Gastón Acurio is Peru’s most famous chef and arguably the best-known Peruvian in the world. The son of a senator, Acurio went to study law in Madrid, Spain, but had a change of heart and went to Paris to Le Cordon Bleu culinary school. His first restaurant, Astrid y Gaston, was an instant success in Lima and it soon spurred satellite restaurants around Latin America and other chains based on the various types of Peruvian cuisine. The growth in popularity of Peruvian cuisine around the world in the past decade would not have been possible without him. Here is a list of Acurio’s vast restaurant empire around the world:
La Mar Cebicheria: La Mar is the most successful of Acurio’s chains. This modern cevicheria concept is the first Acurio restaurant to expand into the United States in San Francisco, and a New York branch is opening in April of 2011. Not only ceviche, Peruvian seafood in all of its forms are the emphasis here: causas, arroces, tiraditos, chupes, etc.
Locations: Lima, Santiago, São Paulo, Panama City,
Mexico City (x2), San Francisco, New York, Miami (2013), San Dieg0 (2013).
Astrid y Gastón: The original restaurant of the Acurio Empire, Astrid y Gastón, was in Miraflores in Lima, Peru and was the first to expand outside of Peru. Originally the restaurant was a French bistro, but Acurio quickly began to incorporate more and more Peruvian ingredients and regional cooking styles into the menu and the rest is history.
Locations: Lima, Santiago, Buenos Aires, Madrid, Quito, Bogota, Caracas
Panchita: A steakhouse/anticucheria that opened in 2009. Meat is the primary focus, much of it cooked on wood fired grills and ovens.
Chi Cha: Acurio’s first restaurants in Peru to open outside of Lima. Each Chi Cha restaurant is based on the regional cuisine of its location, with a number of national plates thrown in that are similar to the menu of Lima’s Panchita.
Locations: Arequipa, Cuzco.
T’anta: A Peruvian café/bistro that is a particular pleasant lunch spot. This is where Acurio’s wife, the German born pastry chef Astrid Gutsche really shines.
Locations: Lima (x4), Arequipa (2011), Madrid, Barcelona (2011), Chicago
Pasquale Hermanos: A fast food sandwich shop in Lima, Pasquale Hermanos, serves Peruvian sandwiches such as the Butifarra and Chicharrón con camote.
Locations: Lima (x3).CLOSED
Madame Tusan: Acurio’s first Peruvian-Chinese restaurant opened in Lima in late April of 2011.
Locations: Lima, Santiago (late 2011)
Nikkei: A Peruvian-Japanese fusion restaurant that will open its first branch in Santiago, Chile.
Polleria: The first of Acurio’s rotisserie chicken restaurants. Likely in Lima.
Los Bachiche: A Peruvian-Italian fusion restaurant.
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.