Madrid has been declared gastronomic capital of Iberian America, and it’s easy to see why. The Spanish capital is brimming with restaurants specialising in cuisines from the region whose kitchens are helmed by chefs eager to send our imaginations and tastebuds on a voyage of discovery. Check out our selection of eateries serving top notch Creole and Nikkei fare.
Born in Lima and resident in Asturias for over a decade, Mario Céspedes is a creative, versatile, unaffected chef who strives to create closer ties between the cuisine of his youth and that of his adopted home. It’s a surprising fusion that he manages adeptly thanks to a perfectly honed technique that results in refined, well-balanced flavours. His cooking is based on sauces, homemade reductions and dishes cooked in “the cylinder”, a traditional Peruvian wood-fired oven used to smoke and roast meat and fish. Menu offerings include green ceviche with huacatay (black mint) and mango, and, in the way of light dishes, delicious options like octopus with stewed olluco tubers and Botija olives, rib tamalitos with persimmon and charapita chilli pepper, and bluefin tuna nachos with avocado and chili pepper. All the desserts are irresistible, from the blue cheesecake to the lúcuma mochi with strawberry sorbet.
A passion for Peruvian cuisine is what defines Lima-born chef Jhosef Arias, owner of this ceviche bar with truly authentic seafood flavours. His menu offers mouth-watering ceviches such as the verdoso. Named after the unusual colour of the leche de tigre in which it’s marinated – green (‘verde’) instead of white – the dish is made from coriander, sea bass, lime, baby cuttlefish, prawn, octopus, sweet potato and onion. Another specialty of the house is the Toro Toro Nikkei, red tuna tarantelo: a tiradito to which Jhosef Arias adds Asian sauces and a touch of spice. The perfect accompaniment for any of the dishes is the spicy potato bread, made from ají amarillo paste and seasoned with chincho and huacatay, two aromatic herbs that transport us straight to the Peruvian mountains.
Jhosef Arias has a maxim: things are always more fun if you share them. Take his message to heart and make sure you visit his restaurant in good company so you can order and share a number of the specialities on his very Creole menu. How about something hot to test the waters? You’ll find chicken brochettes and northern-style seco (meat stew) with refried beans. There are two tasting menus that start with “snacks”, such as fried corn, banana chips and purple potatoes, and a toast, with either a Pisco Sour or a Maricucha (made from passion fruit instead of lime).
Quispe is one of Peru’s most common surnames. Over the course of history, the Quispes -originally Quechua- have mixed with different cultures, the same way that cuisines blend together. This restaurant offers a tribute to the mix and diversity of the entire country. The menu is divided into two parts: one devoted to cold food (such as ceviches, tiraditos, causas…) and another to hot dishes like lomo saltado (stir-fried steak), arroz chaufa (Chinese-style rice) made with charcoal-grilled seafood and octopus and served with mashed yucca. Be sure to check out the drinks menu. How does a passion fruit and ginger chilcano sound?
“We don’t just want you to come here to eat. We want you to have a true experience”. That’s the message that diners receive when they enter this restaurant, ready to take on the challenge set for them by Miguel Valdiviezo: letting their taste buds lead them on a journey to Peru. But not the Peru that we all know. Tampu celebrates modernity. The menu is divided into chapters with intriguing titles like A Story of Scrumptious, Aforementioned Peruvian Recipes and The Crazy Chef.
The dishes whipped up by chef Luis de los Ríos take diners on a journey through traditional Peruvian cuisine. Discover the flavours of the north of Peru, anticucho and ceviche, fused effortlessly with Asian spices and Mediterranean ingredients.
Commitment to the traditional, the natural and -above all- the authentic. That’s what you get at this restaurant in central Madrid helmed by Luis Barrios, who has been passing on his culinary wisdom for over 25 years. His goal is for us all to enjoy ourselves. He succeeds with wonderful dishes like octopus tiradito with olive sauce, Lima-style causa limeña (mashed potato cake) with tuna, chupe de camarones (a shrimp-based soup typical of southern Peru) and Atlantic halibut with chalaquita sauce. For those looking for something a bit more special, the “Sun Party” (Fiesta del Sol) tasting menu is utterly delicious from the meagre ceviche starter through to the Pisco Sour digestif.