Published on August 10th, 201712
When Was Your Last $200 Lunch?
Ah but for me that’s about to change.
While I surely don’t make a habit of dropping a couple of C-notes merely for lunch when I travel, suffice…
As many of you may know – I’m (finally) headed to Peru come October, which of course means I’m primarily headed to gawk at that legendary hillock dubbed “Machu Pichu”. But… while I was researching my options of Peru’s many eclectic sights (the Nazca Lines, Lake Titicaca, etc), I discovered a most astounding foodie fact about Peru’s capital city, Lima.
While Lima can’t compare with Peru’s main attraction (you know, that hillock I mentioned earlier), suffice that from a foodie standpoint, Lima offers something that few other cities on the globe can match:
No less than *THREE* of the World’s Best Restaurants!
(no city has more, and only Paris and NYC match it with likewise 3 each).
Thus… as I pretty much need to pass through Lima en route to Machu Picchu, I thought… whattheheck, why not add “Eating at one of the World’s best restaurants” to my bucket-list? And indeed, fiddling with various air routings from Ecuador to Cuzco, turns out I can stop in Lima for a spell for nearly the same tab as a direct to Cuzco ($311 rt.)
O.k. so, with a 2 nt. quickie stay in Lima set, the next hurdle to foodie nirvana was snagging a reservation at one of the three restaurants:
Checking their websites, all offered tasting menus (each tabbed at well over $100+), and all of course had long waiting lists for a reservation. Indeed, my favorite (CENTRAL, the highest ranking of the three) had yet to even open reservations for October. The site said that October reservations would open at 12:01 am on 31 July. And – given that I had but a SINGLE DAY (Monday, 2 October) that I would be in Lima with time for either lunch or dinner – you can bet I had my finger poised on my laptop mouse, ready and waiting come midnight on the 31st.
So how’d I do? Just for fun, I’ve made another nifty Lumen5 video to tell the rest of the story…
I managed to snag a reservation for lunch at Central on October 2nd at 1:30. Alternately, I could have gone for dinner, but I figured I’d be better able to enjoy an afternoon of decadent gourmet eats – rather than try to down 18 courses after a full day of exploring Lima. And besides – the word on the street (read: TripAdvisor) is that the full 18 course tasting menu can easily run to three hours. And as a dodderin’ lass that can barely keep her eyes open past 9 pm when I’m on the trail, I honestly didn’t think I could last through all 18 courses for dinner!
And yep – you heard that right: an EIGHTEEN course tasting menu, for a mere 510 Perunivan Soles (~ $157 + tax and tip).
Actually, given that most the food tours (in Mexico City, Turkey, etc.) easily run $70 or more for generally ~ 9 tasting stops (and are well worth it) – an entire *18* course meal at one of the globe’s premier restaurants for little more than twice that, would seem quite the travel bargain. Furthermore – though I of course have no such personal experience – from what I understand, similar fine dining in Europe or NYC will run you 2 or 3 times the price of Central (at Eleven Madison Park in NYC for example – ranked #1 in the World for 2017 – apparently a wine-pared dinner for 2 runs close to $1,000!)
In any case, I believe it’s safe to say that – for this frugal traveler who customarily (and quite happily) dines on $3 almuerzo lunches, my little foodie splurge at Central come October promises to be quiiiite the upgrade.
Oh, and one final note – for those who might be interested: Read the details on how the 50 Best Restaurants list is determined: The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017
P.S. So what about you – would YOU drop a couple of C-notes for lunch somewhere?
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