There’s something about chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino that translates well abroad. I’ve seen him written up in Food & Wine, Conde Nast, Outside’s Go, and several other U.S. publications. They always call him some sort of adventurous chef because of the work he did designing the menu of the MV Aqua, a luxury cruise ship in the Amazon. Yet, whenever I talk to someone in Lima they say their restaurant experience at Malabar is bad. My wife’s uncle said his meals were horrible on the four occasions he went, though I’m not sure why he would have went four times if that was the case.
Cusco, once a culinary wasteland, is increasingly becoming a high watermark of Peruvian cuisine. No other places in the Andes apart from maybe Quito, Ecuador has such an impressive gastronomic scene. While restaurants like Bistrot 370 are redefining the city, outside in the Sacred Valley where things have always been a little bit more laid back.
Rafael Osterling (www.rafaelosterling.com) is a Lima culinary name on par with Gaston Acurio and a growing number of restaurants to match the celebuchef. Satellites of his Rafael restaurant in Lima have opened this year in Bogota and Puerto Madero (Buenos Aires) amid lots of hype, so his Cusco restaurant, Bistrot 370, has opened relatively under the radar. If you were in Cusco and weren’t looking for it, you probably wouldn’t even know it was there.