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BEST of the BEST 2014 | Leisure | Dining: Astrid y Gastón Casa Moreyra

  • Howard Chua-Eoan

In the 20 years since Gastón Acurio opened a small restaurant in Lima, Peru, he has propelled his country’s cuisine to the forefront of contemporary gastronomy, created a global empire of 40-plus restaurants, and become enough of a national hero that he is discussed as a potential candidate for president. In February, Acurio’s flagship restaurant reopened in a new home that reflects his grand ambition. Shimmering brightly in one of Lima’s poshest districts, Astrid y Gastón Casa Moreyra (+51.1.442.2775, www.astridygaston​.com) is the result of a $6 million renovation of Casa Moreyra, an 18th-century hacienda. It includes an opulent private banquet hall and a food laboratory, but at its heart is the modernist main dining room and Astrid y Gastón’s new 27-course tasting menu (about $200 with wine pairings). This culinary tour de force explores Peru’s diverse environments—the Pacific, the desert, the Andes, the altiplano, and the Amazon—and is both delicious (a jewellike composition of cured and cold-smoked lobster and pacay-fruit pulp) and provocative (crisped coca leaves dabbed with lime gel and a touch of black sugar).