Knowing how much the Missus loves Cebiche, it would have been a crime to leave Lima without another meal at a Cebicheria, restaurants specializing in seafood, especially, well what else, Cebiche! In doing research for out meal, I came across several great sources, one was of course, Peru Food, another being the restaurant reviews in klephblog, and finally, this excellent article written by Jonathan Yardley for the Washington Post. In the end, it came down to meals at either Gaston Acurio's Cebicheria, La Mar, or the highly regarded Pescados Capitales. Interestingly enough, the two restaurants are located blocks from each other, in what is slowly becoming the "Cebicheria district", Avenida La Mar. Another well regarded Cebicheria, La Red, is also located on the same street. Since we had already eaten at Astrid & Gaston the evening before, and since Pescados Capitales takes reservations, we decided on Pescados Capitales. It was a bit tough getting reservations, we could never find anyone who spoke English. Luckily, the very nice Concierge at the Marriott, made reservations for us. She did wonder how I knew about Pescados Capitales since it's according to her a "mostly a local place". Later on, when she saw me, she followed up, curious as to how we enjoyed our meal. So, after a busy morning, we flagged down a cab on Larcomar got a price (6 Soles), and headed off. The young man, who looked part Chinese, was amiable, and he humored the Missus who used her survival Spanish on him. When she mentioned taxi drivers in Lima, he made a clucking sound, and told the Missus, "taxi all loco, allll loco, in Lima!" Of course he was in the process of cutting several cars off, and making a left turn from the center lane without using the turn signal at the time.......
Avenida La Mar, is an interesting street, a mixture of auto repair shops, small industrial businesses, residential, and as mentioned before, several upscale Cebicherias. Cebicherias are strictly lunchtime eateries, so location is not such a big issue. Oh, one more thing, in Lima, lunch can mean any time between noon and 6pm! I had heard that Peruvians like to eat late, and we did notice how Astrid & Gaston got busier as the night wore on. In keeping with that, when we arrived for our 1230 reservation, the restaurant was almost totally empty:
The Missus looked at me and went, "humph, you needed reservations for this?" But by 1 pm, it looked like this:
Before we left....packed to the rafters!
Just after sitting we were brought an Amuse of uber-fresh Scallops with Bloody Mary mix:
I had read that the name of the restaurant was a play on words, "pescado" in Spanish means fish, you'd think the word "pescados" would probably be the plural of the former word. But it is not, "pescados" is translated as "sin". So using this play on words, many of the dishes at Pescados Capitales are named for the Seven Deadly Sins or the Seven Virtues. A double order of Paciencia (patience) anyone? On some days I could perhaps use a triple order........ In addition, the Owners of Pescados Capitales are of Peruvian-Chinese descent, and there are several dishes on the menu that reflect this.
The Aji was brought to the table, and was really good, and a bit different from other versions. It had a distinct smokey flavor to it, almost as if some chipotle was in the mixture. The cancha(fried corn kernals) were nice and salty, though very dry. It was best eaten mixed with the Leche de Tigre(Tigers Milk), the cebiche marinade.
Oh, and how good that Leche de Tigre was! We started with the classic Cebiche de Leguado (sole cebiche s/30 - approx $10).
Though the fish was good, not excellent, the Leche de Tigre was the best we've ever had, just the right amounts of sour-salty that is as bracing as the spray created by waves crashing on a rocky shoreline. Mildly pungent and sweet onions, and very spicy red peppers added heat, and the camote, with the slight hint of cinnamon in the background made this a very pleasing dish. To this day, when we think of Cebiche, this is the version that comes to mind.
We also ordered the Caridad ("Charity" s/ 30, approx $10 US), and interesting Eurasian mix of flavors.
Pacific Rockfish had been lightly studded with sesame seeds, lightly dusted with togarashi, and lightly seared, giving it good texture. The reduction which I read contained mirin, dashi, lime, among several other items was much better than I thought it would be. The combination of sweet-salty-sour was quite good. It was accompanied by a nice green salad, with a mild vinaigrette. The only item we didn't care for was the parmesian cheese, the sour cheese along with very rare fish was not a combination we enjoyed.
I also wanted to try a tiradito, so I selected the Tiradito Capital(s/ 31 - approx $10.50 US):
This was one beautiful dish, and the tuna was really nice and fresh. The rest of it was a mish-mash of confusing flavors...a very strong oyster sauce reduction, that tasted like it had dijon mustard in it on top, Leche de Tigre on the bottom...too many clashing flavors, you really couldn't taste anything. Maybe this was a little bit too over the top for us. I was wishing I could just have that maguro........ Still you can't blame them for trying.
The menu at Pescados Capitales is fairly large and diverse. Don't let our meal fool you, there are many cooked seafood dishes like "Lust" stuffed squid, grilled over coals, a very popular risotto we saw many people ordering, and a huge plate of Pulpo! I'm sure next time we're in Miraflores we'll be checking out Punta Azul, a Cebicheria we passed several times on a side street, and La Mar.....but I'd come back to Pescados Capitales in a minute!
Avenida La Mar 1337
Miraflores, Lima, Peru