Have you dreamed of dining at the the fourth best restaurant in the world? Visit Central Restaurant in Lima and experience a dining experience like no other! Each course feels like a work of art and the waiters are the emcees of the show. Eating here is unforgettable and you’ll remember this meal for a lifetime!
As soon as my cousin, my best friend and I booked a trip to Peru I immediately looked into getting a reservation at Central, the sixth best restaurant in the world . I had recently watched the Chef’s Table episode that focused on the chef Virgilio Martínez and his exploration of the Peruvian climate and ecosystems. I knew that eating here would be an experience that we would never forget.
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Table of Contents
The Central Experience
The Cost of Dining
The 16 course dinner comes with a hefty price at around $150 a person and that’s without the wine pairing! We were incredibly frugal for the majority of the trip, staying in hostels, eating at local restaurants, and finding the cheapest ways to get around, so on our last night we decided to splurge. We saved up our appetite and our money for this unique meal.
Central is located in Miraflores, an affluent neighborhood in Lima. Walking through this neighborhood you’ll find large houses, cute boutiques, and flashy cars. As soon as you walk up to the outer gates of Central, you know that you are going to be impressed. One man stands at the door and grants you entrance.
Eating at Central is like taking part in an immersive performance. As soon as you walk through the doors, the show begins. The hostess ushers you towards a table that displays ingredients in circles as she walks you through the various ecosystems the menu draws on. Martínez’s vision is to showcase the diverse and delicious ingredients that come from these areas in Peru.
After the introduction, the hostess shows you to a table where you will enjoy the rest of the show. On one side of the restaurant is the open kitchen where you can watch the chefs masterly plate the various dishes. Behind us was a pseudo laboratory/study, where notes were scribbled on the glass about research into various dishes and ingredients, tables were covered in papers, and books lined the room. Around us were nicely spaced tables where other diners were enjoying the experience.
As we sat down, we picked up the menus that were placed at our spots. Each course of the menu features a certain region of Peru and each course climbs up in elevation. The waiter comes over to explain the rest of the night and to ask for our drink order. While the restaurant is incredibly sophisticated, it is not stuffy by any means. The waiters were friendly, made lots of jokes, and laughed when we made embarrassing comments.
The Central Meal
The meal is where the real fun begins. Each course is brought out by the waiters where they explain the details and answer any questions. The food is placed before you with creative and unique plating techniques. Taking in each dish is like gazing at a painting in a museum. There is clear artistry involved. My favorite plate of the night were the cracker-like items that were served over a plate of piranha heads! That’s one way to shock a guest.
Once you’ve taken in the beauty of the dish, it’s time to try it. Most of the courses are designed to be eaten in one or two bites. That may sound like a small amount of food, but don’t forget you’re eating 16 courses. As you bite into the food, you’ll be surprised at the flavors that come out. Most of them were flavors I had never had before. They dazzled my tastebuds. I am not always a risk taker when it comes to eating, but I tried each and every dish. I was truly surprised at how much I loved the food.
Not only were the tastes amazing, but the textures added to the sense of adventure. It’s abundantly clear that chef Martínez is an innovator. There were textures like hard candies, airy foams, and chewy cakes. One dish that sticks out in my mind was a tuna mouse. There was a light fluffiness to the mouse’s texture and the flavors were subtle yet refined. Who would have thought of a seafood based mouse? It was dishes like these that really showcased the uniqueness of this meal.
The show concluded with a couple of divine desserts and a tea to settle the stomach. After spending a few hours eating this beautifully crafted food, it was time to leave. The waiters gave us each a small book made out of leaves to keep as a memento of our night. We departed feeling full and in awe of everything we had.
I do not usually spend exorbitant amounts on food, but in this case you truly get what you pay for. Each dish was wonderful and really spotlighted the richness of ingredients in this beautiful country. If you have the opportunity to dine at Central Restaurant in Lima, then you should. This was an experience I will never forget and I’ll look back fondly on this meal for years to come.
Let me know if you enjoyed reading about this divine meal in the comments!
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