Restaurant review: Caplina

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Settled into their new Miraflores location, Caplina sticks with their flagship dishes and adds a few surprises. Suspiro de aji amarillo, anyone?

My last visit to Caplina took place in April 2013. Since then, Caplina has relocated from their old Miraflores location on Av. Mendiburu to their new locale situated on Av. Santa Cruz 900, just a quick walk away from í“valo Gutiérrez. This new location is much more central and closer to more foot traffic, tourists and offices. We visited on a Monday, which is typically a slower day for restaurants, but they had a steady flow of diners on this particular weekday.

I found this new location to be more aesthetically pleasing than their old location on Mendiburu. The restaurant has quite a bit more natural lighting and the interior decor comfortable. The premises of Caplina are spacious. There is space for at least 200 people and several areas in which to dine (an outdoor covered patio, lounge, bar area, large dining room, as well as a private room). There are several tastefully placed flat screen TVs located throughout the premises, and a large wine cava as well.

caplina
(Photo: Carlos del Aguila/Living in Peru)

We began with two cocktails to quench our thirst. First to the table was the Pisco Spritz, a refreshing combination of Campari, pisco macerated with lima fruit, orange bitters, a splash of orange juice and ginger ale. Personally, I loved the citrus and bitter combination. Not everyone at the table agreed with me. Campari is naturally bitter, though as the ice slightly melted we found this flavor to mellow.

Our second cocktail was a classic Pisco Sour using Intipalka pisco (the house pisco at Caplina). The pisco sour was very creamy, but was lacking a bit of “oomph.” We felt it would have benefited from a bit more acid from lime juice for our liking.

We began our dining experience with four starters. The Choncholi de Pulpo (S/ 44.90) is one of Caplina’s flagship dishes. It has been on their menu since 2001 and even won a prize at the famous Mistura food fair in 2010. The octopus was quite tender, as it had been boiled and then lightly grilled with a robust aji panco sauce along with garlic, and other herbs. The generous slices of octopus were served with baby potatoes and choclo (corn). The dipping sauce that accompanied this was quite spicy, but we felt the octopus was more than adequately seasoned and did not require the sauce.

ceviche
Fresh ceviche mixto (Photo: Carlos del Aguila/Living in Peru)

The Anticuchos de Lomo (S/ 35.90) were decent, but nothing spectacular. The beef was good quality, but definitely could have been juicier. Ours were cooked medium, but we would have preferred them more on the rare to medium-rare side. Baby potatoes and corn accompanied these plump beef skewers.

The Ceviche mixto (S/ 34.90) was excellent quality and prepared with the “catch of the day” which was Fortuno along with calamari, octopus, shrimp, caracoles and small crab claws. A sparse amount of onions and a generous portion of sweet potato and some choclo accompanied this ceviche. This is a perfect dish for the balmy summer weather.

jalea
Jalea mixto: breaded seafood and yuca (Photo: Carlos del Aguila/Living in Peru)

We moved on to the crunchy Jalea mixto (S/ 44.90). Pieces of the Fortuno fish, calamari, octopus and yuca were breaded, deep fried and topped off with thin slices of red onion, tomato, peppers and a final touch of several large slices of fried plantains on top. This dish is served with both a golf and a tartar sauce. I found this dish to be quite good and not greasy. Many times jalea can be too greasy because of the amount of oil used, however Caplina prepares it in a special wok that is primarily used for deep frying.

We shared two different main dishes at Caplina. First up was the Lomo saltado (S/ 44.90) which is another “flagship” dish of Caplina and rightly so. Every component of this plate was perfect for me. I typically don’t enjoy lomo saltado when all the components are mixed together (beef, potatoes and rice). A soggy lomo saltado for me ruins the dish, as the potatoes should remain crunchy. I enjoyed the fact that the large plate had three distinctive sections: beef mixture, fried potato and rice with a fried egg on top. The beef mixture was prepared in a wok and was tender and of an excellent quality. The French fries were crispy (very important), and I liked that there was a soft fried egg on top of the rice. The juice from the lomo saltado was excellent. I loved it. I found myself dipping everything into that sauce.

Our last main was the Arroz con pato a la Chiclayana (S/ 64.90). This was a hearty well-made version of the popular dish (a large duck leg accompanied by a rice mixture prepared with peas, bell peppers, dark beer and cilantro). The rice is integral in this dish and it was perfect in flavor and almost creamy. This dish is typically intense in flavor and at times is prepared with almost too much cilantro, but Caplina’s version had the perfect amount to enhance, but not overpower.

We completed our meal with two desserts. One totally classic and one very unique. All of the desserts on the menu are made on the premises. The Crema volteada (S/ 15.90) was our classic. Crema volteada, the Peruvian version of creme caramel or caramel custard, was smooth, creamy and delicious.

dessert
Suspiro de aji amarillo, topped with classic meringue (Photo: Carlos del Aguila/Living in Peru)

The Suspiro de ají­ amarillo (S/ 15.90) was one of the more unique desserts I have had in awhile. It was not everyone’s “cup of tea” at our table, but with every bite the flavor it kind of grows on you. This dessert typically consists of the manjar blanco or creamy dulce de leche, but this time they have added ají­ amarillo paste. The flavor of the yellow Peruvian pepper in this dessert is not subtle, so you must like ají­ amarillo to enjoy this dessert. Like the typical suspiro de limeño, this version was sweet, but with the unique flavor of the pepper. We also thought it might have been a bit more interesting if they had left some of the “heat” from the veins inside the pepper.

Besides this Miraflores location, Caplina has another location in the San Isidro (Corpac) area, which has been around for almost 15 years. Caplina has approximately 80 dishes to choose from on their menu as well as many cocktail creations. If you are looking for modest and classic Peruvian cuisine, Caplina might be for you.

Caplina
Av. Santa Cruz 900
Miraflores
Phone: 497-4546
www.caplina.com
reservasantacruz@caplina.com

Capacity: 200 persons
Private room available

Hours: Open every day
Monday-Saturday: 12:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m.
Sunday: 12:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

Starters: S/ 14.90-44.90
Starters for sharing: S/ 98.90
Ceviches & Tiraditos: S/ 34.90-59.90
Main Dishes: S/ 44.90-98.90
Desserts: S/ 15.90-20.90
Extensive cocktail list & full bar
Wine cava with extensive wine list

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Sheila Christensen Jeanneau

Sheila was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She spent several years in Denver, Colorado at Regis University and lived eleven years in Fort Lauderdale, Florida before moving with her Peruvian husband to live full-time in Peru in 2007. An epicurean at heart, Sheila first became inspired about food and cooking through the fantastic cooks in her Danish family. In her free time, Sheila is a volunteer at an orphanage, is involved in sports, including tennis and spinning, and loves exploring Peru’s incredible cuisine.

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