World's Best Restaurants: Maido in Lima, Peru
If you are the type of traveler familiar with the worlds finest cuisine, Maido might just be a name that you have come across before. This spectacular restaurant is situated in Miraflores, the metropolitan heart of Lima. Of course we know Peruvian food has been voted countless times as the best gastronomy in the world but this restaurant is taking what Latin American food means and bringing it to the next level. Maido is the ultimate representation of a fusion restaurant, combining Peruvian flavors and ingredients with refreshing Japanese elements. The marriage of flavor and techniques is what has crowned Maido as the top restaurant in Latin America and the 7th best restaurant in the entire world (as rated by the Worlds 50 Best).
Maido literally translates to ‘welcome’ in Japanese and this ethos is echoed in the building through the friendly and exceptional hosts, waiters and even chefs. From the moment the door is opened all of your senses are electrified. From the spiraling staircase leading up to the restaurant, the harmonized smell of tantalizing dishes, the sweet voice of your table host to the roar of the chefs at the sushi bar, the sparkling lights surrounding you down to the texture of the menu itself - each detail of Maido screams attention to detail, intrigue, delight and balance. The most noticeable feature by far is the ceiling, which has countless rows of ropes hanging above you, colored specifically in the formation of the Japanese flag.
Chef Mitsuharu ‘Micha’ Tsumura is the genius behind the artistry. A Lima-born Peruvian Nikkei, he followed his fathers advice to concentrate on his passion for food and cooking by studying culinary arts in the United States. From here he chose to relocate and continue his education in Japan, inspiring him further to devise a beautiful mixture of both Peruvian and Japanese cuisine. Luckily for us he decided to share his talents with the world, opening the utterly charming Maido in Lima.
The best way to explore Maido is through their 11 course (yes you read that right) tasting menu. This establishment is so popular you have to book a whopping 60 days in advance but after the experience we can promise you it is worth the wait. This well anticipated dinner is even better when combined with the diverse wine pairing menu. The extreme selection includes white, red, orange and sweet wine along with a delicious sweet sake. Take a look at the whole tasting menu experience below.
Maido Tasting Menu
Dish: ‘Snacks’ - Mashua, chicken liver, duck heart pate, chalaca, ocopaa & aji negro chawanmushi
Wine Pairing: Cruzat Clasico Brut
Notes: This is the most incredible starting experience you could hope for. Each element is adequately balanced in flavour with a range of textures. Elements are eaten individually from the right to left.
Dish: Poda Ceviche - Sarandaja cream, catch of the day, shallots aji limo, chulpi corn, nikkei leche de Tigre (tigers milk)
Wine Pairing: Trapiche Costa & Pampa Sauvignon Blanc 2016
Notes: A zingy Japanese twist on the classic ceviche, this bowl packs a serious punch. The citrus and chilli gives the whole dish a blow which elevates the seafood to a new level.
Dish: Sudado - Catch of the day, Sudado reduction, seaweed
Wine Pairing: Stephane Ogier Blanc D’Ogier 2016
Notes: Warm and hearty, I could personally devour this dish every day during winter and then some. Pearls of seaweed are hidden in the reduction which add a burst of flavour to the buttery soup and perfectly cooked white fish.
Dish: Cuy-San - Cauliflower cream, garlic and rocoto cream, torikara sauce, Pachacamac greens
Wine Pairing: Chivite le Gardeta Finca de Villatuerta Chardonnay 2017
Notes: The highlight of this dish is Cuy, or as it is more commonly known, Guinea Pig. Perfectly cooked, crispy and not unlike pork, this chunk of meat is exquisite alongside the velvety rocoto cream.
Dish: Nigris - Seafood Nigri
Wine Pairing: Nambu Bijin Shinpaku (Sake)
Notes: This dish is paired flirtatiously with sake, which gives a sweeter edge to the overall combination. Each fish is smoked in its own individual way for the most robust mouthfuls of sushi you will ever have the pleasure of devouring. Guest are provided with hot hand towels for washing prior to this serving as you are encouraged to eat with your hands.
Dish: Gindara Misqyaki - Cod marinated in miso, crispy Bahuaja nuts, apple gel, Porcon mushroom powder
Wine Pairing: De Martino Viejas Tinajas Muscat 2017
Notes: One of my personal favourites. The combination of miso and flamed Bahuaja nuts is cut through by the clean tang of apple gel. This is a killer combination of delicate ingredients you would never expect to even mingle on the same plate.
Dish: Cabrito Dumpling - Baby lamb, beans foam, creole sauce with loche, northern style cilantro and chicha de jora sauce
Wine Pairing: VK Milla Cala 2014
Notes: An ultimate delight for any carnivore with tastebuds. Seriously. This dumpling is everything. The flavours are hearty, harmonised, wholesome and moreish.
Dish: Beef Short Rib 50 Hours - Native potato cream, crispy rice, cushuro
Wine Pairing: Manos Negras Artesano Malbec 2015
Notes: This is potentially the most famous dish from Maido. The 50 hour slow-cooked beef is NO joke. The meat practically falls apart just by looking at it. The sticky sauce is married with a native purple potato cream finessed for a flavour combination you could easily eat again and again and again. It is hard to imagine a more palatable dish on this menu.
Dish: Sea Urchin Rice - Chiclayo rice, Atico sea urchins, avocado cream, wan yi, baby corn
Wine Pairing: Heinrich Neubürger Freyheit 2016
Notes: Two words: Sea Urchin. This is one of the most difficulty prepared and sourced ingredients in the world. The simple smell of the dish is like the ocean itself. Sea urchin is a very distinctive flavour and takes specific interest to those who love strong sea food. As with every dish, it is so smooth you consume it solely with a spoon. The meat is united with chiclayo rice and avocado for a very interesting Latin spin on a premium Japanese ingredient.
Dish: Theobroma Cacao - Granadilla with mandarin sorbet, mucilage foam, cocoa nibs, lucuma ice cream, raspberries
Wine Pairing: Markus Fries Riesling Spätlese Feinherb 2015
Notes: Dessert time! By this time you might be seeing stars from all of the delicious food and wine but there is always time (and room) for dessert. This cocoa shell encases a gorgeous lucuma ice cream (a classic native fruit of Peru). Freeze dried raspberries aid the freshness of this dish with the complexity of the riesling topping it all off. Fascinatingly, the bowl the dish is served in is actually edible! Naturally, we had a nibble… and it was delightful! Tasting like pure sugar, it’s almost as if it was cotton candy solidified into a rock formation.
Dish: Theobroma Bicolour - Smoked ice cream made from macambo seeds with shoyu, crunchy nibs, sugar coated macambo, camu camu, goldenberry and mucilage
Wine Pairing: Mistela ‘Rosa Victoria’ 2015 Bodega Moquillaza Robatty-ica
Notes: Last but certainly not least comes the final dish of the evening. Served in a huge cocoa shell, this smoked ice cream is out of this world. Proudly unveiled by the waiter the dish is dusted for its final presentation. The dessert wine with this dish is particularly syrupy and scrumptious.
Overall, the entire experience at Maido is heavenly from the minute you become acquainted with the hostess at the front door. Every time you are presented with new and exciting dishes or wines, each is explained to you descriptively in full detail. The sheer amount of unwavering background knowledge is seriously impressive; the origin of the grapes, where the vineyards are located down to who created the bottle - its all there. Each dish is presented and described so beautifully it ignites your fascination further, having you itching to scratch your mouthwatering curiosity. If you are brave, as if 11 courses wasn’t enough, you can even sample their cocktail menu. And if you’re asking, yes of course we did. The alcohol is pleasant and not overpowering, plus I was enchanted by the flowers frozen in my ice cubes as an additional touch of aesthetic exuberance. The whole impression is so picturesque that even the bill comes presented in a tremendous gold painted box. The tasting experience with wine pairings lasted a whole 4 (fabulous) hours however Maido is available for bookings aside from their tasting menu. You can sample your own choice of dishes across the course of a lunch or evening time slot. Maido truly is the best restaurant in Latin America for a multitude of reasons - if you have the ability to visit this sophisticated yet magical establishment prepare yourself for the unparalleled gastronomical experience of a lifetime.
How to Visit Maido?
If our expert review has your mouth watering don’t hesitate to contact our team here at Rainforest Cruises for more information! Each of our Peru Amazon Cruises will be reached from a connecting flight into Lima. Planning far ahead will give you enough time to add Maido into your schedule and a few days to check out some of the other amazing sights around Lima. If you are interested in booking a cruise and seeing what other electrifying elements Lima has to offer please send us an enquiry or call 1-888-215-3555.