Peru has emerged as one of the world’s great culinary destinations, thanks in no small part to its wealth of indigenous ingredients, most famously its thousands of varieties of potatoes. The country also has direct access to superlative seafood, tropical fruit from the Amazon Basin and a range of herbs and vegetables from the Andean foothills. Peru’s centuries of trading have also led to the development of delicious fusion cuisines, the best known of which is Nikkei, which combines local and Japanese ingredients and techniques.
One of the main reasons to travel to Lima these days is to eat; visitors often stay an extra day or two simply to dine at acclaimed venues such as Central, Astrid & Gastón and Maido. But notable restaurants do not confine themselves to Lima. The following list includes discoveries there and in the Sacred Valley, Cusco and Arequipa.
Chef James Berckemeyer, who helms Lima’s acclaimed restaurant Cosme, opened his second establishment earlier this year. Located in the city’s upscale San Isidro neighborhood, Alado has a small street-front patio and a striking rear dining room with towering green walls and ample natural light. The kitchen focuses on cuisine prepared with a charcoal-based, temperature-controlled Josper grill. I very much enjoyed our elotes-like appetizer of grilled corn on the cob with rocoto pepper sauce and truffled manchego and my main course of charela (a local whitefish) in a citrusy escabeche studded with sweet, slightly charred shrimp. And I highly recommend sharing a side of new potatoes in a creamy onion sauce. The menu is in Spanish, but the personable English-speaking waitstaff are happy to translate and offer advice.