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  • David Gyscek

Two meals, two days, two hemispheres (Part 2)

I only had Sunday in Lima and none of the restaurants I was interested in serve dinner on Sundays. But many DO serve lunch. Reservations-for-one were hard to come by, but I did manage to reserve a table at Astrid & Gastón. Named 37th best restaurant in the world ( and 8th in Latin America ( After a morning at El Museo de Arte Lima ( and a run through Plaza Mayor where I caught part of the changing of the guards ceremony (I’ll post a gallery of pictures of Lima at the end of this post), I continued onto my 1:30 reservation.

As it was lunch, service was in a more casual part of the restaurant with view of the kitchen and up-side-down hanging plants (some were fake, but most were real) above the light-filled dining room.

My dining neighbor had a stand for her purse brought over. There must be a name for such a piece of furniture.

Although there were several cocktail options — many including pisco — at my waiter’s suggestion I opted for the Peruvian classic, a pisco sour. (Didn’t get around to photographing it in time.)

They also had an extensive wine list, which included a dry Riesling, a favorite of mine that is hard to come by home in Medellín, by the glass. The sommelier concurred with my choice based on my food choices. My palate ultimately concurred too.

At first I didn’t ask for bread (it was a menu item for 16 Soles, I think — about US$5), but upon seeing it served to other tables, I had to. Alongside the selection of breads, one better than the other, was an avocado spread and two homemade butters topped with a flaky sea salt on one (the plain butter) and a black salt on the other (I think it was a roasted red pepper butter — it was a few weeks ago already).

I was in Lima, the sea only blocks away, I needed a ceviche, and while there were several options, I went with the traditional: sea bass of the highest quality — not chewy — perfect, sweet potatoes, onions, red chiles, corn, and, of course, leche de Tigre. Again, perfect.

I had a tough time choosing my main course — I knew it had to be fish. Down to two options, I went with this grouper over nests of crispy, fried squid ink pasta and topped with slivers of Spanish chorizo — all on a base of a rich fish and shell fish stock with Limeño aioli. Dramatic in appearance and very flavorful.

Although I was filling up, how could I not try a dessert? The Eden, which was apparently a new item, jumped off the page at me. It was a lemon and basil curd topping crushed cookies, surrounded by Italian merengue and topped with French, coffee flavored merengues and a tart green apple sorbet. Fresh & clean — exquisite!

As I wrote in my Trip Advisor review, this is reason enough to go back to Lima.

Compliments to the chef: Gaston Acurio

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