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Not Europe, not NYC: Where in the world is the World’s Best Restaurant for 2023? 

If you travel for the food, you’ll want to add this culinary hotspot to your wish list. Central in Lima has taken out the honour of the World’s Best Restaurant 2023, topping The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list and the first from South America.

If you travel for the food, you’ll want to add this culinary hotspot to your wish list. Central in Lima has taken out the honour of the World’s Best Restaurant 2023, topping The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list and the first from South America.

Central was one of three Peruvian restaurants to make the cut, demonstrating that Peru is positioning itself as a culinary powerhouse. The list also included Maido (ranked 6th), Kjolle (ranked 28th) and Mayta (ranked 47th).

Central, established by husband-and-wife team Virgilio Martínez and Pía León (who also own Kjolle), takes inspiration from Peru’s diverse ecosystems with each dish representing a specific area of the country – from the Pacific Ocean to the Andes.

Since opening almost 15 years ago, Central has elevated Peruvian gastronomic culture to the highest level on the global stage.

Central mater nosotros portada
L-R: Malena Martínez, the chef’s sister who runs the restaurant’s research arm, Mater Iniciativa, with Central owners Virgilio Martínez and Pia León.

“This is not about being number one, this is not about competition or being the best, it’s about doing what we love every day,” Virgilio Martínez said on accepting the award.

Pía León added: “We have been working very hard. Always looking back, seeing the steps we have taken and reflecting.”

According to Peru’s tourism board Promperú, gastronomy is one of the main motivators for international visitors to the South American country and these high-value travellers tend to spend more and stay longer than the average tourist.

Central dishes
Platos (dishes) on Central’s award-winning menu.

Tourism recovery is on the menu

It’s good news for the nation, hit hard by the pandemic and civil unrest and had one of its main attractions, Machu Picchu, closed to tourism in December 2022 and January 2023.

In 2023, Peru expects to welcome around 300,000 international tourists travelling for gastronomy with the majority from South America, the US and Spain.

Created by Restaurant magazine in 2022, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants ranking is a structured and audited voting process involving 1,080 global gastronomic experts in 2023.

Rounding out this year’s top 10 are three Spanish restaurants: Disfrutar in Barcelona (2), Diverxo in Madrid (3) and Asador Extebarri in Atxondo (4); followed by Copenhagen’s Alchemist (5), Lido 84 in Gardone Riviera, Italy (7), Atomix in NYC (8), Quintonil in Mexico City (9) and Table by Bruno Verjus in Paris (10).

Find out about Peru’s latest tourism campaign here.