Deli Viva had only been opened for about two months when the Peru This Week team decided to visit this new, four-table, cozy restaurant/cafe on the ever-popular Av. La Mar in June. Working in a partnership with Punto Organico, the organic market situated next door, Deli Viva uses many of the organic products sold at Punto Organico in the food that they prepare. Deli Viva enjoys an abundance of takeout customers as well.
Our visit to Deli Viva was quite an interesting learning and dining experience. Both owners, Chris Argus and his wife, Tess, hail from Sweden and practically ooze healthiness. Chris is a raw food chef and a representative in the Tree of Life Rejuvenation recipes and lifestyle practices of Dr. Gabriel Cousens. Deli Viva has a passion for the seasonal bounty of the earth. We learned about vegan, organic, raw food, and so much more. At Deli Viva all the food that is prepared is free of dairy, gluten, flour, eggs, and sugar. No artificial flavors, preservatives, or colors exist in their food. Everything is 100% all organic and everything is raw. Yes, this means that everything we were about to eat was not cooked. We looked at each other with some skepticism, but what followed was a pleasant surprise.
Three bright and colorful juice extracts (S/. 10 each) arrived at our table to sample. My personal favorite was the beet extract which consisted of beet, apple, and lime juices. The carrot/ginger/orange extract was also a table favorite. The most unique of the three extracts had to be the purslane extract which consisted of purslane, cucumber, celery, tumeric, ginger and lime. Purslane is highly sought after for its high content of Omega 3. The stems are also quite high in Vitamin C. The concentration of flavors in each of the extracts was delicious. This beverage could not effuse more spring unless it squirted pollen in your face.
In addition to the three juice extracts, we also sampled several of their infusions. The mildest probably was water infused with ginger, lime and Stevia. The tarragon infusion was unique, but mild as well. The most interesting infusion was water infused with dandelion (a very strong liver purifier/detoxer, natural diuretic and herb used in Native American and Chinese medicine), mint, muna, lemongrass and Stevia. This was quite strong, but also quite good.
An interesting concept at Deli Viva is their menu. Monday thru Friday the restaurant features a different type of international cuisine. You can find cuisines such as Thai, Japanese, Korean, Hindu, Lebanese, Italian, Greek, French, Mexican, American and of course, Peruvian. You can check out Deli Viva’s facebook page to find out the daily international cuisine or give them a call. These daily specials include a salad and herbal infusion. The daily special is 30 soles. The day of our visit Deli Viva decided to prepare a Lebanese-style dish, a pizza and a Thai-style dish so we could sample a few different cuisines.
The Lebanese Meze arrived with a large plate of hummus, falafel, couscous (prepared with cauliflower,mint and coriander) and tabouleh as well as a salad. I enjoy this style of food and it was quite flavorful.
We tried three different style of pizzas on one plate: one with tomatoes as the base with pesto, one with a tomato pomodoro and another “slice” with an abundance of zucchini, mushrooms, bell pepper and olives. The “crust” was made with flaxseed, tumeric and other ingredients that had a coarse, and very dense cracker consistency.
The Thai dish served was Pad Thai, which is one of my favorite Thai dishes. This dish was a flavor revelation. Zucchini was sliced thin to resemble pasta noodles. Green onion, tahini, shoiu, lime juice and brazil nuts completed this dish. It truly tasted like Pad Thai, but a much healthier version. This dish was long on flavor and creativity.
The desserts that Tess prepares at Deli Viva are incredible! We sampled her pecan cookies with coconut-lime frosting, truffles, “blueberry no cheesecake” and her choco/lucuma dessert. Iinstead of refined white sugar or brown sugar, yacon (a probiotic) syrup, raw honey, various fruits, Stevia or Zylitol were used to give the desserts natural sweetness. Stevia is currently a very popular natural sweetener. Zylitol is produced using the sap of the birch tree.
The pecan cookies consisted of organic pecans, raisins, coconut and lime. Lots of flavor and great texture. Tess’ truffles were an absolute pleasure to eat, especially when accompanied by Deli Viva’s organic coffee. The truffles were prepared using cacao bean paste, pecans, sometimes mint or orange and zylitol. These were dense and delicious!
The chocolate/lucuma dessert we sampled consisted of cacao, lucuma and shredded coconut. It had a dense and creamy texture and packed full of flavor. The “no cheesecake” tasted very much like a real cheescake, but had no dairy in it whatsoever. It was a revelation. Organic coconut, blueberries, brasil nuts and ginger made up this delicious treat.
In the future, Deli Viva will be offering classes and workshops. Catering, takeouts and deliveries are available as well. If Deli Viva were located closer to my home, I definitely would be a 3-times per week regular customer. I may not be turning vegan any time soon, but it is nice to know I have a healthy dining option like Deli Viva.
Deli Viva translates as “to be alive” and definitely this comes through in their invigorating mix of creative, practically guilt-free, healthy alternatives.
Av. La Mar 1163 (adjoining Punto Organico Market)
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Catering, Takeout & Delivery available
Chia pudding: S/.10
Daily menu: S/.30