I’m in Lima, Peru right now learning all I can about the culinary specialties of this very urban and diversely beautiful city. I figured I’d start with a hunt for the best ceviche in Lima.
Lima reminds me quite a bit of Los Angeles, the city where I live. The weather is similar and the geography is similar. I’m staying in a section of town known as Barranco. It’s a lot like Santa Monica, CA. Complete with cliffs and western-facing oceanfront palisades. Like Los Angeles, the sun sets spectacularly over the Pacific ocean. Seems like a good place to find that Latin American seafood specialty known as ceviche.
I started my culinary education here by simply asking local people what they loved most about Peruvian cuisine. I soon learned that Peruvians are as passionate as Italians when it comes to the joy they find in talking about food, and ceviche isn’t the only game in town.
Peruvians are generous and open-minded and the food here reflects the same attitude. Outside influences are embraced and melded with the unique culinary bounty that this country offers. Peru has a 500-year tradition of Italian, Spanish, African, Japanese and Chinese immigration mixed with the native Quechua culture. Making modern day Lima a highly creative culinary melting pot.
This cultural diversity is further enhanced by a vast natural pantry of sorts. Peru is blessed with an abundantly diverse ecosystem. From the fertile Andes where potatoes, corn and tomatoes are grown, to the tropical rainforest where mysterious botanical wonders are sourced– there has always been something exciting to inspire the chefs of this country. These factors, along with the country’s booming economy, are turning Lima into a new global epicurean epicenter.
One thing I quickly learned is that Lima is crazy about its seafood. People here eat an average of 50 pounds of fish every year. Compare that to Americans who eat less than 16 pounds a year. This love of seafood makes sense because Peru is blessed with a coast that is home to some of the richest fishing grounds in South America. Meaning a trip to Lima is not complete without visiting a cevichería (usually spelled cebichería).
At its most basic, ceviche is dish of raw fish marinated in lime juice. It could easily be considered Peru’s national food and it’s certainly the star of Lima’s culinary scene. Avenida La Mar in the oceanfront Miraflores section of town is one of best places to get a taste for ceviche from basic to wildly creative. A stroll down this park-like street is a good place to start your search for the best ceviche in Lima. But it’s not the only place. Cevicherías are everywhere and I tried to sample as many of them as I could. GREG
Best Ceviche in Lima
Chez Wong – Calle Enrique Leon Garcia 114, La Victoria
All the ceviche we had in Lima was fantastic. But I just have to remark on Chez Wong. There aren’t many rules to good ceviche. The right cut, the right amount of heat and acid, and of course fish as fresh as possible. Chef Javier Wong understands the essence of ceviche and delivers a purist’s version that’s so simple and so fresh it honestly astounds your palate. He perfected his craft by making ceviche in his garage and now serves his specialties at his own restaurant. It’s a casual place with no menu– you eat what the chef decides to make that day. Basically there’s a hot version and a cold version. The restaurant is only open for lunch– by dinnertime the fish is no longer fresh enough for the chef’s high standards. All of this comes at a price of course. My only complaint was that “locals” seem to get a significantly better price than “visitors”. Harumph. The video below shows the entire process of Chef Wong making ceviche– from cutting the fish and octopus to plating the finished ceviche, it only takes about 5 minutes to achieve perfection.
More of the Best Ceviche in Lima
Cebichería La Mar – Av La Mar 770, Miraflores
Pescados Capitales – Av La Mar 1337, Miraflores
El Mercado – Hipólito Unanue 203, Miraflores
La Red – Av La Mar 391, Miraflores
La Pescadería – Av Grau 689, Barranco
Amor Amar – Garcia y Garcia 175, Barranco
Canta Rana – Genova 102, Barranco
Al Tok Pez – Av. Angamos 886, Surquillo
La Isla Escondida – Calle Marie Curie 108, Urb. La Calera de la Merced, Surquillo
Sonia – Jr Agustín Lozano 173, Chorrillos
El Verídico de Fidel – Jr Abtao 935, La Victoria
El Fayke Piurano – Jr de Huancavelica 165, Cercado de Lima
What is the name of the restaurant en that picture with a lot of frames??