that Peru has to share with the world cannot be underestimated. You must treat yourself to this cultural-geographic tour of Peru via your palate.
Central boasts 2nd place in the Summum 2012 awards for best wine list and sommelier of Peru. You’ll enjoy a top-quality and truly avant-garde dining experience.
Ámaz, as its name suggests, is Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino’s Amazonian-inspired cuisine restaurant. According to the New York Times, Schiaffino’s culinary research is a rare exception since in spite of the vastness of the region and Peruvian gastronomic-boom, Amazonian-cuisine has gone all but ignored.
Dine at Ámaz for a Neotropical experience even if you don’t make it to the Amazon this time. Ámaz boasts a wooden ceiling inspired in Shipibo style patterns, and also flaunts jungle-like décor which uses colorful furniture and huambe fibers collected from the Nauta region of Northern Peru. These touches create a natural and lively feel to the restaurant.
Chef Schiaffino is well-known for his liking of exotic ingredients, some of which were incorporated into his other Lima restaurant, Malabar. However, it’s this bold proposal that has gained him much acclaim for the extra-ordinary foods that the restaurant offers. Step out of your comfort zone. and become a culinary Ámaz-onian palate explorer and start with the Churros Pishpirones (Giant Amazonian Snails) served slightly spicy, in shell and balanced with tapioca pearls. Then savor a fish prepared patarashca style (cooked in leaves over open flame) —a popular preparation from the Northern Amazon of Peru. For light options try Peruvian flared spring rolls, Lomito Saltado and refreshing, delicate Heart-of-Palm salad. If you haven’t had your fill yet, try any number of fruit sorbets or tropical fruit cocktails. Don’t forget the traditional Jungle drink Siete Raices, said to revitalize sensuality on Amazonian wedding nights!
Address: Av. La Paz 1079-Miraflores
Phone: (+51 1) 221-9393
Lunch or Dinner: Mon.-Sat. & Holidays/Sun.: 12:30-1:30 / 12:30-16:00
Tips: Reservations Strongly Recommended
4. Rosa Nautica
While in Lima, you may notice that there is not much development with beach access; rather, the city is built atop cliffs that overlook it. Perhaps this is why in 1983 the Rosa Nautica Restaurante was built. This restaurant is built on a pier that stems from the beach circuit of Lima, delightfully stretching over the rough rocky edges that guard the coast and buds into the open Victorian-style structure whose nocturnal brilliance dances in the reflection of the crashing waves—a notable Miraflores landmark.
In a culinary hot-spot like Lima, it can be a challenge to keep up with the vanguard restaurants and innovations that sprinkle the city. La Rosa Nautica is a classic. It offers a tremendous menu with a full spectrum of tastes for international consumers. While the food continues to place the restaurant in top restaurant lists, it is definitely the attentive service and gazebo-like embrace that makes the visit a must.
La Rosa Nautica offers a cozy, comforting dining experience with spectacular views. Enjoy lunch near the broad windows and watch surfers take on the waves below, or a romantic candle-light dinner that frames ardent Limeñan summer sunsets transition to periwinkle twilight. The range of eats is suitable for even the finickiest palates. Try anything from Nikkei (Peruvian-Japanese fusion), Funghi Crayfish Rissotto, or classic Chicken Florentine for the conservative diner. Let’s not forget dessert! You must try the lucuma-filled crêpes with chocolate sauce. Bon appétit!
Lucuma-filled crêpe with chocolate sauce
Address: Espigón 4, Circuito de Playas, Miraflores
Menu: Click here
Tip: Call ahead to reserve a table with a view
5. Huaca Pucllana
Huaca Pucllana Restaurant is arguably the most Limeñan restaurant. It is located adjacent to an ancient Ceremonial Pyramid, its namesake, (Huaca-sacred; Pucllay-game) constructed circa 500 AD by the Lima Culture (200-700 AD). At which point there was some overlap by the major Wari Civilization (500-1000AD) which spanned over major areas of Peru and even came to build major road systems that the Incas later utilized.
The structure of the pyramid is such that these ancient peoples were able to bring river water to the desert to sustain their pastoral/agricultural lifestyles. This hydrological engineering, coupled with ingenious terrace farming, is so effective that it continues to sustain remote communities throughout Peru.
At night, this standing memory of the past is lighted to dramatically illuminate the unearthed adobe structures. Huaca Pucllana restaurant leases space, and donates a portion of the proceeds to maintenance and research at the ruins. The restaurant conducts 20 minute tours for its dining customers from 7:30-10:30pm (except Tuesdays). Huaca Pucllana has been on the top of Lima’s best dining options not only for its outstanding archeological views, but also the fine quality of their food.
Chef Marilú Madueño runs a kitchen true to its location: founded on the timeless wisdom of the many faces of Peruvian people. This Peruvian cuisine restaurant embraces classic regional dishes while elevating them to gourmet standard. Pamper your palate with a classic Limeñan ceviche (fresh raw fish in lime-chili pepper marinade), traditional Arequipeñan rocoto relleno (spicy pepper stuffed full of flavorful minced-beef, baked and topped with molten cheese), or venture with Novoandina (Contemporary Peruvian cuisine) creations such as the seared sea bass crusted with crunchy red quinoa and Andean herbs served on a bed of asparagus and racacha freshened with a delicate sprig of greens. Enhance your evening with the unforgettable Chocolate crème caramel with chirimoya foam and orange croquant, or a sampler of classic Peruvian desserts for the indecisive sweet tooth.
Address: Huaca Pucllana, Calle General Borgoño at Ayacucho, Miraflores
Tip: Call ahead to reserve the best seats of the house: just outside with view of the pyramid.
6. Fiesta Gourmet
Fiesta Gourmet has a long family history that started in the 1950s in the Northern city of Peru, Chiclayo, in the region of Lambayeque. At that point Chef Hector Solís’ grandfather started their first restaurant, La Sala Bolivar. By 1983 Solís’ parents opened their first restaurant, Restaurante Tipico Fiesta, followed by another one in 1996, in the trendy district of Miraflores, Lima. The name has changed along with the times to a more modern version of itself, Fiesta Gourmet.
Chef Solís has been a major player in elevating regional Peruvian cuisine to gourmet level. Solís faced much criticism when opening a regional cuisine restaurant in the Miraflores area. Skeptics believed it would never take-off because Limeñans were not accustomed to dining out for traditional foods. Contradicting the dominant centralization problem of Peru, Solís stood valiantly by his belief that all Peru deserves recognition for its contributions to the nation. To this day his food has not changed in character; it holds the integrity that it had when it was his father’s restaurant on the second floor of his home, and that it had when his grandmother prepared it in their kitchen. The spectacular flavors that Lambayeque has shared with the rest of Peru, and now the world cannot go unrecognized.
Fiesta boasts its renowned Arroz con Pato, a flavorful dish that is prepared by slow cooking rice in duck stew, dark beer and cilantro—unchanged and proud. It is said to be the best in all of Peru! Now this humble dish is presented to the world on par with culinary giants. You must also try the Mero a La Brasa: mero murique (fish) seasoned in ají amarillo (spicy yellow pepper), chicha de jora (Andean purple corn beer) and cilantro, then briefly cooked on corn husks over charcoal embers.
Solís has truly elevated regional pride. You must taste the food at Fiesta Gourmet to believe in the power of memory and care that has been transferred through food since the Ancient Moche culture and Wari Empire in northern Peru, as much as it has through the Solis family that has greatly popularized this regional cuisine.
Address: Ave. Reducto 1278, Miraflores
According to Peru.com’s interview with Chef Rafael Piqueras Bertie, “[Gastronomic fairs in Peru] move about US$4,583 Million per year.” Chef Piqueras expressed this as a direct projection of the economic growth and development of Peru. There’s no better way to present Piqueras’ style and kitchen than to look at it as a part of the recent manifestation of Peru’s booming economy.
It cost nothing short of $130 million to erect the 30 story Westin hotel, and now Peru’s tallest edifice, says JustLux online journal. Every new deluxe hotel requires Chef of equal caliber to garnish its reputation. In this case, celebrity Chef Piqueras was invited to become the restaurant-face of the new Westin in San Isidro. This young Chef studied in Lima’s Cordon Blue and at the Italian Culinary Institute. Being the only Peruvian chef to have been invited to Madrid Fusión 2004 at the young age of 25 spiked his celebrity. Located on the first floor the elegant hotel is Maras restaurant, Piqueras’ newest restaurant proposal.
Maras is the recent winner of the Summum review for best new restaurant. Its contemporary design and multiple ambiances will give you plenty of room to accommodate your dining desires. Check out the imposing, calid bar area, the open candle-light terrace, main dining hall or dine privately at the Chef’s table.
Have a treat from the Rice and Pasta menu and try delicate yet imposing Arroz Negro (juicy black rice with calamari, and grilled clams seasoned with dashes of saffron and smoked sweet Spanish paprika), or his famous Cola de Buey (Ox tail cylinders with sautéed spinach, mashed potatoes and vegies with essence of lemon verbena.)
Save room for dessert! There are a wide range of tasty sweets that will entertain you taste buds and feast your eyes. Try Ganas de Chocolate y Maracuya con Trozos de Mango (Chocolate-Passion Fruit Temptation with Mango Slices served with crunchy pistachios and natural yogurt sorbet, or a Chilcano Frambuesa (Raspberry Chilcano). Heck, if you can’t make up your mind, just get the dessert sampler!
Address: Esquina Las Begonias y Amador Merino, San Isidro
Monday-Friday: 12:00-16:00 & 19:00-24:00
Tip: Call ahead for reservations
At a glance
“In these restaurants the traditional Peruvian food is the starting point, but not the final destination: it has been refined and enriched with personal touches that subtly adapt them to the demands of modern life, circumstances and opportunities of the present, without turning its back on its origins, but also without sacrificing invention and renewal.”
– Mario Vargas Llosa, Nobel Prize for Literature.
Peruvian Contemporary & Traditional, Seafood
Peruvian Contemporary & Traditional
Peruvian Traditional, International, Nikkei
Peruvian Contemporary & Traditional
Peruvian Contemporary & Traditional, Seafood
Peruvian Contemporary, Seafood, Nikkei