An open room under the arc of the Bay Bridge on San Francisco’s Pier 1 1/2, La Mar is a big restaurant with a big menu: the eponymous ceviches; the Japanese-influenced plates of raw fish called tiraditos; takes on regional dishes and street food from all over Peru; and there’s a blackboard showing off the overflow of the kitchen’s creativity.
This is Peruvian food—a cuisine influenced by the whole world and jacked up with heat and—filtered through Acurio’s European training.
You can buy anticuchos, skewers of marinated, grilled beef heart, at street carts all over the Andes; at La Mar they’ve become grilled octopus laced with herbal chimichurri and spicy ají panca, the fruity heat playing beautifully off the slightly bitter char and meaty texture of the octopus.
The seven ceviches might be the Goldberg Variations of raw seafood, citrus, and chile, from the perfectly balanced sharpness and heat of the mixto to the lush tropical fruitiness of the Amazona.
Add the restaurant’s smooth take on the Pisco Sour, and Lima doesn’t seem so far away.
Gastón Acurio restaurant “La Mar Cebicheria Peruana” has been included into the Travel & Leisure’s “50 Best New Restaurants 2009,” according to their website.
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