While I was planning my visit to Peru in February 2015, I googled my way through restaurants where I could taste Lima’s best cebiche. I soon stumbled upon (who else could it be) Gastón Acurio’s restaurant ‘La Mar’ which opened its doors in 2005 in the neighborhood Miraflores. This restaurant specialized in cebiche’s is known to serve one of the best cebiches in town. I didn’t have to look further and immediately booked a table at La Mar. Boy I was excited! By then, I couldn’t have imagined I was about to taste the most savory cebiches in my entire life…
La Mar Cebicheria: a gastronomic indulgence
For those who aren’t familiar with the dish, cebiche is an appetizer of fresh fish marinated in lemon juice, traditionally served with sweet potato, cassava and corn on the side. Cebiche is one of the symbols of the Peruvian identity and is by far my favorite dish on the planet! There are hundreds of recipes of this dish prepared all over Peru. However, you can also find cebiche in other South-American countries containing other local ingredients. But let’s be honest, the best and most authentic cebiche is prepared in Peru!
Chef Andrés Rodriquez
I had the honor of meeting the charming chef de cuisine Andrés Rodriquez who has worked for 12 years as a chef, of which 5 years in Spain and 7 years in Peru. He’s been appointed the managing chef of La Mar by Gastón Acurio who owns 40 Peruvian restaurants distributed among 12 countries in the world, disseminating the finest of Peruvian cuisine. What makes la Mar’s cebiche’s so different from other cebicherias, I ask Andrés? He mentions the pure freshness of the fish. Also, the quality of the products such as onions, peppers and sweet potatoes: ‘Each single ingredient has been selected with care. Also, we prepare an outstanding ‘leche de tigre’ (tiger milk) which forms the base of the cebiche. Complementary to this all, the staff makes sure to keep the temperature of the cutlery and dishes on which the cebiche is served, to be low. ‘This adds to the ultimate taste of the cebiche and results in offering the best quality to our customers.’
Andrés tells us about the quality of the fish he uses to prepare cebiche. ‘The best quality fish is bought directly from local fisherman who receive a fair price for their fish. Moreover, the fishermen are taught to leave the smaller fish in the sea. They are quite selective when fishing for certain species. At La Mar we care for sustainable fishing and make no use of intermediaries. Our staff carefully selects the fishermen who to work with. we train them in how to deal with the fishing seasons and pay the fishermen a fair price. This system has cost us 10 years to build up.’
I was also surprised to hear that La Mar cooperates with a biologist who advices what fish to catch in which season. When looking at La Mar’s menu, I notice they don’t offer a fixed menu of fish but rather the catch of the day and seasonal products.
I find it amazing to hear from Andrés that the restaurant wants to be an example to other restaurant holders. ‘La Mar doesn’t want to make a secret of its recipes and the way we operate. We want to convey our message and vision to the rest of Peru and teach other people to work the same way La Mar does: building up a social brand with care for sustainability. By organizing workshops for colleague chefs, but also for foreign cooks, individuals, foodies and businesses, La Mar welcomes everyone to learn how to make cebiche. ‘We want to deliver a full experience of not only eating a great cebiche, but also to enjoy the great atmosphere at la Mar and learn about the products used in the dishes prepared.’
Cebiche tasting at La Mar
My mother, being a real foodie just like her daughter, accompanied me on a lunch at La Mar. We started off with a delicious Pisco Sour cocktail accompanied by very tasty and crispy banana and sweet potatoe chips. There were three different dippings prepared with local peppers such as aji amarillo, rocoto and ocopa put on our table.
We were suggested by our charming waiter Christopher to order a cebiche platter in order to try out different flavors. The platter contained three different varieties of cebiche. The dazzling array of flavors of the different cebiches made us literally feel in heaven. Never before I tasted such fresh fish with the perfect texture and combined with the purest ingredients. We savored every single ingredient, from the onions and sweet potatoes till fresh fish and seafood such as shrimp, scallops and octopus. The final bowl contained a fusion Japanese cebiche called Nikei cebiche. The fresh tuna, avocado, cilantro and Japanese cucumber formed and exquisite combination!
Apart from the cebiche platter, we had a very nice tasting of ‘causas’. Causa is a typical Peruvian appetizer which contains mashed potato with aji amarillo sauce and different toppings. Our causas were prepared with chicken, tomato, crab, tuna and other fish. The cause platter was simply marvelous and well presented!
Eating at La Mar was an extraordinary experience that I can truly recommend everyone who loves to eat fish and seafood. I personally had the best cebiche ever at this restaurant and the great service of the personnel and beautiful interior made our experience to be fabulous and unforgetable!
Visit La Mar’s website for more information about their mission and their collaboration with farmers which is very interesting!
La Mar Cebicheria
Av Mariscal La Mar 770 Miraflores 15074
Phone: +51 1 4213365