Astrid & Gastón in Lima, Peru

Lima, Ica, Huacachina, Paracas, Cusco, Ollantaytambo in Peru
December 29, 2017 Food

Lima has a few world-renowned restaurants, and Astrid & Gastón is one of them. In fact, it is number 33 on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list in 2017, behind Central and Maido, who were 6th and 7th, respectively (both of which I would really love to try some day!). Of course, one of the main reasons that I love to travel is for the food, and I do not have much experience with Peruvian or any kind of South American cuisine, so of course I wanted to try one of these 50 best restaurants while I was down there. We made a reservation to go here for lunch, although it wasn't too busy when we visited. The whole meal took almost 3 hours, with 11 main dishes and 3 desserts. Instead of going with the tasting menu, we had the waiter choose some dishes for us, which was quite similar to the tasting menu, with a couple different dishes, and ended up being slightly cheaper. If I remember correctly, after tipping, the meal came out to be around 100 USD per person.

The menu had a nice selection, and individual dishes are decently priced for people who don't want to do a tasting menu.

First, we were given some homemade bread and spreads to start, one of them was infused with salmon. Both the breads and the spreads were really delicious, and looking at these pictures again makes me salivate. The first dish we had was the Pisco Scallops, with pesto, basil, and apple slush, covered with a layer of ice, follwed by ceviche, which was absolutely delicious! It was the first time I've had ceviche, and I usually don't eat raw fish but it was really good!

Next up were two sea urchin dishes. The first was sea urchin on toast, and the second was a sea urchin tiradito. Tiradito is a Peruvian dish of raw fish on a plate, similar to carpaccio, in some kind of sauce. Sea urchin is a strange food, and I don't think I am a huge fan, as it kind of tastes like salty slime. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the dishes, although I preferred the toast over the tiradito.

After this, three of the dishes came at once. They were goat tacos, grilled squid, and peking guinea pig. In Lima, chifas is a type of cuisine that can be described as Peruvian-Chinese food. There were a lot of Chinese immigrants, particularly Cantonese immigrants from Guangzhou, back in the 19th and 20th century to Lima and the Peruvian coast, so this type of cuisine is quite popular. The guinea pig peking duck is an example of chifas, inspired by the famous peking duck dish from Beijing, but using guinea pig, a Peruvian ingredient. This was probably one of my favourite dishes of the meal, as peking duck is the top of my favourite foods list, so it was interesting to see this fusion dish!

Next up were three more main dishes before dessert. These were beef dumplings served in a spicy sauce, rabbit curry served with quinoa, and suckling pig confit.

Finally, it was time for dessert! Honestly, I think this was my favourite part of this meal. Don't get me wrong, the main food dishes were amazing, but these desserts were unlike anything I've had before. Unfortunately, as I am writing this many months after I went on this trip, I have no idea what these desserts were called, or what was in them. All I know is that they were delicious and that I want to have it again!

The last dessert we had was brought out in a big chocolate ball, and then the waiter cracked it open with a spoon and drizzled chocolate sauce all over the contents.

This was my first experience at a really nice, highly-rated restaurant, trying a sort-of tasting menu, and it was definitely an experience! I hope to continue to do this again, although it definitely is rough on the wallet.