The food of Peru is a reflection of the country’s history, drawing influence from both the cuisine of the indigenous people who first lived there and those who have gone to live there since. Colourful, sometimes spicy, sometimes fresh, famous dishes such as ceviche and empanadas are now eaten around the world. Here in Barcelona, these are some of the best restaurants to try for authentic, flavoursome Peruvian food.
El Señorió de Perú
Restaurant, Peruvian, $$$
This family-run business takes great pride in offering authentic, homemade Peruvian food that reflects the diversity of influences which give Peruvian cuisine its originality, from Spanish to Japanese, Italian to African. Dishes are made fresh on site every day and you’ll find fresh seafood dishes such as classic ceviche, as well as heartier meat dishes from the centre of Peru. The dinning room is simple and modern yet welcoming and soon fills up at lunchtimes when locals come for their fill.
There are two reasons Pakta isn’t your ordinary Peruvian restaurant. For one, it specialises in nikkei cuisine: a fusion of Peruvian and Japanese cuisine which has developed since the late 19th century when Japanese migrants arrived in Peru. Nikkei cuisine blends the culinary knowhow of the great sushi masters with with the exotic flavours of Peru. The other reason Pakta is not your ordinary Peruvian restaurant is because it’s a Michelin-starred restaurant led by Albert Adrià, brother of Ferran Adrià and fellow chef at elBulli, five times voted the best restaurant in the world.
Totora stands out in Barcelona for offering a modern, more sophisticated face of Peruvian dining in the city. The dining area is stylish and inviting, with eye-catching furniture and a large garden wall out back creating the impression that you are stepping in to a rainforest. Fish and seafood dominate the menu, with various ceviches, causas and even makis and nigiris, but there’s also classic lomo saltado and anticucho – marinated beef’s heart cooked on the grill. You’ll be taken aback by the brightness of the dishes as they arrive at your table, and they’re just as exciting when they get to your mouth.
Don’t be fooled by the name of this traditional restaurant located on Carrer Mèxic: it’s very much the cuisine of Peru that awaits diners when they step through the door. The dining room is welcoming and colourful, with red-brick walls, wood furniture and colourful Peruvian posters transporting you to Lima or Cusco. Locals love to come for the lunch menu, which changes nearly daily and features traditional Peruvian dishes such as ceviche, lomo saltado and aeropuerto or ‘airport’, a Chinese–Peruvian fusion dish invented in the 90s which can be best described as Peruvian stir-fried noodles. Check their Facebook page for events, as the restaurant hosts live Peruvian music performances almost weekly.
A casual, all-day eatery serving traditional Peruvian food, Restaurant Peruà Andino offers a wide range of classic starters such as tamales and causa limeña – a mashed potato salad – as well as mixed platters with meat and chips, ceviche and seafood dishes. There’s a whole selection of dishes cooked over an open-fire charcoal grill which gives them a rich, smoky flavour. Keeping space for dessert is advisable, as Restaurant Peruà Andino also specialises in homemade Peruvian desserts and pastries, which can be bought to take away with you, too.
Another refreshingly modern Peruvian restaurant, the Market Perú is a mid-range restaurant offering elegantly presented Peruvian dishes made to authentic recipes. Playing with different influences – nikkei, Amazonian, Creole, Chifa – the menu offers both everyday street-food dishes and more elaborate dishes which may take hours to prepare. Those who don’t know where to start will enjoy the tasting menu, which comes with two starters and two main courses, as well as dessert and a drink. Fortunately, there’s also a rather tantalising selection of cocktails on the menu to pair with the food, including a number of exotic variations on the standard Pisco sour.
Located in Barcelona’s Eixample district, Restaurante Mochica is a casual, family-run restaurant and bar which likes to make guests feel at home. Owner and chef Jhoel Morgan takes great pride in his seafood and fish dishes, which are the house speciality, as well as in the Pisco sours which are very much the ideal accompaniment to your meal. For dessert, be sure to try the mazamorra morada, a Peruvian purple-corn pudding spiced with cinnamon and cloves.