Mitsuharu “Micha” Tsumura

For three years in a row, Mitsuharu “Micha” Tsumura’s Lima restaurant Maido has been crowned the best restaurant in Latin America by the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards. Proud of both his Asian and American roots, Micha is Peru’s unofficial ambassador of Nikkei cuisine, the country’s distinct mash-up of Peruvian and Japanese cooking. He’s just as enthusiastic about all of Lima’s food influences: this is how he'd plan a moveable feast in his home city.
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A Contemporary, Fun Ceviche Restaurant

La Mar Cebicheria is a restaurant by Gastón Acurio, the most important chef to Peru. He is a pioneer in promoting Peruvian cuisine and bringing together chefs in Peru and from all around the world. His most successful brand is La Mar: it’s the perfect example of a contemporary-style cevicheria that also features a lot of tradition. It’s only open for lunch because it’s the tradition in Peru to have ceviche (also known as cebiche in Peru) at lunch and not dinner. Acurio works with a lot of fisherman and the restaurant serves most of the fish and seafood found along the coast of Peru. The preparations range from typical Peruvian ones to Nikkei and also some creative combinations. There’s lots of flavour, lots of incredible seafood products and very good drinks. It’s the perfect place to spend a good afternoon. It’s like being in a party and it’s so much fun to be there. You could stay for hours.

Regional Flavours From Chiclayo In Peru’s North

Fiesta is one place I really like to go as often as possible. It’s a restaurant by Hector Solís, the most important chef from the north of Peru who introduced regional Peruvian cuisines to Lima as well as to international visitors. It’s a fine-dining restaurant that takes the flavours of home cooking in Chiclayo to another level and serves them in beautiful dishes. Lobsters. Lamb. Seafood. Duck. He grows his own vegetables in the north. He has his own cattle, his own ducks. He feeds them. He takes care of them. He makes his own fermented drinks to cook. He makes his own beer. He’s always innovating but always preserving tradition. Solis is also the owner of La Picantería. It’s one of the tastiest places to go in Lima. It’s more casual than Fiesta: you share tables there aren’t many plates on the menu. You buy the fish or the seafood and they prepare it for you: deep-fried, ceviche, steamed, whatever. The concept has been in Chiclayo in the north for a long time, but it’s the first time that it’s been done in the capital.

Photography: Courtesy of La Picantería

A New Approach To Modern Peruvian Cooking

Kjolle by Pía León is a restaurant housed where Central is. Pia is the wife of chef Virgilio Martinez of Restaurante Central and has been a friend of mine for many, many years. Peruvian fine-dining has become her signature way of cooking. It’s a la carte. You are not forced to have a tasting menu: you can just go there and have a couple of dishes and some drinks. There’s creativity, uniqueness and a lot of flavour in everything she does. People love Kjolle. It’s a place that I really make a point to go to every once in a while. It’s a restaurant that we really need right now because it’s a different way of interpreting Peruvian cuisine.

Where To Eat After A Night Out

Siete Sopas is open 24 hours where you can have what people like to eat in Peru. Fried rice. Fried chicken. Milanese (breaded beef or chicken fillets). Lomo saltado (a traditional Peruvian dish of stir-fried beef, chillies and French fries). And soups. There’s a signature soup for every day of the week. It’s a good place if you end up out late at night and you want to go have something to eat. There’s no celebrity chef or anything like that: it’s just a very tasty place that people like to go to and eat everyday things. It’s a very successful business. The restaurant is huge. It seats about 400 people and is always full. There’s also La Lucha Sangucheria Criolla, a typical Peruvian sandwich place where you can have sandwich con chicharron (pork belly), asado (beef stew), smoked turkey and other sandwiches with different Peruvian sauces. It’s a very good place to eat sandwiches late at night or in the morning as breakfast. They’re open across South America and It’s by the people behind Siete Sopas.

Two Creative Chefs To Watch

All migration brings food and culture and there has been a lot of Venezuelan immigration in Peru over the last few years. Mérito is a perfect place to experience Venezuelan culture. It’s a small restaurant in Barranco, run by two very good chefs who do creative Peruvian-Venezuelan cuisine. There’s a small counter for six people and six or seven tables. They cook in front of you using local ingredients. It’s very tasty, very creative and well-priced.

Peruvian Comfort Dining

Panchita is another restaurant by Gastón Acurio. It’s a typical Creole place that’s always packed. It does Peruvian-style grilling and stewing and serves very big portions. I like the ambiance. You’ll find local Peruvian favourites like anticuchos (Peruvian beef heart skewers) and aji de gallina which takes like home to me. “Gallina” means hen and “aji” means chilli and it’s thos spicy Peruvian chicken dish that’s the first things I eat when I get back to Lima after travelling. It’s a dish that’s really in the heart of Peruvians and is associated with mothers and grandmother. Though it’s usually eaten at home they do a very good job with it at Panchita. Isolina by José del Castillo is a typical Peruvian tavern in Barranco. The chef is a very good friend of mine and is rescuing lost grandmothers recipes from many, many years ago. He’s doing something which has never been done before.

An Introduction To Chifa: Peruvian-Chinese Cuisine

In Peru, a chifa is a Chinese-Peruvian restaurant. It’s like Nikkei cuisine, but with Chinese food. My favourite chifa in Lima is Chifa Titi. It represents what Chinese culture has brought to Peruvian cuisine. I go there quite often. Its pork and chicken wontons with tamarind sauce and Peruvian chillies are one of the best in the world. You have to try the whole duck stuffed with sticky rice, and the beef tenderloin sautéed with garlic – amazing. It also has the best fried rice in town. The owner Patricia is a very good friend of mine. It’s one place you cannot miss in Peru.

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