On the far end of Loreto in Santiago’s Recoleta district sits Alfresco, a Peruvian restaurant in a Mediterranean-style house more reminiscent of the Greek Isles than Machu Pichu.
Photo by Alfredo Pernas
Since 1993, owner and internationally recognized Chef Alfredo Aramburú Picasso has been serving up his creative replicas of Peru’s most traditional dishes, captivating the eyes as well as the taste buds. Recognized as one of the Top Ten Chefs in the World and recipient of the coveted “Best Ceviche in Peru” Award, Chef Alfredo is ready to make your dining dreams come true.
My experience with Alfresco happened to take place during the annual Tuna and Octopus Festival. As you can imagine, the rarity of this event held as much importance for me as a solar eclipse. How often do these two powerhouses of the sea join forces to pleasure the appetite of santiguinos and gringos alike? With expectations high and thoughts of octopus and tuna dancing cueca in my stomach, I set off to participate in this star-studded maritime event.
If ambience is the most important thing for you, Alfresco may not strike you as one of Santiago’s hot spots. The high ceilings and open dining area offer the sensation of being 10,000 leagues under the sea rather than in Lima’s center. That being said, a Peruvian-style pisco sour (US$5) can blur any recognition of bad interior design, letting you focus on the flavors of Chile’s northern--and slightly more culinary creative--neighbors.
The simple tastes of Peruvian ingredients, in the right hands here, come together to create the lavish complexity that one expects when eating the country’s delicacies. If you care to splurge to your heart and stomach’s content, order the Surtido del Pacifico (US$16). This appetizer is fit for a king with a sample of Alfresco’s eight best kitchen concoctions such as ceviche and teriditos.
For the main course, Alfresco offers a wide variety of both land and sea dishes. From Aji gallina (US$12) to Easter Island tuna (US$18), the menu offers something for every taste with each plate fired by the Chef himself.
Topped with an extensive wine selection, Alfresco creates a food safe haven sure to leave octopus, tuna and any other creature living happily-ever-after in your stomach. Though this restaurant is a bit pricier than the average Peruvian eatery, the service and inventive dishes won’t leave you or your wallet disappointed.
Loreto 509 (at Buenos Aires)
Phone: (02) 737-9340
Metro: Bellas Artes