For this vacation, visiting Machu Picchu and the many different ruins was definitely a part of our list of things to do. But Peru also is home to three of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2017.
- Central Restaurante (#5)
- Maido by Mitsuharu (#8)
- Astrid y Gaston (#33)
Thanks to my American Express Platinum Card, through Amex’s Concierge Service, they were able to score two reservations for us at Central and Astrid y Gaston. I had asked for all three of them, but Maido was a bit difficult to get, and I was placed on a waiting list. The next available opening was for mid-May and we wouldn’t be around anymore.
Mission Possible: Get reservations at Maido
Well, you all know that DaddyTravels does not know how to wait. During our first few days in Peru, I was already assured that we’d be dining at two of the three best restaurants in the world located in Lima. I made it my mission to try and snag a reservation at Maido since the best that Amex was able to get for me was to be placed on a wait list.
We landed in Lima on Monday at 1pm. The moment we got in to our car service, I called Maido. I explained to them that I was only in town for 2 more days, and that my goal was to visit all three of the best restaurants in the world. I mentioned that I was only available for dinner on Monday, and lunch on Tuesday. I was placed on hold for a bit, and was offered a late Monday night dinner reservation at 10:30pm. Someone’s cancellation was my gain. Of course, I said, YES! So there, that’s how I snagged this last-minute reservation to #8 in the world.
What’s the lesson-learned here?
If you try to book online, and the website only gives you an option to be wait-listed, try and call the restaurant directly, and work your charm. It worked for me, and I hope it works for you, too.
Dining at Maido
For the rest of the afternoon, Nancy and I decided to just hang around Miraflores, we had a late lunch at Tanta in Larcomar. We didn’t want to eat too much knowing that we’d be dining at the world’s #8.
I arranged for a car service to drive us to Maido for about 10 soles. We could’ve walked it, but it was pretty breezy that evening and I decided to just catch a ride. Maido is on the corner of Calle San Martin and Calle Colon. Once you go inside, you’ll see a little Japanese garden, and in the lobby is where you check in. There’s a spiral staircase that leads you to the main dining room with a sushi bar to its left.
Once we entered the dining room, a loud chant welcomed me and Nancy, and then we were led to a table for two in the middle of the dining room. The entire dining room felt very festive. The high-vaulted ceilings were covered with hundreds of ropes. It was very creative which still gave us a sense of space and intimacy at the same time.
Dining a la carte
There was an option to have the 13-course tasting menu (worth 450 soles = $138 including tax/tip per person). However, we also had the option of going with an a la carte menu. These were the pictures from the menu, remember the pricing you see is in soles and at the time of our visit $1 = 3.22 soles.
We could’ve easily ordered the entire menu. Our eyes tend to be bigger than our stomachs. So we decided to order just a bit. We ordered a couple of nigiris, and a couple of main entrees (shown below), plus desserts.
It was unusual for us not to rely on enhancing our Japanese dining experience without the aid of soy sauce, wasabi, and ginger. Our experience at Maido relied solely on the food that was presented in itself. Part of me wanted to ask for soy sauce, or ginger and/or wasabi. Not sure if it would be considered taboo. But, looking back, the flavors of our nigiris and main dishes were perfectly seasoned as is. It was just a hard habit to break in requesting those condiments, and I was glad I experienced the dishes the way they were served.
The “welcome appetizer” (sorry, I forgot the name and all that was in there), the Guratan, and Tuna & Yolks were a delight that kicked off our dinner. I enjoyed the crispy edge of the Guratan after our server used a mini- blow torch to enhance the crunchy finish. And who wouldn’t love looking at the presentation?
The Japanese fried rice had the meatiest and juiciest seafood combination. The octopus wasn’t rubbery at all. It tasted sweet and mashed well with the salmon.
The Crispy Pancetta did not disappoint. If anything, the portions we had were much bigger than we had anticipated. Oh and that pork belly skin was just crispy perfection. The pork in itself was tender and I enjoyed brushing the pork against the ramen reduction.
The desserts…oh, the desserts! It was a perfect way to end our evening. The highlight was birthday churros compliments from Maido for Nancy’s birthday. Eating it with the cinammon ice cream culminated our dining experience at #8 in the world…Maido.
These two drinks needed their own subheading. I mean a drink is a drink, right? But these drinks were so fresh, not too sweet, an excellent mixture of the different ingredients as described below.
T – lychee infusion with black tea from Cusco (far right) – AMAZING
Murasaki – green tea, pomegranate, lychee, orange, pineapple (middle) – DELISH
We’ve conquered two out of the three best restaurants in the world that happened to be all located in Lima, Peru. The waiters did not skip a beat. They anticipated our every move. I had forgotten that I left my napkin upstairs, and did not even think of asking for another. To my surprise, a server came to me and handed me a new napkin without asking.
Different servers took their turn and ensured that our table was clean. Each serving required a new set of plates, or chopsticks. Talk about attention to details. Each request was granted with a smile. There was no feeling that we were rushed, although we were truly one of the last ones who left the restaurant.
For our visit to #8, it was all about the service, the selection, and the execution. The plating of the dishes, the delivery of orders, the way they explained the dishes, were all part of why this restaurant is on the list of the Top 50 Best Restaurants in the world. I can see myself coming here more often. It’s the kind of food that I am accustomed to eating. And maybe, just maybe on my next visit to Maido, I just might have the nerve to ask for soy sauce, ginger, or wasabi just to see their reaction.
Gracias, Mitsuharu. Gracias, Maido!