The Sacred Valley of Peru, heartland of the ancient Incan Empire, today attracts visitors from across the globe for its stunning views, ancient citadels and exceptional cuisine. From the Incan capital of Cuzco to the lofty heights of Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley is a testament to the cultural and engineering innovations of the Incas. But innovation and cultural assimilation did not stop with the Inca. The region has retained traditions several thousand years old while incorporating elements of more recent Peruvian history into its vibrant culture.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Peru saw an influx of people from cultures of all continents. These emigrants brought their own traditions, which have been assimilated into Peruvian culture. The country is now home to the second-largest Japanese community in South America. Early Japanese emigrants prepared local Peruvian ingredients in the traditions of Japanese cuisine, resulting in a fusion of tastes. This melding of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine is called Nikkei, a culinary style of Peruvian food enjoyed worldwide.
Abundant freshwater and saltwater fish form an important element of Nikkei cuisine. Traditional Peruvian flavors like chilies, corn, lime and potatoes add spice and tartness to subtle Japanese flavors in soups, sushi, ceviche and tiradito. Japanese flavors blended into traditional Peruvian dishes add complexity to savory tacos, sudado fish stew or duo de costillas, pork ribs cooked in an oriental barbecue sauce. Ceviche, the star of Peruvian cuisine, is presented in a variety of ways based on the type of fish, availability of local ingredients and innovation of the chef.
La Costanera Restaurant, located just south of San Francisco overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Montara Bay, presents an array of satisfying Peruvian flavors for guests. Here, native Peruvian chef Carlos Altamirano creates new interpretations of classic Peruvian cuisine. Fresh seafood like calamari, sea scallops, lobster and tuna are combined with the fresh taste of lime, piquant chili peppers and a variety of potatoes into dishes that span the culinary heritage of the country. Come for an evening of fine dining at this Michelin-starred Peruvian restaurant.