Central In Lima Crowned The World's Best Restaurant 2023

You may not be able to travel to every corner of the globe to find all the world's best food for yourself, but there are lucky people who do that work, and they have named Lima, Peru's Central World's Best Restaurant for 2023. Central's award comes from 50 Best, a guide to global food and drink, with input from an international assortment of over 1,000 culinary experts. Announced at 50 Best's ceremony in Valencia, Spain, Central took home both the top restaurant prize and also won the best of South America. Central is a fixture at the awards, having been the runner-up for the top spot last year after first claiming South America's top spot in 2014.

Central is run by wife-and-husband duo Pia León and Virgilio Martínez, who have worked together since 2009. Known for its commitment to sustainability and local Peruvian ingredients, Central attempts to tell the story of Peru through food representing the country's unique ecosystems organized by altitude. That's a tall order, considering the country rises dramatically from sea level to peaks over 22,000 feet and is home to more than 70% of the world's biodiversity. León and Martínez's focus on local sustainability extends to the physical restaurant, which was built using traditional Peruvian construction techniques and materials, including earthworks, Andean stone, and local weavings.

Central's multi-course meal takes you from the ocean to the highest peaks of Peru

Featured on Netflix's 'Chef's Table, Pia León, Virgilio Martínez, and Central have been in the spotlight for years for their meticulous and beautiful meals born of their explorations of Peru. Located in the coastal Barranco neighborhood, the elevation-themed journey begins underwater and then moves through regions such as coastal foothills, jungle highlands, and Andean slopes. Each dish is relatively simple, featuring only a few ingredients found at those specific elevations, like the 11,800-foot-inspired "Moray" dish. Named after ancient Inca ruins in the Andes, it utilizes the agave-like cabuya plant, minty muña, and the local flower qolle. There is also the famous "Amazonian Water" dish representing 600 feet, with a whole head from the toothy pacu fish, watermelon, and coca leaf.

If you haven't heard of most of these ingredients, you're not alone. Martínez estimates that half the ingredients they use are mostly unknown, and he even counts on zoologists and linguists to help him in his travels. Central also draws inspiration from the native residents of Peru's different regions, from farmers to Amazonian locals who rely on the stems, leaves, and flowers of plants during tough times. With that level of dedication and research, it's no surprise Central continues to scoop up awards or that 50 Best finally gave them their top prize.