Mil Centro: The Best Gastronomic Experience in the World

Mil Centro: The Best Gastronomic Experience in the World

Overlooking Cusco’s Moray archaeological site, Mil Centro Restaurant is a unique culinary microcosm of its millenary surroundings, and the “Best Gastronomic Experience in the World.”

Created by renowned chefs Virgilio Martinez and Pia Leon, this extraordinary restaurant was crowned the best gastronomic experience in the world at the prestigious 2023 World Culinary Awards.

Drawing inspiration from the rich cultural heritage and natural abundance of the Peruvian Andes, Mil Centro offers a unique and immersive dining experience that captivates the senses and transports guests on a journey through high-altitude ecosystems.

A Culinary Adventure in Moray

Satellite image of Mil Centro - Moray, Sacred Valley, Cusco - Peru (Google Earth)
Mil Centro – Moray, Sacred Valley, Cusco – Peru (Google Earth)

Located in on a plateau overlooking Moray, 33 miles (53 km) northwest of Cusco, Mil Centro is a place where culinary art meets scientific exploration.

The restaurant’s gastronomic proposal is centered around the concept of 8 plates, each representing a different high-altitude ecosystem. With a focus on regionally sourced products that undergo daily modifications, the ever-evolving menu at Mil Centro is exclusively offered to a select clientele of just 20 individuals each day, Tuesday to Sunday.

This exclusivity ensures that every guest receives personalized attention and a truly unforgettable dining experience.

The full-day immersion experience begins at 9:30 in the morning and price is US$620 per person.

Lunchtime tasting menus are served from 12 to 2:30 p.m., featuring “a gastronomic journey” of the eight environmental ecosystems that surround the restaurant for US$360 per person.

Peruvian chefs Virgilio Martinez, Pia Leon and Malena Martinez on the pampa near Moray, in Cusco's Sacred Valley
Peruvian chefs Virgilio Martinez, Pia Leon and Malena Martinez

The Immersion Begins

“The Mil Immersion experience is an invitation to pause and enjoy a change of pace,” proclaims the official website of Mil Centro. This statement encapsulates the essence of what awaits guests. The restaurant is not just a place to indulge in exquisite cuisine; it is a place to engage with the environment, embrace the traditions of nearby rural communities, and immerse oneself in the ancient customs and millennia-old heritage near the archaeological site of Moray.

Exploring the 6 Moments

Virgilio Martinez and Pia Leon have meticulously crafted a comprehensive experience structured into six distinct moments, each offering a unique and enchanting encounter with the Andean world. Let’s take a closer look at these moments:

Moray Guide: Exploring the Archaeological Zone

The journey begins with the Moray Guide, an exploration of the Moray Archaeological Zone. This ancient site, consisting of concentric agricultural terraces, provides a glimpse into the ingenious farming techniques of the Incas. As guests wander through this historical marvel, they gain a deeper understanding of the connection between the land, the people, and the gastronomy of the region.

Crop Fields: A Glimpse into Farming Communities

The next stop is the Crop Fields, where guests are transported to the Mullak’s Misminay and Kacllaraccay communities. Here, they witness the hard work and dedication of local farmers as they cultivate the land and harvest the ingredients that will later grace the plates at Mil Centro. This immersive experience allows guests to appreciate the labor and passion behind each dish.

Botanical Route: Discovering Medicinal Plants

Embarking on the Botanical Route, guests embark on a hike through the hills surrounding the restaurant. Along the way, they encounter a diverse array of plant species, not only used for sustenance but also possessing medicinal properties. This journey deepens the understanding of the rich biodiversity of the Andean region and showcases the close relationship between nature and gastronomy.

Mater Projects: Celebrating Art and Collaboration

Mater Projects is a space within Mil Centro where the results of collaborations with artists, collectors, producers, and artisans are proudly displayed. This creative fusion of gastronomy and art highlights the importance of preserving cultural heritage and supporting local artisans. Through this immersive experience, guests gain a greater appreciation for the craftsmanship and creativity that goes into every aspect of Mil Centro.

Ferments and Distillates: Exploring Andean Beverages

In the Ferments and Distillates moment, guests are introduced to a selection of drinks prepared with ingredients that narrate their cultural roots and traditions. From traditional Andean chicha to artisanal distillates, this showcase of beverages fully immerses guests in the flavors and traditions of the Andean world. It is a celebration of the rich heritage of Andean beverages and the stories they tell.

Gastronomic Experience: An Unparalleled Journey

Finally, the culmination of the Mil Centro experience is the Gastronomic Experience, a meticulously crafted 8-course menu that promises to take guests on an unparalleled culinary journey. Each dish is a work of art, meticulously prepared with locally sourced ingredients and inspired by the diverse landscapes and flavors of the Andean region. This extraordinary gastronomic adventure showcases the immense talent and creativity of Virgilio Martinez and Pia Leon.

An Unforgettable Dining Experience

Virgilio Martinez describes one of the most delightful moments at Mil Centro as setting up the dining table outdoors, allowing diners to witness the archaeological site and actively engage in the preparation of potatoes and other Andean tubers. This unique experience not only provides a breathtaking backdrop for the meal but also creates a sense of connection to the land and its history. It is this attention to detail and commitment to creating a memorable dining experience that sets Mil Centro apart.

Mil Centro culinary research center, at Moray in the Sacred Valley of Cusco - Peru

Mil Centro is not just a restaurant; it is an immersive journey through the Andean world. From exploring ancient archaeological sites to engaging with farming communities and discovering the rich biodiversity of the region, every moment at Mil Centro is an opportunity to connect with the land, the people, and the gastronomy of the Peruvian Andes. With its recent recognition as the best gastronomic experience in the world, Mil Centro has cemented its position as a must-visit destination for food and travel enthusiasts alike. So, when planning your next trip to Cusco, make sure to reserve a seat at Mil Centro and embark on a culinary adventure like no other.

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Authored by: PeruTravelTrends

A Peru Tour Operator and Travel Agency: Since 1994 creating wonderful vacation experiences for adventure travelers and holidaymakers in Cusco, Lima, Arequipa, Lake Titicaca, and all around the Andean region.

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