Seven Restaurants in Lima

Lima is a seventh heaven for food so perhaps that’s why there are so many restaurants with the number seven (siete in Spanish). Here is a list of the ones people ask me about:

Siete, Jirón Domeyer 260, Barranco (around corner from Isolina): high end restaurant.

Lima 27 and 27 Tapas, Calle Santa Luisa 295, San Isidro: restaurant and a tapas restaurant that is connected to the Lima 27 restaurant. (I didn’t like this place — the food was just odd in a not tasty way).

La 73, Av. el Sol 175, Barranco

Siete Sopas, Av. Arequipa 2394, Lince and second location at Av. Angamos 609, Surquillo: This is the 24-7 soup (they have nine soups — soup of the day and the two house soups — in the photo at top is the “sopa criolla” which has beef,noodles, and milk) restaurant chain by La Lucha Sangucheria. The location on Arequipa is the first. Their bread is kind of magical.

Croakers, Grunts, Small Fry, and Sea Bass – Fish in Lima

Lima is a city of fish eaters. The advice is to eat the freshest fish of the day. But, what is it? Usually, the waiter explains that it is a local white-fleshed fish. Here is list of some of the fish I’ve seen served in restaurants here in Lima. I’m not a fisher so most of my research is from the worldwide web and my local subject matter experts (who are better than Google!). Also useful sites were the FAO and this blog.

Corvina = croaker, grunt, or drum: used for ceviche and almost everything else.
Mero = grouper: also commonly used here.
Chita = grunt: usually deep fried whole so you can eat it with your hands.
Lenguado = Dover sole: delicate fish often used to stuff with crab meat.
Cabrilla = rock sea bass: like corvina
Ojo de uva (grape eye) = sea bass: used like corvina
Charela/Cherela = weakfish (probably in the croaker family): also used like corvina
Espada (and espadilla) = swordfish (and scabbard fish): firm dry fish
Pejerrey = smelt/silverfish: Young fish or “small fry” hence why it’s usually fried.
Lisa (mujol) = mullet: But not “business in the front; party in the back” kind of mullet.
Rodaballo = turbot: A flatfish.
Trucha – trout (This name is used for smaller river fish and for the larger, orange-fleshed salmon-like fish). Keep in mind that salmon in Lima is imported from Chile.
Atun – tuna
Most of these fish names change depending on where you are fishing, and on fashion. For example, corvina sounds better than croaker. I imagine that many restaurants in English speaking places will start using corvina rather than croaker on their menus.

The Rise of Artisanal Bread in Lima

This year I see the rise of artisanal bread. Last year, I predicted the popularity of poke. I predict next year is the bubbling of kombucha and homebrews: from kombucha, beer, wine, and other concoctions.

In one year, the trend went from zero-carbohydrate to full-on gluten party. For many years, San Francisco has been famous for its sourdough bread. But sourdough or “masa madre” (mother yeast dough) is one of the most natural ancient forms of raising agent. It occurs naturally if you leave some flour out in the free air. The sourdough made in Lima is less sour than the bread in San Francisco.

There are several artisanal bakers in Lima who give lessons on making bread and sourdough starter. They even give classes in English. Amelia of Buda Bakes (uses sourdough for pizza bases, pretzels, and babka to name a few) and Francisco of Masas Salvaje (they have nine varieties including Andean grains, kiwichi — don’t know what it is either!, parmesan, chocolate, and turmeric) are two that I can think of off hand. The extremely stretchy artisanal bread at El Pan de la Chola is one of the reasons that El Pan de la Chola continues to maintain its place at the top of my list of best restaurants in Lima.

Lima’s bread artisans make good use of Instagram and Facebook to share visuals of their bread as smello-vision and toucho-vision has not been invented yet. One of the delights of bread is that warm bready aroma and squidgy stretchy texture.