Best Meal in Lima, Peru: Lunch at Astrid & Gaston
One of the things that surprised me most about Lima, Peru is that it's a huge 'foodie' spot, home to world renowned chefs and many highly rated restaurants. As a girl who loves to eat, I got to researching real fast and found that two restaurants kept coming up on the radar: Centrale and Astrid & Gaston.
Since we we're in Lima for just a day and a half, we could only choose one 'fancy' meal out, and this year, Astrid & Gaston placed 14th out of the World's 50 Best Restaurants by Pellegrino. According to them "Gaston Acurio is the undisputed king of Peruvian cuisine" so we figured where better to pop our Peruvian food cherry than in the court of the Peruvian Food King himself!
We arrived for lunch and were immediately awed by the space itself. The restaurant is located in a gorgeous 300-year-old mansion in San Isidro, the major financial district of Lima. Despite the area's modernity and the many high-end shops and hotels, San Isidro hasn't lost its soul. The neighborhood, and especially Astrid & Gaston, exude that sultry, colonial charm of early 20th century South America that I just love.
During our 13-course, four-hour lunch it felt as if each dish physically transported us to another region, landscape or environment of Peru. If I closed my eyes, the clean white walls of the restaurant fell away and I was on the beach, inhaling the salty air and brine of fresh seafood; then with the next course, I was whisked up and away into an Andean village, surrounded by the savory scent of roasting meat. From multiple ceviches, to guinea pig, to succulent beef, to Pisco granita, our taste buds were 'jonesing' for the next course as soon as the plates were cleared.
And let's not forget the wine. Of course, we started with bubbles, then we tried a Peruvian Sauvignon Blanc. The Intipalka Sauvignon Blanc was crisp, bright and boasted a nice acidity and citrus profile that paired especially well with the ceviches.
But the real cherry on top was finding the Angelica Zapata Cabernet Franc on their red bottle list. Our longtime readers may remember that this was Jeff's favorite wine from our travels in 2011, but the bodega that produces it in Argentina, Catena Zapata, does not export this particular wine to the U.S. Thus, it's been his 'unicorn bottle' ever since...Pretty much if Jeff had a Patronus, it'd be a shining bottle of this Cab Franc (Harry Potter reference no?!)
Our time in Lima was waaaay too short, so we definitely plan to venture back soon. Any other suggestions for bomb-ass places to eat? Or drink?