Sunday, May 17, 2015
Astrid y Gaston, I happened to notice that there was another great restaurant in Lima called Central Restaurante. When I first started looking, Astrid y Gaston was rated much more highly than Central. Astrid y Gaston was rated the 16th best restaurant in the world by The World's 50 Best Restaurants and Central was rated 50th, but by the time we went, Central had made a rapid rise on the charts to 15th and Astrid y Gaston had fallen to 18th (which is still great). Despite this, I didn't plan on going to Central until we found out on the day after we went to Astrid y Gaston that we were staying on the same block where Central was located. We didn't notice it the several times that we walked by it, so when I found out that we were as close as we were, I had to find it and decided that since we were as close as we were, that it would be a shame not to at least try to go. The building in which Central Restaurante is located looked like any other house/apartment on the block with the exception of the very solid looking double door at the entrance and a small plaque in the sidewalk indicating that it was Central as well as the year 2008 which I had guessed was the year that it first opened. Further research revealed that the restaurant didn't open until 2013, so I really have no idea what the 2008 meant. Inside the formidable doors is the host station with the reservation book. After checking in, we were guided to the main dining room behind another set of heavy double doors. The room was done in a color scheme of greens and browns and had a banquette along one wall where we were seated as well as several round four tops in the center of the room. The room was lit by natural light from skylights and a glass inner wall that looked into the kitchen on the other side of a narrow courtyard which was used to set the dishes up for delivery to the diners. Through the window, we could see the chef, Virgilio Martinez, working at the front of the kitchen.
The food and service at Central were very good and I am very glad that we were able to make it there. The food was innovative and tasted good and used many ingredients with which I was unfamiliar, but I really enjoyed it. I cannot say though, whether I enjoyed Central better than Astrid y Gaston because when you get into the rarified atmosphere occupied by these two restaurants, everything should be fantastic, which it was.