Eating the Amazing Amazon
Restaurants Leo in Bogotá, and Amaz in Lima, offer menus utilizing exotic ingredients from the Amazonian rainforests that comprise almost fifty-percent of the landmass in Colombia and Peru
Aguaje, camu camu, cocona, Amazonian Donacella, patarashca, paiche, pishpirones, chiramoya, and taro root or yucca root bread! You won’t likely see those ingredients on the menu at Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant in London. Nor at Thomas Keller’s in California or New York.
In fact, you likely won’t find those ingredients on any menu in Buenos Aires, Santiago or Mexico City. But you will find them on the menu at Leo in Bogotá and Amaz in Lima. In stride with the current trend of using locally sourced ingredients, these two restaurants have made their names by using rare and exotic ingredients found in Amazonian rain forests in their South American restaurants.
And unlike Rodolfo Guzmán at Boragó in Santiago and Fernando Rivarola at El Baqueno in Buenos Aires, who in my opinion have missed the mark in their attempts to successfully use wild or foraged ingredients, Leo Espinosa, at Leo, and Pedro Miguel Schiaffino at Amaz, have hit home runs. The dishes they offer on their expansive menus featuring these items are brilliantly conceived and flawlessly executed.
And, you don’t have to go to a hole in the wall in some dangerous barrio to experience this unique cuisine. Leo and Amaz, are, in fact, two of the most beautifully decorated restaurants in Latin America, within walking distance of international hotels. In fact, Amaz is adjoining the Hilton in Miraflores, and Leo is paces away from the IBIS near downtown Bogotá.
Although similar in their approach to cuisine, the restaurants have very different personalities. Leo is sophisticated, bordering on formal. But it’s a classy, understated elegance. Amaz, in Lima, is more casual with a quirky colorful décor. Despite their differences, Leo, in Bogotá, and Amaz, in Lima, are unique and sophisticated takes on an exotic cuisine that can’t be missed.
Ollie O, visited both restaurant in the spring of 2017 and provides a detailed account of the dining experience. Read the full review of Leo here, and Amaz here.