Summertime is all about ceviche.
It’s the perfect dish for a hot summer lunchtime. It’s cool, refreshing and absolutely delicious and makes a way better alternative to a salad.
Raw white fish is marinated briefly in limón juice and chilli (level of spice to taste), topped with raw red onion and traditionally served alongside lettuce, boiled sweet potato, corn and canchita (crispy, popped corn). I love it, but I’m a bit of a wimp with chilli, so I often ask to have it on the side!
You can find ceviche all over Lima (and Peru) often with regional variations and different ingredients, but sometimes it’ll be really expensive. In some of the popular spots, you’ll be looking at prices well over s/50 and if you head to chez Wong, you’ll be into the s/100s. Yes, I imagine this ceviche is wonderful, but you can get fantastic ceviche for far less money, and I would never recommend paying so much for it. I’m going to share 5 spots with you that I really enjoy visiting for ceviche and that don’t go over the s/40 mark! I’ve visited each of these restaurants multiple times, so I know the quality is always good, plus each of them are from a different district except one, which you can find all over the place!
Barra Chalaca has to be my favourite one of the five. The ceviche here is absolutely delicious and it’s under s/30! It’s not a huge restaurant but it does have both indoor and outdoor seating. However, if you don’t get here close to opening time or perhaps have a large party, it might be a while before you’re able to be seated. The design and decor here is very clean, colourful and modern, but done completely in the style of traditional beach side ceviche joint. The ceviche here is dressed to the nines with some kind of seaweed or algae on the top and the fish is carefully piled onto a bed of lettuce leaves. You’ll get your corn too, but this time it comes on the cob. I highly, highly recommend a visit here!
Barra Chalaca makes a really refreshing lemongrass based drink called Cura Todo (cures everything!) that makes a fab accompaniment to the ceviche on a hot day.
Avenida Camino Real 1239, San Isidro
La Leche is a hidden away location opposite the American Embassy in Surco (they also have two other branches) and serves up a yummy ceviche – and fried rice too! It’s a tricky spot to find, but once you do you’ll be glad you did! The ceviche itself is served in the simple traditional style – with the regular garnish of a little piece of sweet potato, some corn and a lettuce leaf – but they offer up very generous portions of fish. They’ll also give you a pot of canchita on the side to mix into the juice left at the bottom. Or, if you’re like me, you’ll have eaten all the crisp, salted corn before the ceviche has even arrived and you’ll have to ask for more!
Alongside the arroz chaufa (fried rice), the fried calamari sandwich is excellent too – if you fancy more!
Calle los Tulipanes 150 – Segundo Piso, Santiago de Surco
Tanta is honestly one of my favourite casual restaurants in Lima. It’s affordable, serves up some cracking Peruvian dishes and the quality and service is always on point. Their tacu tacu is wonderful, their aji de gallina is super creamy and their ceviche is great quality. Their basic one is on the menu throughout the whole year, but they often have different ones on the specials menu. While I normally order the basic version, I really love the one that’s topped with fried calamari. Tanta restaurants can be found all over Lima – there’s even one in the airport now – so you’ll be able to find one wherever you’re staying. Definitely get a causa to go alongside your ceviche – Tanta’s is one of the best I’ve ever eaten.
You can find out more about Tanta in this post.
Locations can be found here (under ‘locales’) although my favourite one is in Chacarilla, Surco
This traditional, and perpetually busy, spot in Barranco serves up a smashing ceviche. If you’re not a fan of chilli, definitely ask for it on the side here, as their ceviche is a little spicy. Just as in La Leche above, theirs is served in a very traditional style and the portions of fish are very generous for only around s/35. They also have a ceviche menu, so if you want to try a different style to the ‘fish of the day’ then you have a wide variety of ingredients to choose from. I’ve never tried any of the other styles here, but you could have a number of different fish, octopus or even shrimp.
They’re also famous for their pejerrey (small white fish) sandwich so give that a try if you want a little something extra!
Sorry there’s no photo of it. The only one I have is from a few years ago and is super blurry!
Genova 101, Barranco
This seafood joint specialises in a lots of little small bites; think a kind of seafood tapas. Mini sandwiches, individual mussels and scallops will start you off, but if you need something slightly bigger then their ceviche will definitely do the trick. You not only get a nice pile of ceviche, but also a huge portion of sweet potato on the side and much more corn than I’ve seen served anywhere! They also have a great ceviche that comes topped with fried calamari that I would also definitely recommend. There’s just something about the contrast of the soft, fresh fish against the hot, crispy calamari that really does it for me! This place is great for sharing, so bring your friends and order a few plates and get stuck in!
You can find out more about La Preferida in this post.
Calle Arias Aragues 698, Urb. San Antonio, Miraflores (there’s also a restaurant in Surco)
This seafood/Nikkei restaurant takes up a tiny little space behind the Plaza Vea supermarket in the neighbourhood of Valle Hermoso. It’s not their solo ceviche I’m going to share, but instead one of their combos. They do a double plate (for only s/28) which gives you half a ceviche and half a portion of fried calamari with yucca. While the ceviche is perfectly good, it’s the calamari that really elevates this dish. The calamari is perfectly cooked and isn’t in the slightest bit greasy, and the yucca is super fluffy inside and perfectly crisp on the outside. All in all a fabulous and filling meal for the price.
Los Jazmines 137, Santiago de Surco
If you come to Lima, don’t feel like you need to spend a lot to try good ceviche. After all, there are so many options out there that are super delicious and super affordable. I hope these five places have given you a delicious jumping off point for your visit to this foodie city!