Unaware of its ownership, only the fact that nearly anyone you talk to in Lima will say La Mar is *the* place for Ceviche, it was just after flying the skies with Condor Xtreme that two guests bellied up to the bar of another Gaston Acurio concept, every seat in the spacious no-reservations Restaurant filled and the meal that followed proving why with good food and better service.
Apparently now one of seven similarly named spaces stretching all the way up the coast to San Francisco but also to Miami and Brazil, the idea of fresh Seafood presented in a variety of ways an easy sell in any coastal location and all the more-so in Cities where business lunches necessitate lighter fare and expeditious service, those visiting La Mar will quickly note a lively atmosphere featuring several suits though based on both tone and volume one wonders how much of the conversation actually involves mergers or acquisitions.
Nowhere featuring the name of Acurio or Astrid Gutsche, only the Restaurant’s business card indicating the couple’s involvement, it was while perusing bilingual menus and watching staff at work that free Bottled Water was poured prior to the arrival of Cocktails, the traditional Sour topped in lighter than usual Egg Foam while Pineapple Pisco Punch was a great thirst quencher following several hours in the sun.
Serving complimentary housemade Chips, crispy Corn and three Sauces to those waiting, a nice touch that compels the hand even though plates arrive quickly, those looking to start things off on a good foot are encouraged to begin with Shellfish Empanadas brightened up by a twist of Citrus in addition to one of several styles of raw Fish, a “Chef’s combination” pushed by Staff undoubtedly the most popular though the Mixto Especial seems a better value given its variety and larger bowl that offers a bold blend of heat and acidity.
Not particularly in the mood for a whole fish, though specimens on ice and those being prepared nearby did look great, it was instead alongside Garlicky Spaghetti and Clams that El Bonito Burger arrived, the 26 Sol a bit steep for what amounts to perhaps five bites but the flavor and texture both remarkable while included Sweet Potato Fries were also quite good.
Offering locally roasted Coffee to finish, any opportunity to enjoy a cup in Peru nearly as worthwhile as a chance to order one of Pastry Chef Gutsche’s Desserts, those looking for esoteric ideas like those at Astrid & Gaston or Chicha may be disappointed but for those interested in well-made classics it would be hard to suggest a Lighter Picarone than those at La Mar while Rice Pudding decorated in textural elements and awash with Caramel is like a multiple choice test question with no wrong answers.
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