With Latin America's biggest food festival, Mistura, set to kick off on September 5, two restaurants in Peru, Central and Astrid y Gaston, have been awarded as the best restaurants in the region.
Central, which received first place honors, was praised for the diversity of ingredients used by its 37-year-old chef Virgilio Martinez, who has made the Lima restaurant a new reference point for Latin American haute cuisine.
The recognition also confirmed Peruvian cuisine as one of the best known in the continent, with its celebrated ceviche, "tacu-tacu" rice-and-beans mixture and "lomo saltado," a beef dish.
The list of Latin America's 50 best restaurants, begun in 2013 by a trade publication, is chosen by a 252-member academy of experts.
They elevated Central above last year's winners Astrid y Gaston and Brazil's D.O.M., which this year came in second and third respectively.
Among the region's top 10 establishments were three Peruvian restaurants, three Mexican, two Brazilian, one in Chile and one in Argentina.
Gaston Acurio, the chef of Astrid y Gaston, which has opened franchises in several countries, was named best chef for 2014, chosen as "the driving force behind the rise of Peruvian cuisine."
Honors for the region's best female chef went to a Mexican, Elena Reygadas of the Rosetta restaurant.
Mistura, Latin America's most important food festival, opens its doors Friday to as many as 500,000 visitors over the next 10 days.