The vibe: Claus Meyer, co-founder of five-time World’s 50 Best Restaurants No.1 Noma, opened Gustu in the centre of La Paz in 2013. Chef Marsia Taha is now at the helm of the kitchen, having risen quickly through the ranks to head chef. With her exclusive use of endemic produce, Gustu has become a forerunner of the Bolivian culinary revival and is once again named The Best Restaurant in Bolivia.
What’s on the menu? Diners journey across the incredibly biodiverse Bolivian landscape in just a few mouthfuls. The à la carte offers a taste of earth, land and sea: try the Titicaca trout crudo with mango and Amazonian nuts; lamb tamales with chilli cream and roasted vegetables; or llama with Amazonian vanilla and ajipa (local root vegetable).
And for dessert: Those with a sweet tooth will need to save room for the final course. True to form, the menu offers a selection of Bolivian-inspired favourites: chamomile ice cream topped with kiswara flowers, sancha inchi (Inca-peanut) with smoked cream, and tumba (banana passionfruit) with local gourd and gusanito chile.
What makes it special? Taha’s thirst for knowledge and culinary innovation. Gustu leads research trips into far-flung regions of Bolivia, aiming to identify new endemic species, showcase unknown produce and develop relationships with small-scale producers across the country.
Beyond the restaurant: Since the Covid-19 pandemic, Gustu has been offering a Green Box, which can be sent directly to your door. Packed with different produce (including a crackly loaf of homemade sourdough bread) and a new recipe each week, the Green Box is Gustu’s solution to sharing knowledge and appreciation of local produce.