For the third year running, Peru was the main protagonist of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants. At this award ceremony, which took place in Buenos Aires last October, not only did two Peruvian restaurants take the top places, but another nine Peruvian establishments also featured in the top 50, achieving the highest number yet on the prestigious list.
First and second place were taken by Maido and Central, respectively, demonstrating that Peruvian cuisine continues to be among the best in Latin America and in the world, considering that in the previous World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards these two establishments came sixth (Central) and tenth (Maido).
The best in Latin America
Based on Peruvian-Japanese fusion and paying homage to this in each dish, Maido - by Peruvian chef Mitsuharu Tsumura, also known as ‘Misha’ - features many dishes on its menu that showcase Nikkei food. These include Crispy Shari, a dish based on sushi rice, avocado, trout belly and ponzu jelly, or dishes such as Dim Sum filled with squid and snail cau cau with camotillo cream and crispy white quinoa.
“Maido is about big blasts of flavor, in our case subtlety doesn’t really exist. I think of it as a boxing ring, you get hit, but in a good way, we try to make strong, intense, tasty flavors, delicious is delicious,” says the chef, whose family comes from Osaka, Japan.
‘Micha’, who studied in the US, opened Maido in 2009 and it was added to the list of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2013, it climbed positions in the following years until it reached first place in 2017, a position that it has held for three consecutive years.
The most sustainable restaurant
On top of winning second place in the Latin American ranking, Central, by Peruvian chefs Virgilio Martínez and Pia León, has also been recognized as the most sustainable restaurant in Latin America after it achieved 98% in the evaluation carried out by Food Made Good Global.
Now located in Barranco, Central started out in 2009 in Miraflores with the intention of taking diners on a 'journey' through diverse Peruvian ecosystems, highlighting ancient foods. Proof of this is the menu, which lists the altitude or depth of the site where it originates alongside the name of the dish.
"People who come must know the importance of a potato, a chili or a fish. The transformation of the food doesn't have to be that big. The connection with the producer is the most important thing, the quality and everything behind it," said Martínez, who also leads Mater Iniciativa, a gastronomic research group that collects and promotes Peruvian products.
Other Peruvian restaurants on the list
As well as the top two places taken by Maido (1st) and Central (2nd), Peru managed to add nine other restaurants to the list: Osso Carnicería (9th), Isolina (12th), Astrid y Gastón (13th), Rafael (19th), Kjolle (21st), La Mar (26th), Mil (36th), Malabar (48th) and Mayta (49th).
As a result, Peru is tied with Mexico as the countries with the most restaurants on the list. They are followed by Brazil with nine restaurants, Argentina with eight, Chile with six, Colombia with three, and Uruguay and Panama with one each.
Did you know?
- The Peruvian chef and researcher Pedro Miguel Schiaffino won the Icon Award. This was in recognition of his career in the kitchen and his research which promotes jungle cuisine.
- Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants was organized by the British publisher and platform William Reed Business Media.
- The top 5 is completed by the Mexican restaurant Pujol in third place, Argentina’s Don Julio in fourth place, and the Chilean restaurant Boragó in fifth place.
Sources: Gestión/ Andina/ La República/ EFE