On a post not far from my table a Kingfisher sits for a moment and then flutters off. Off in the distance closer to the shore a white egret stands zen-like. When I came by boat to Al Frio y al Fuego, a thatched roof restaurant in the middle of the Itaya river near Iquitos in the Peruvian Amazon, the clouds were dark and raindrops bounced across the murky water. Now the sun was out and the restaurants turquoise pool was sparkling and inviting though I didn’t think to bring my trunks.
Al Frio y Al Fuego, which opened in 2008, is among the new wave of creative eateries to hit to the Amazonian city of Iquitos, the largest city in the world not connected by road to the rest. It’s owned by Delfin amazon cruises and from what I understand the same quality food is served on their ships. When the rain stopped and the steamy heat of Iquitos kicked in, I ordered a frosty Atardecer Loretano, which blended Pisco with Grenadine, the tomato like Cocona, and the ultra rich in Vitaman C Camu Camu fruit.
Their menu is the mist progressive in the city outside of that being served on the MV Aqua, which was spearheaded by Malabar’s Pedro Miguel Schaiffino. Amazonian dishes are given contemporary treatment. Starters are anchored by a flavorful Heart of Palm Cream Soup with roasted maconto seed and Panko crusted Chicken Drumsticks with an aji charapita mayo. Other Peruvian standards are given the Amazon treatment: Tiradito de Cocona pairs thin slices of Doncella catfish marinated in cocona juice and aji charapita; Causa is stuffed with Doncella, avocado, and hearts of palm; and steaks are grilled in a Bijao leave with fettuccini and a prawn and served in a river snail sauce.
The open kitchen sits in the middle of the second level dining room, though I prefer the slightly more casual downstairs bar area and poolside patio. This is a place you can come and spend the day at just eating and drinking and staring at the river. I have.Al Frio y Al Fuego
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.