Central Restaurante, Barranco

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The photos in this post are from Central’s original Miraflores location, which closed in mid-2018.

LIMA | Central Restaurante is a restaurant in Lima that needs to introduction to most foodies. Owner and head chef Virgilio Martínez’s ode to all things Peru is one of the world’s most famous restaurants. It was voted the number one restaurant in Latin America by ‘The World’s Best 50’ for three years running (it’s currently number five), and has previously reached as high as number four on the World’s Best Restaurant list.

Most visitors go to Central for the 17 course tasting menu, which takes diners on a journey through the altitudes and flavours of Peru, from the Andes to Amazon, and the sea. Virgilio, his wife Pía León (chef de cuisine), and his sister Malena, through her research project, Mater Iniciativa, explore Peru’s regions to discover and catalogue native ingredients, which they incorporate into the food served at Central. The result is food that’s distinctly Peruvian, and unlike anything you’ve had before.

While the tasting menu is how you get the full Central experience, there is a way to try the food there if you haven’t been early enough to make a booking, which you need to do several months in advance. We failed to make a booking when we visited, but arrived at the restaurant when it opened and asked if they could fit us in. We were told that they would see what they could do, and to come back in an hour. An hour later there had been no cancellations so we weren’t able to do the tasting menu however we were able to be seated at the bar, where and a-la-carte menu is available.

On this menu, are an assortment of fantastic sounding dishes, and as a bonus you get to chat with the bartender, and watch cocktails being made for the tables in the main dining room. You get to try an assortment of unique dishes in a really casual, relaxed space. The menu is constantly evolving, so you’ll never completely know what you’ll be eating when you visit until the day, but you won’t be disappointed no matter what you eat.

Everything we tried was fantastic, and it’s hard to pick highlights. For the tasting menu, the menu simply lists the area that each dish’s ingredients come from, what the key ingredients are, and the elevation of the locale. For the a-la-carte menu, a more detailed description is provided for each dish. ‘Glazed Octopus’ features perfectly charred and tender octopus served with native potato, sea lettuce, onion, and kaniwa, while the generously portioned ‘Coastal Rice’ sees native rice cooked with clams, octopus and scallops.

One of the most impressive things we tried was the dessert, ‘Chirimoya Chia’, with chia, theobroma macambo, beetroot, and smoked milk – an amazing diversity of flavours, and textures that excited all the senses. Cocktails also impress here, drawing upon the same philosophy as the food.

After our meal, we were taken on a tour through the upstairs section of the restaurant, which houses Virgilio’s office and several rooms where ingredients are stored and different experiments run with them. We also got to see the rooftop garden, and learn a lot more about the philosophy behind Central, and why and how they do what they do. A truly educational experience, and all without booking the tasting menu.

With fantastic service, truly unique and delicious food, and a great atmosphere, Central more than lives up to the hype and expectations. Central isn’t just a must do Lima dining experience, is a must do dining experience period.

Central Restaurante

Avenida Pedro de Osma 301
Barranco
Lima 15063
Peru

Telephone: +51 1 2428515
E-mail: [email protected]
Website

Open
Mon – Sat: 12:45pm to 3:00pm; 7:45pm to 11:15pm

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Paul
Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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