Sundays are days for relaxing.
Days for Skype-ing. For eating. For drinking. And then later, for lying in bed with Netflix.
I love Sundays. And I love Tanta.
Tanta is one of Gaston Acurio’s restaurant chains, with a few branches within Lima and Peru, and then the rest dotted across the globe, even as far afield as Barcelona. For those who may not know, Gaston is an ambassador for Peruvian cuisine and has helped to promote it, alongside other chefs, all over the world. He has been a big influence in Peru gaining worldwide accolades for their incredible food scene, both in the restaurants and the raw ingredients that are produced here.
Tanta serves typical, traditional Peruvian (or Peruvian fusion) cuisine, but often in a modern way. However, just because Tanta was started by Gaston and is very fresh and modern, does not mean the restaurant is overly fancy or expensive. The dishes here are not tiny morsels in the middle of large plates, which is obviously perfect for me, and the prices are so reasonable (main dishes are between S/25 and S/50).
Due to the fact that it is summer in Lima, restaurants are normally fairly empty as everyone heads to the nearby beaches. However, arriving at 2pm, we found Tanta its normal, popular, busy self.
There is so much choice on the menu and I always find it so hard to choose! Drinks are easy though. The juice is excellent here; so fresh and flavourful.
This one is mango but there are plenty of other fruits to pick from, including strawberry and pineapple.
// TO START //
Pastel de Choclo; a sweet, warm sweetcorn cake stuffed with a meat filling.
Incredible. One of the best here in Lima, but I love to eat pastel de choclo just about everywhere I go!
Causa (avocado, tomato, egg & chicken mayonnaise layered between mashed yellow potato flavoured slightly with yellow chilli) served with salsa criolla.
This is hand-on-heart the best causa I have ever eaten in Peru. The mixture of flavours and textures is just delightful.
// MAINS //
Pobrecito; a minature version of Tacu-Tacu a lo Pobre.
Tacu-tacu is made primarily from rice and beans fried together with onions, but other ingredients are added depending on the dish. On top of the tacu-tacu is a sauce to keep everything deliciously moist (I hate that word); a sweet caramel-y fried platano (from the banana family); lomo fino (fillet steak); a fried egg (in this case I believe quails eggs, because they are so small!), and a garnish.
I loved this tiny bitesize version, because although Tacu-Tacu a lo Pobre is one of my favourite dishes, it can be a lot to handle! This was just a perfect size and beautifully presented. Just look at the yellow of that egg yolk.
Tapadito de Chanchito Capon (Aeropuerto); chinese style rice topped with two kinds of pork (one breaded in panko, and the other roasted and covered in a sweet chinese sauce) and a fried egg.
This is a big dish, but it is packed with flavour and it literally never ends. Every time you have to ask ‘Where is the bottom of the bowl?’. There is always some to take home, so Sunday tea-time is good too!
Some other favourites here include; Lomo Saltado, a stir fry of lomo fino, tomato, chilli and onion, served with rice and chips; Ceviche, the classic Peruvian dish of fish cooked in lime juice, with chilli, corn and sweet potato; Salchipapas, which is fried sausage and chips served with a fried egg; Pollito Nikkei, a dish of Japanese chicken with rice and vegetables; and Anticuchon, a skewer of chicken, peppers and onions served with golden potatoes and corn.
I must also recommend the salads here, and the empanadas.
// DESSERT //
Dessert here is beautiful.
The choices for dessert comes around to you on a trolley (Is it on the trolley?) or you can peruse the patisserie style desserts in their glass fronted case.
I’ve mentioned before that the slice of Pie de Limon is excellent, but so is the Lucuma & Brownie dessert. I believe the picarones are ridiculously popular here too!
Another option for your ‘postre’ is a popular Peruvian dessert presented in a tall glass. The Suspiro de Limeña is excellent, but they are all really beautiful and so you must try them one by one! As will I!
Tanta also serves whole cakes and tarts, loaf cakes and Gaston’s wife’s chocolate brand Melate.
These chocolates are both irresistible to look at and divine to eat.
*Apologies, the lighting was not great in this cabinet!!*
I once had a small easter egg from Melate, and it was so good that I could now happily eat one of these chocolates everyday for the rest of my life.
The one other thing I love about Tanta, and actually all of Gaston’s restaurants, is that there is bicycle parking. This may not be a big deal to anyone in the UK or US perhaps, but for me here in Peru, bike parking is rarely found outside of Miraflores, so I have to say ‘thank you’ Gaston!
On a Sunday however, I don’t think I could manage to cycle anywhere after lunch.
Ah, I love Sundays.
Location // Tanta has many different branches. See the website for more details on where to find one near to you.