Peru has quickly gained a reputation as the ultimate in gastronomy – so too has its flagship dish, ceviche. This mix of raw fish ‘cooked’ in citrus juice and traditionally dressed with chilli peppers is an addictive dish that combines hot and cold with dazzingly fresh flavors. Here’s where to try the best in Lima.
Mercado de Surquillo
Market, Restaurant, Seafood
If you’re on a budget and want to still try quality ceviche, go to the Mercado de Surquillo, where you’ll find the best amid the bustling market’s fish and meat section. Wander around the colorful stalls until you find the butcher’s – trust your nose, it’ll guide you. Enjoy eating ceviche on a little stool watching a women chop up chickens into bits that you didn’t know were edible. It’s the only ceviche joint where fish and meat hang from hooks like decorations – an unparalleled experience.
This restaurant is owned by a fisherman and his wife the cook, who prepares her husband’s fresh catch into delicious ceviche and seafood dishes. By all marks, it is truly a family-owned business. Aside from hanging fish, the decorations are as authentic as you can get with colorful nets, oars and other fishing gear lining the walls.
From the first storey of his house, Javier Wong rustles up some of the best ceviche in Lima. Located in the lesser known neighborhood of Santa Catalina, Chez Wong was a stop for Anthony Bourdain and should be for everyone coming to Lima.
On the up-scale side of cevicherias, you pay for what you get. Located in Miraflores, not too far from the boardwalk, and with beautiful outdoor seating, El Mercado is a must visit if you’re in town and want to enjoy a ceviche experience to remember.
A short walk from El Mercado and the Miraflores boardwalk, La Mar is another up-scale cevicheria. With a beautiful ambience and outdoor seating, as well as delicious ceviche and unique dishes, there’s nothing not to love about this delightful spot.
Located in Barranco, El Muelle offers ceviche with a laidback Californian vibe. With outdoor seating and decent prices, it’s a great spot for lunch if you find yourself in the area. At night, it tends to be a different scene altogether, with only a couple of people taking advantage of their two-for-25 soles happy hour.
Somewhat hidden down a side street near Barranco’s plaza, you’ll know you’ve found Canta Rana when you see groups of people drinking beer outside the restaurant waiting to be seated. Joing the queue – you’ll wait for about 20-30 minutes, but it’s worth it. Though the restaurant has an Argentine-themed interior, with flags and soccer jerseys everywhere, don’t let that trick you, as it is most definitely a Peruvian cevicheria.