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Alternatives to Central in Lima

Amy Kruger
July 10, 2023
8 min. read
Lima · Peru

Peru's incredible biodiversity, with 84 out of 103 ecosystems, has turned Lima into a haven for talented young chefs. They skillfully harness the diverse ingredients, showcasing remarkable inventiveness and culinary prowess.

Centrail and Maido achieved the first and sixth place, respectively, on the list of the best 50 restaurants in the world this 2023. Due to their popularity, they are often fully booked months in advance. Making it virtually impossible to spontaneously pop in for a meal.

Don't dispair there is a bunch of remarkable alternatives to Central in Lima.

We still recommend making a reservation beforehand though, just in case, as their online system for reservations is offered 60 days in advance and most dates are booked out within a few hours of being made available.

Jump to our tried and tested alternatives


Cuisine reflecting Peru's biodiversity 

It was only a matter of time before Pia León's exceptional culinary prowess earned her restaurant, Kjolle, a well-deserved spot among the prestigious top 50 restaurants in the world in 2023. Pia León first made waves in the culinary world by working alongside Virgilio Martinez at Central, and their joint efforts paved the way for Central's rise to international acclaim. After realizing this shared dream, Pia embarked on her own venture by opening Kjolle—a more approachable and flexible gastronomic experience, all within the same establishment.

At Kjolle, guests have the option of indulging in a tantalizing tasting menu, similar to that offered at Central, although with a noticeably shorter duration. What sets Kjolle apart is the ability to order à la carte and a more casual setting.

Central and Kjolle share a common thread—their unwavering commitment to utilizing unique ingredients sourced from the farthest reaches of Peru. This extraordinary culinary palette is the culmination of extensive research, investigative journeys, and a dedicated initiative led by both Pia León and her husband, Martinez. The endeavor is carried out under the umbrella of the renowned 'Mater' research center, which is spearheaded by Martinez's sister.

Every ingredient artfully placed on your plate, and even each element of decor, serves a purpose and reflects Pia's mission to celebrate and showcase the diverse, yet often overlooked, bounty of Peru. It is a heartfelt homage to the creators behind these ingredients—many of whom are micro farmers and artists hailing from every corner of the country.

Pescados Capitales

Peruvian Cevichería, Seafood

This cevicheria (a restaurant focusing on 'ceviche,' raw fish in marinated lemon juice, and seafood dishes) was the pioneer on La Mar avenue. They opened there at a time when only car repairs were given. Their concept is to offer the best of the day's catch in a refined yet casual ambiance.

The name 'Pescados Capitales' derives from its owners' concept, reflecting the Peruvian idiosyncrasy when it comes to food, surrendering to the abundance of a well-prepared dish. Their dishes seek to literally unleash passion and awaken the desire for great dining, carrying names inspired by this concept.

Unlike conventional cevicherias, Pescados Capitales not only serves lunch but also dinner. They exclusively offer dishes made with the catch of the day, and if any seafood product is under restriction, you will find an alternative on the menu.

This is our favorite restaurant when we have invited foreign clients who are not familiar with Peruvian ceviche. So far, we have accomplished our mission - to create a list of sins worthy of a long session in the confessional.


Contemporary Peruvian Cuisine

One of our top picks also happens to be number 43 on the list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023!

Mayta's 12-course Yachay tasting menu, which focuses on Peruvian ingredients, includes dishes like goat with Andean herbs and scallops with fava beans. Each plate is a work of art, with colorful ingredients prominently displayed.

The paiche fish, for example, which Pesaque frequently employs as part of his commitment to sustainability and is actually an Amazonian fish that must be consumed in order to prevent the extinction of other species, is thinly sliced and formed into an intricate rose.

If you don't want to do a tasting menu, the restaurant also has an a la carte menu with dishes like Amazonian ceviche and matcha pie with passionfruit ice cream, to name a few.

Mayta also functions as a pisco bar with unique variations on the Peruvian classic.


Nikkei fusion cuisine

If you're looking for the top alternative to Maido, then look no further than Osaka, the number 2 restaurant on the Summum 2022 Best Restaurant list.

The menu on offer is creative and adds a more international flavor to the traditional Japanese dishes you would find elsewhere.

Osaka has a more upscale ambiance than Maido. Its restaurant in the San Isidro district not only excels in its cuisine but also creates a memorable dining experience with its subtle illumination, lush plants, and swaying palms.

You can expect to enjoy a meal here that is on par (if not better) with that of Maido, while also having the added benefit of being much cheaper, more accessible and less over-hyped.


International Grill

This is the latest restaurant on offer from the Mayta star chef, Jaime Pesaque. Another award winner for him by recently securing the Summum 2022 Top New Restaurant award.

It is often compared to the likes of a steak house, however, it is so much more than that!

Jaime's menu is not centered around the different cuts of meat but rather tells a story within the dish set out in front of you. The idea of this is to invoke your gastronomic curiosity, allowing you to discover something different from the otherwise ordinary.

Take a trip through the in-house sausage room where they handcraft their own paiche sausage, alpaca salami and duck prosciutto before taking a seat and enjoying the likes of roasted beetroots with tonnato sauce and capers or a grilled heart of palm with carbonara and guanciale. Dishes that truly make the vegetables the star of the dish. Something that you will never find in your standard steak house.

The chef sets out to truly surprise his guests, and he tries to get you to try something completely new, something that you have always known yet never tried, and after enjoying a meal at this intimate restaurant you will be sure to be a little more adventurous when it comes to your next meal in Peru.

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