Looking for the best ceviche spots in Lima, Peru? We’ve compiled the best places to taste this one crave-worthy dish: ceviche, or “cebiche” as it is spelled in Peru is not only Peru’s national dish – it’s an art form that has evolved from centuries of mixing local indigenous ingredients, traditional Asian cooking styles and utilizing Peru’s vast Pacific Coastline to create a dish that is well loved by both Peruvians and visitors alike. The dish has become a source of pride and an object of devotion for Peruvians, especially in the country’s capital, Lima, where hundreds of restaurants from casual neighborhood spots to Michelin star restaurants have ceviche on the menu.
The dish is seen in the culinary community worldwide as one of the dishes that has brought Peru to the top of South America’s gastronomic scene – gaining popularity in world-renowned kitchens. In a classic Peruvian ceviche, raw fish cooked for hours in “leche de tigre” or lime juice, salt, chile, and onion are often served with boiled sweet potato, thinly sliced red onion, choclo or Andean corn, lettuce and canchita (corn nuts) – but overtime, chef’s have begun to invent new and innovative ways to prepare ceviche.
Whether you’re looking for a fresh take on ceviche from some of the most talented chefs in the region or aiming to taste the well-loved classic version – savoring a ceviche is a must on your next trip to Peru. If you ask any Limeño, they’ll have a favorite ceviche spot in the city – which makes gathering a list of the best a nearly impossible task – you could have ceviche from a different restaurant every day of the year with how many options you have available for the dish in Lima alone. We put together this list of 7 spots for ceviche to experience the delicious dish for yourself on your next trip to Peru – buen provecho!
If you know about Peruvian cuisine from one dish, its ceviche – and few places are more notable in Peru’s capital city for ceviche than La Mar. Cebicherías are a staple in Peruvian gastronomic culture and have become hotspots for those looking for a delicious seafood meal, especially in Lima. At La Mar, Chef Gastón Acurio reinvents the idea of the traditional cebichería, at one of Lima’s most popular lunch spots. Their diverse menu offers a kaleidoscopic selection of delectable seafood dishes and various types of ceviches – in fact, if you want to try them all you can order their degustación de cebiche, or ceviche tasting that allows you to try samples of various iterations of the classic Peruvian ceviche.
While you’re also ordering ceviche, don’t miss the chalana de causas, various mashed-potato appetizers with seafood fillings or the picante de mariscos, sautéed seafood in a spicy cream sauce. The servings tend to be large, so you may want to share – unless you’re coming in hungry and ready to eat your way through one of Lima’s most celebrated ceviche spots! La Mar does not take reservations, so arriving before 1 P.M. is recommended to avoid a long wait for a table.
2. Chez Wong
Considered by ceviche critics as one of the best ceviche chefs in the country, Chef Javier Wong is a master at preparing ceviche. Though Chez Wong is far from fancy, with just eight tables, no menu, no substitutes or alterations, and no advertising – the restaurant boasts a waitlist requiring reservations months in advance. The secret, Chef Wong says is the approach “la perfección de lo simple,” with just 4-5 ingredients in his ceviche, mostly fish, lime, and salt.
Chez Wong has been visited by politicians, mayors, presidents, and celebrities from all over the world – proof that with the right ingredients and techniques, a classic recipe from a simple place can be as powerful and tasty as food from the world’s most expensive restaurants. Not convinced, yet? Chef Wong’s ceviche was actually even deemed “The Tastiest Item On Earth ” in 2014 by The Guardian’s Chowtzer Fast Feast Awards.
Peruvian food is as varied as the country’s terrain both in biodiversity and in cultural influences – with European, African, and Asian migrants, meaning that the food encompasses a large range of flavors. In recent years, the food from one fusion of cultures, in particular, has been grabbing headlines in the culinary world: Japanese-Peruvian fusion or Nikkei – a style of cooking using Peruvian ingredients, molded by Japanese techniques. Multiple chefs cite the modern preparation for ceviche as particularly indicative of the Nikkei style. Before the Japanese influence in Peru, chefs would marinate fish (traditionally, corvina) for hours, often overnight. It was Japanese immigrants who taught Peruvians to treat raw fish more simply, and merely “cook it with lemon” seconds before plating.
One of Lima’s most notable restaurants for sampling Nikkei is Shizen Restaurante, born in 2018 under the command of three young chefs, Mayra Flores, Coco Tomita, and Renato Kanashiro. The trio doesn’t shy away from innovation, especially with their daring chirashi ceviche, which breaks any established code for either dish. The chefs top a base of sushi rice with sashimi, a mix of octopus, tuna, salmon, and market fish, then layer on chalaca, a Peruvian blend of onion, cilantro, and chile, smoked yellow chile leche de tigre, and sweet potato tempura. It’s a flavorful masterpiece that can’t be missed on your trip to Lima.
In the last few years, Mayta has landed spots on numerous Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants lists, due to chef Jaime Pesaque’s gradual shift from casual eateries to fine dining, refining dishes like ceviche to incorporate even more diverse flavors and ingredients from the region – like his famous cebiche amazónico, which showcases a unique combination of flavors: seasonal white fish, Amazonian ginger, and charapita, a small, powerful chile from the Amazon, in place of the usual limo chile, caramelized sweet plantains instead of sweet potato, and thin plantain chips for the crunch factor.
The restaurant’s name translates to “noble land” in Aymara, a native Andean language, and its contemporary cuisine takes inspiration from Peruvian heritage and traditional flavors. Beyond its incredible, award-winning ceviche, many things on Jaime Pesaque’s menu are worth trying, such as his star dish — duck rice with smoked magret, fried duck egg, and foie gras — all paired with something delicious from the incredible pisco bar. This is the place to also try a chilcano, a Peruvian cocktail made out of pisco, ginger ale, and lemon. To craft a special chilcano, choose from more than 120 seasonal piscos macerated with a rotating list of fruits, herbs, vegetables, dried fruits, and nuts.
5. El Mercado
Seafood lovers are no strangers to this incredible seafood destination – El Mercado. Peru’s finest seafood is presented with a contemporary flourish at El Mercado, one of three restaurants in Lima led by Rafael Osterlin, (with Latin America’s 50 Best regular Rafael and Felix Brasserie also in the city. El Mercado has a chic, laid-back approach with the indoor courtyard dining room, where the city’s coolest – and richest – residents flock every day for lunch. The myriad ceviches are up there with the best in the city and the rest of the sustainably sourced fish dishes, whether it be scallops served three ways or octopus, are all worth giving a try. Get there early to avoid the lines and grab a seat at the cocktail bar for a pisco punch.
This old tavern in the bohemian neighborhood of Barranco, owned by chef José del Castillo, offers traditional and homey recipes from Lima. Isolina’s star, the ceviche, is a classic Peruvian ceviche made with the freshest catch, boiled sweet potato, red onion, canchita, choclo, and a perfectly battered fried octopus that adds a touch of elegance to this dish. For those looking to try ceviche which feels like the home-style cooking of a Peruvian grandmother with the accolades and recognition of the culinary community – try it here.
Beyond ceviche, one of the standout parts of Isonlina is that the dishes pay homage to the cooking styles of Spanish and African slaves and their dishes, called criollo. Slow-cooked meats, stews, and hearty flavors that date back hundreds of years can be found in the dishes here – a tribute to the diversity of the city of Lima and its cultural influences.
Lima is known by many as the culinary capital of South America – whether you’re flying in here before departing for the Sacred Valley, or you’re coming to soak up all of the incredible cultures, eclectic neighborhoods and wide array of urban activities or nature-focused day trips the city has to offer – one thing is for sure: you can’t miss out on the food, especially ceviche which has become the well-deserved superstar of Peruvian cuisine. Planning a foodie-cation to try out the restaurants in Lima? Let us help you make the reservations. Contact us at Kuoda today for our expert advice on the best way to eat your way through the foodie city of Lima.