If there’s one signature dish you absolutely must try in Lima, Peru, it’s ceviche. Essentially raw fish, “cooked” in acidic juices such as lemon or lime, this tasty treat is usually mixed with various peppers, onions, salt and coriander. The extra ingredients usually vary from chef to chef, but these main ingredients are most likely included.
The origin of this famous dish is not fully known. Similar variations have been found to date back more than 2,000 years. Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, the fish was prepared with local fermented juices or salt and an aji mixture (typically a combination of onions, tomatoes, cilantro and hot peppers). After the Spanish came calling, lemons and limes they brought over replaced these methods to provide us with the modern day version of ceviche we enjoy today.
Now, every chef prepares their ceviche their own special way, so you’ll find it a difficult, but welcome challenge to eat your way through the options in Lima as you search for your own personal favorites. We know it can be overwhelming, so we took it upon ourselves to get out there and take on all that easy, tasty research. There were many standouts, but we’ve picked out three eateries that we feel will hit the perfect spot on your trip to Lima.
Sonia has an almost cult like following. Started by a fisherman and his family over thirty years ago, this restaurant operates mush in the same way today that it has when it opened its doors in the 80’s with only four tables. The place has grown as the popularity with the locals increased.
Today, you will still see the same family fishing for your fresh menu items and preparing them with flawless skill. It’s a perfect place to go enjoy some fresh ceviche and rich, local history.
La Canta Rana
If you’re the type that likes lots of options, you’ll need to head to La Canta Rana. Here, you’ll be treated to almost twenty different variations of this favorite dish. Located in the bohemian Barranco neighborhood, the ambiance of the neighborhood matches wonderfully with interior as well, creating a really fun and local dining experience. Almost every inch of the place (including the ceiling) is filled with colorful memorabilia. The owner is famously friendly and can usually be found chatting with guests, telling stories and offering recommendations. You’re sure to have a great experience here.
Gaston Acurio’s La Mar – Astrid & Gastón & Café del Museo
You can’t really talk about Lima food without giving a hat tip to chef Gastón Acurio. This world famous chef has opened restaurants around the globe that bring the flavors of Peruvian cooking to three different continents. His restaurant options are plenty in Lima as well, providing several choices to taste the work of this culinary genius. Try out La Mar, Astrid & Gastón and Café del Museo for top ceviche dishes.
Think you can beat our list? Let us know in the comments where you’ve had the best ceviche in Lima!
Visit Lima’s local markets and receive a ceviche master class at one of Lima’s best local seafood restaurants with Class Adventure Travel’s culinary tours. And our Travel Specialists are of course always happy to help you with any restaurant reservations.
Sonia Restaurant – Sonia Restaurant
La Canta Rana – Eatori