Avenida La Mar, famous for seafood restaurants, is also home to a small and sophisticated tapas bar. La Cucharita stands proudly on a street corner towards the end of this gastronomically-rich road and can be recognized by the decorative leg of Spanish ham that hangs outside its bare brick entrance. The most salient feature of this gastro-bar is the authenticity of its traditional Spanish and Basque fare. Another reason to choose La Cucharita for your next culinary adventure is the personalized service and suggestions provided by Spanish Chef Nazario Cano himself. The sophisticated and cozy ambiance is suitable for a visit with business associates, friends and even a date. On Wednesdays from 9 p.m. there is live entertainment for a comprehensive Spanish experience.
Menu options are plentiful with well over 60 hot and cold tapas and pintxo varieties, as well as paella and seasonal offerings. A nice touch on the menu is that each choice includes a wine or beer pairing suggestion. We were very fortunate to sample some of Chef Cano’s specialties and vowed to return for more. Our tasting included seafood, foie gras and piglet.
A tapa that stood out for me was paella ‘batons’. This innovative way to enjoy paella takes it off the plate and into rice paper rolls that are deep fried until crispy brown and elegantly served in individual shot glasses crowned with fresh aioli and a raw shrimp.
Another tapa that was very appreciated by our party was foie gras with milk torrejas (40 soles). Foie gras discs were just seared, which left the center a little cold, but in combination with the warm and sweet French toast, bites became fine temperature-wise and bursting with flavor. This delicacy comes on a wooden board with a roasted cinnamon stick. It’s both pleasing to the eye and fragrant.
Another imaginative and very fragrant tapa was eucalyptus-wrapped jumbo shrimp, baked in a crust of sea salt and served on a slab of Chilean volcanic rock. As shrimp exit their eucalyptus jacket, you are hit with a pungent aroma that prepares your palate for the steamed crustacean. The dipping sauces served with the eucalyptus-infused shrimp take enjoyment to the next mouth-watering level.
The pièce de résistance in La Cucharita is the cochinillo con membrillo glaseado y pure de papas. The baby pork loin is firstly baked, subsequently deep fried and served with glazed quince over a creamy potato mash. The meat is soft and juicy on the inside and has a crunchy crust sprinkled with coarse salt. This is a sweet and savory construction that our party thoroughly enjoyed.
Tapas and drinks go hand in hand. In La Cucharita, patrons usually prefer wine, which is served by the glass (16 – 25 soles) or by the bottle. Pisco cocktails, sangria, beer and other spirits are also on offer. We sampled the chilcano buena pasión and enjoyed its aromatic not-too-sweet nature. La Cucharita is definitely worth exploring if you want to transport yourself out of the chaos of the city to enjoy good times listening to music, watching a sports event, or conversing.
La Cucharita Tapas Bar
What: Authentic Spanish & Basque Tapas
Where: Avenida La Mar 1200, Miraflores, Lima.
When: Lunch: Tuesday – Sunday 12:00 – 15:30, Dinner: Monday – Saturday 19:00 – closing
Live entertainment on Wednesdays (no cover).
Web: www.lacucharita.pe also on Facebook.
Appetizers: S./ 10-16
Ensaladas: S./ 17-19
Cold cuts: S./ 25-40
Carpaccios: S./ 16-18
Tapas (for 2): S./ 12-35
Paella: For 2 S./70; For 3: S./105
Beer: S./ 10