The restaurant that kicked off Peru’s culinary renaissance two decades ago remains a must for any foodie visiting Lima.
Now housed in a spacious 18th Century mansion in San Isidro, Astrid y Gastón even hosts a culinary laboratory where chefs experiment with techniques including “molecular” gastronomy.
Back in 1994, Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio and his German-born chocolatier wife Astrid Gutsche had just arrived in Lima, after studying in Paris, determined to make their mark with their eponymous restaurant. To note today, in 2017, that they have fulfilled that dream is something of an understatement. Not just has the eatery left an indelible mark on the Peruvian food scene, it has also done so on the world culinary stage, attracting stellar plaudits from the top chefs in Europe and North America.
Initially, Acurio and Gutsche specialized in the French cuisine that was then viewed in Peru as being the apex of culinary accomplishment. But they quickly turned to rediscovering and reworking Peru’s staggering variety of both natural ingredients and recipes, eventually spearheading a national culinary boom that has seen a new generation of Peruvian chefs put Lima at the center of the world gastronomic map.
Meanwhile, Acurio’s enthusiasm for, and ability to communicate about, his homeland’s beloved traditional cuisine, including his TV program in which he regularly and enthusiastically tucks in at street food stands and local markets, has made him a beloved figure here in Peru. His popularity even rose to such an extent that polls once showed him as a potential presidential frontrunner here, despite his own insistence that he was only interested in contributing to Peru’s wellbeing from the kitchen.
In 2014, Astrid y Gastón moved from the cozy house in Miraflores where it had spent its first two decades to Casa Moreyra, a spacious 18th Century palacio in San Isidro. Meanwhile, Acurio, who now runs a small empire of restaurants from San Francisco to Madrid, has returned to his roots, stepping back from his successful role as a restaurateur to once again lead the kitchen at Astrid y Gastón. His flare and attention to detail, plus the minimalist and airy décor, make any meal at Astrid y Gastón a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience for his many international customers.
The menu changes quarterly, and if you have the time to spare, we always recommend the tasting menu, which can stretch to nearly 30 courses. It includes a bewildering and utterly delicious array of influences, from China to the Maghreb, and from Africa to the Amazon, with original dishes ranging from Beijing guinea pig (a play on the conventional Beijing duck) to tandooried octopus slices grilled on a skewer or his take on cochinillo pibil, a traditional Yucatan recipe in which pork is slowcooked underground by being buried with heated stones. Of course, gourmet travelers sojourning in Lima today are spoiled for choice when it comes to restaurant options. But if there is one must, then it is surely Astrid y Gastón, the birthplace of Peru’s gastronomic revival.
To learn more about Astrid y Gastón and other restaurant options in Lima during your stay with Atemporal visit www.atemporal.pe or contact email@example.com or on +51 1 700 5106 or, if you are in the US, 347 713 7030/34.