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Restaurant Review: Amankaya Resto-Mar

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Fresh fish dishes and comforting hearty delights at a good price can all be found at Amankaya Resto-Mar.

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Chupe de mariscos (Photo: Maria Alejandra Baraybar/Living in Peru)
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A brief walk from the Mercado Surquillo #1 is this small gem, Amankaya. Previously, they were located in the Camacho area, but closed that location and reopened two months ago in their current Surquillo locale.

If you are thinking of checking Amankaya out, you can take your chances and try to find street parking out front or on the side street. But probably better to play it safe and park at a nearby parking lot located approximately a block away or even better, perhaps take a taxi or walk. It’s worth the visit…..whatever mode of transportation you opt for.

Amankaya is a simple, rustic joint with an open kitchen and bar/counter seating for up to 7 people on the first floor. The second floor has a dining area with a few tables. We sat on the 2nd floor which was a bit more comfortable for us.

You are there for the food, not the views.

Amankaya was full of surprises. We found a menu focused on seafood, but a couple other non-seafood options which were outstanding as well. Excellent prices for value, generous portions and the quality of the ingredients were impressive.


Chilcano de Hierba Luisa (Photo: Maria Alejandra Baraybar/Living in Peru)

We began with three varieties of their chilcanos.

Amankaya’s house pisco is Viña Andina. There are five chilcano options, including the traditional and an emoliente option. We sampled the maracuya (passionfruit), hierba luisa (lemongrass),and maíz morada (purple corn) options. The table favorite was the passionfruit option. The Maíz Morada had a hint of cinnamon and was perhaps more well-suited for someone that prefers a sweeter cocktail.

The cojinova fish was the “catch of the day” and was used in the majority of the dishes at Amankaya the day of our visit. They buy the catch of the day from their fish provider since it is typically very fresh. Other days the fish changes depending on what is the freshest that day. This also keeps the prices on the moderate side.

We began our culinary adventure with the Causa Acevichada (S/. 4). from the “Para Probar” section of the menu. There are four other causa varieties that you can choose from as well and all are 4 soles each.

This is an excellent way to sample a variety.


Tiradito de Aji (Photo: Maria Alejandra Baraybar/Living in Peru)

I personally requested the Tiradito al Aji (S/. 29), since I had seen it on Amankaya’s Facebook page previously and it looked incredible. The platter arrived with ultra-fresh thin slices of the cojinova fish, ají amarillo sauce with lime, quinoa pop, and cubes of avocado, all accompanied by sweet potato, choclo, and a scattering of ají limo slices. Wonderful presentation, delicious tiradito dish and well worth ordering.

The Cevichino (S/. 29), was a decent version of Asian-style ceviche prepared once again with the “catch of the day”, Cojinova, along with a touch of sesame seed oil, fried wonton strips, ginger, green onion, and aji limo slices. The onion was sliced in thin slivers, not overly “onioned”…..something I am not a fan of….I want to taste the fish and don’t want the onion to overpower. This ceviche was accompanied with the typical slice of sweet potato and corn.

From the “Outsiders” section of the menu, we sampled two dishes.

Probably the only two that are non-seafood dishes out of the approximately 30 offered dishes. The first of these dishes was the Arroz Amazónico (S/. 30). I am a big fan of cecina, the salted, smoked and air-dried pork from the jungle. For me, the flavor is a cross between bacon and ham, but leaning more towards bacon. First off, I am not a person that goes out of their way to order rice dishes. This one would be an exception. This chifa-style rice served with the generous pieces of bacon and bellaco plátano (banana from the jungle), green onion slices, and white and black sesame seeds were outstanding! It was the perfect balance of sweet and salty and the portion was generous enough to share between two people.


Lomo Saltado (Photo: Maria Alejandra Baraybar/Living in Peru)

The Lomo Saltado (S/. 34), was a huge surprise. Amankaya is popular for their seafood dishes, but this dish is most definitely one of their best. First off, the beef was excellent quality and national meat from Oxapampa…..it was soft in texture, juicy and prepared medium. There was a generous amount of beef along with crunchy slices of tomato, onion and aji amarillo sautéed quickly in a wok and served on top of a creamy yellow rice infused with aji Amarillo. No fried potatoes are served with this lomo saltado, and honestly, I did not miss them. I would definitely return for this lomo saltado. Another dish easily shared between two people.

The ideal dish for these chilly gray days in Lima is the Chupe de Mariscos (S/. 30). The chowder was loaded with seafood (shrimp, octopus, calamari), along with ají amarillo, peas, potato, choclo (Peruvian corn), and topped off with a perfectly fried egg.

A great version of this popular soup and perfect comfort food.


Cevigrill (Photo: Maria Alejandra Baraybar/Living in Peru)

Our last dish was the Cevigrill (S/. 30), a combination of very lightly grilled cojinova fish, along with a sauce comprised of leche de tigre, ají amarillo, green onions and all topped with thin slices of onion. It was the favorite dish of a regular diner at a nearby table who recommended it. It was decent, but not one of our favorites in comparison to the other dishes.

Many thanks to the young and friendly team at Amankaya, especially executive chef and partner, Gabriel Osorio. Thanks for your hospitality and enthusiasm.

For me, Amankaya offers the best of both worlds….fresh, lighter fish dishes as well as comfort food options.

 

Amankaya Resto Mar

Av. Paseo de la Republica 5115

Surquillo

Phone:  240-8258

Hours:  Tuesday-Friday:  12:00 p.m.-4:30 p.m.

            Saturday/Sunday:  12:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

            Closed Monday

Very limited street parking, parking lot located nearby

Capacity:  30 persons

Ceviches/Tiraditos:  S/. 15-32

Leches de Tigres:  S/. 16-18

Starters:  S/. 4-32

Combination plates:  S/. 32-34

Main dishes: S/. 29-34

Chilcanos:  S/. 15-18

Beer (domestic imported/artisanal):  S/. 8-18

Cocktails (pisco sour/capitan/gin tonic/Cuba libre):  S/. 18-25

Water/Chicha/Soda:  S/. 5

 

 

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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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