Peru Central Restaurant, Lima, Peru. Ranked #5 Best Restaurant in the World (2017)

Published on August 10th, 2017


When Was Your Last $200 Lunch?

Machu Picchu, PeruYeah.  Me too.  NEVER.

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:

CENTRAL – ranked #5 in the ENTIRE WORLD (not to mention #1 in South America)
MAIDO – ranked #8 in the World, and
ASTRID Y GARSÓN – ranked #33 in the World.

Finger poised on laptop mouse - to click myself a reservation.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?

When was your last $200 lunch?

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About the Author

Off-the-beaten-path travel is my passion,and I’ve always lived life “like-a-kid-in-a-candy-store” – eager to sample as many flavors as I can. Indeed, my life motto has long been: This ain’t a dress rehearsal, folks!

12 Responses to When Was Your Last $200 Lunch?

  1. Wow! Who would have thought Lima was a foodie heaven? We ate a few good meals while we were there and even splurged for some cuy but I’d say you’re in for another fun and tasty experience. And, I have to say, the research and anticipation of an upcoming trip is half the fun of any new adventure! (P.S. You’re having WAY to much fun with your videos! HaHa!)
    Anita @ No Particular Place To Go kindly contributed to world literature by posting…Bohemian Rhapsody: Cesky KrumlovMy Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      Oh my yes Anita – I’ve often (from way back in my tour operator days) said: “The trip itself is only 1/3 of the joy of traveling: fully 1/3 of the fun is in planning and dreaming; then yes, the trip is no doubt great fun too. But that’s still only 1/3 of the joy ‘cuz – the final third are the memories you’ll have for a lifetime.”

      And yep – you caught me red-handed – such fun (and so easy) to cobble together these quickie videos. 😉

      P.S. Anything else I should “not miss” in the short spell I’m in LIma? I’m tentatively hoping to stroll through the Barranco neighborhood (famous for its graffiti).

      • Check out the Monastery of San Francisco with its catacombs and ossuary -we love dem bones! Our other fave in Lima was the Larco Museum, a private museum which had beautiful pre-Colombian art, an awesome weapons collection but a truly fascinating erotic pre–Colombian art collection housed in a separate building. (Proves there really is nothing new under the sun! HaHa!) We used a taxi to get around since the city’s so huge and I don’t remember it being too expensive.
        Anita @ No Particular Place To Go kindly contributed to world literature by posting…Bohemian Rhapsody: Cesky KrumlovMy Profile

        • Dyanne says:

          Thanks for the tips Anita, yes the Larco is highly recommended. Sooo many options, and sadly – I only have but a couple of short mornings plus an evening after my $200 “lunch” at Central. I’m thinking I’ll take a free walking tour one morning, plus grab a few geocaches, and I’m keenly interested in wandering around the Barranco neighborhood (adjacent to my Miraflores hotel) to snap some of that graffiti. And yes, likely taxis as they’re said to be cheap.

  2. Ted says:

    A very long time ago at Chateau Lake Louise and my father paid the tab. Since then my meals are a bit lower down the scale, in a way, just a little bit, a lot 😉
    Ted kindly contributed to world literature by posting…Backpacking way back thenMy Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      Yup Ted, near $200 for ONE PERSON is a bit faint-worthy in my book too. But hey – it’s all just a matter of scrimping here, and splurging there. Especially when traveling, as so often it’s a matter of “when will I next be in Corner X of the globe and have this opportunity?”, yes?

  3. fourletternerd says:

    Bon appetit! Will you take photos?

    Closest I ever came to a $200 meal was picking up the $450 dinner tab (they’re not open for lunch) at Craftsteak while living in Vegas when my sister and her bestie visited in 2007. The chef’s mission was, and still is, classic food, prepared to perfection from the finest ingredients. Most of the starters and side were easily the best example of (fill in the blank) we’d ever had. Oh yes, it was worth it.

    • Dyanne says:

      “Will I take photos?” Um, does the earth orbit the sun? 🙂 But OF COURSE I’ll take pics!

      Indeed, that was one of my first concerns – whether or not Central allowed the snapping photographs. But if the multitude of luscious images posted from TripAdvisor reports is any indication – suffice… trust that I’ll be documenting each and every dish of the *18* course meal!

  4. Sometimes you just gotta. It’s not just lunch, it’s an 18 course lunch. If you think about it, it’s just over $10 for each dish. Perfectly reasonable!

    I look forward to hearing about it in the autumn. 🙂
    Ruth Elisabeth kindly contributed to world literature by posting…One year on: What language learning am I doing?My Profile

    • Dyanne says:

      GMTA…Great Minds surely Think Alike, Ruth – that’s preee-cisely how I calculate it. Little more than 10 bucks per course – a bargain! 😉

  5. James says:

    Just a few more hours of English tutoring… Money well spent, I say!

    • Dyanne says:

      Yep James – though I surely can’t afford $200 lunches every week (or even every year!), it’s just a matter of pinching pennies here to splurge there when I travel. Much like those amazing balloon rides in Turkey/Myanmar, yes? That and… yes an extra English class now and then. 😉

      It’s the same for any of us – after all, we’re all effectively on some sort of finite “budget”. Some think nothing of spending a fortune on pricey clothes or the latest electronics or perpetual Happy Hours. For me, it’s all about how much each extra dollar will buy me for an airfare to a new destination. Along with… and when I arrive, not foolishly scrimping on a grilled cheese sandwich when… one of the globe’s best restaurants happens to be a few blocks down the street.

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