I first heard about DaDA last November from a good friend that lives in the bohemian Barranco neighborhood.
She told me we needed to stop in there because it looked stunning just passing by on the street. You first notice the exterior of this gorgeous restored turn-of-the-century mansion and then your eye is drawn to the spacious and colorful outdoor patio bar. The bar initially draws you in and your curiosity has you exploring all of the salons located inside the mansion.
The name DaDA comes from the avant-garde (favoring new, unusual or experimental) informal international anti-artistic movement Dada or Dadaism. This art movement consisted of artists who rejected the logic and reason of modern capitalist society, by expressing nonsense, irrationality, and anti-bourgeois protest in their works. The art of the movement spanned visual, literary, and sound media, including collage, sound poetry, cut-up writing, and sculpture.
In short, the movement challenged accepted definitions of art.
Back to this glorious mansion…the restoration respected the preserved historical details. I appreciated the exquisite floor tiles, high ceilings, stained glass, and light fixtures. The interior is elegant and classic, but with lots of funky touches as well as unique decor and conversational artwork. It has been transformed into a small art gallery and many of the pieces of art and furniture are for sale. There are four distinct spacious salons…one with a theme of bicycles (one which is suspended from the ceiling along with bar stools with bicycle wheels); another with telephones hanging from the ceiling; a salon with recycled doors of all shapes, colors and sizes adorned on the wall, and another with a English theme.
The mansion also has an interior salon for dining. All of the salons and other areas of the mansion are ideal to enjoy cocktails, listen to music and enjoy the unique displays of artwork. On a weekly basis at DaDA, you can find live acoustic music, poetry readings, small theater, DJs and other cultural events.
“The interior is elegant and classic, but with lots of funky touches as well as unique decor and conversational artwork.”
At the back of the mansion, you also have an outdoor dining terrace and a smaller courtyard which is used most Sundays for kids activities. There is an abundance of trees, plants and lush greenery in every exterior part of DaDA. A couple of smaller shops are also located in the back of the premises, which includes Peca, a small jewelry gallery, and a gorgeous shoe boutique named Snobs Zapatos.
I have been inside the mansion twice now and still, I feel the need to return and explore more.
So many details…much of the artwork located on the premises is conversational and inspires comments and sometimes laughter. I especially got a kick out of the various noses, lips and eyes artwork that showed up in most of the salons and even outside on the light fixtures, trees and plants. They made me smile. They were subtly displayed and you do not notice them unless you are paying attention.
DaDA has quickly become a popular bar since it opened in July of last year. We were told that the previous Saturday they had approximately 1,500 people enter throughout the course of that entire evening. DaDA has a full bar as well as a wide variety of house, classic and Pisco cocktails. We sampled two of their brand new summer cocktails. The Mai Tai Especial was a combination of golden pineapple juice, two kinds of Havana-brand aged rum (3-years and 6-years), cinnamon, orange liqueur, and an almond syrup served in a hollowed out coconut shell which provided a delicious tropical and sweet concoction perfect for summer.
The Babo Sour was on the opposite spectrum of the mai tai we first sampled. The main ingredient of this cocktail is Aperol, an Italian aperitif made of bitter orange, rhubarb, gentian (a root for flavoring bitters), and cinchona. The flavor of Aperol is similar to Campari, but has less alcohol content and is less bitter and lighter in color. Besides the Aperol, this cocktail included cognac, prosecco, and Tahiti lime juice. This liquid libation is very similar to the Aperol spritz that is currently enjoying “of the moment” popularity. We found this cocktail to be crisp, bitter and refreshing….perfect for those that do not like the sweeter drinks.
We shared three dishes during our visit to DaDA. Our first was from the “entradas” section of the menu, Tiradito de pescado blanco y pulpo a la parrilla (S/. 34). Translucent slices of corvina, tender, grilled octopus and cubes of avocado which were all bathed generously in a vibrant and flavorful aji amarillo sauce.
Our second plate from the main dishes section was the flavor-packed Paiche a la parrilla sobre risotto de ajíes confitados, culantro y loche (S/. 37). I always enjoy paiche fish (white fish which hails from the rivers of the Amazon). Paiche is ideal for grilling due to its dense and meaty texture. The mild nature of the grilled paiche complimented the risotto which was prepared with duck broth as well as roasted aji peppers, cilantro, and squash. The dish was topped off with a salsa criollo (thin slices of red onion and aji). The acidity of the salsa along with the mildness of the fish and the richness of the risotto was a perfect combination.
The last dish we sampled was the Prosciutto y arugula pizza (S/. 42). The pizzas at DaDA are prepared in the large outdoor oven situated next to the bar. We enjoyed the thin, crunchy crust of the pizza as well as the prosciutto and peppery arugula toppings. I am a huge fan of arugula and I felt it could have benefited by adding more arugula on top.
DaDA offers a total of six varieties ranging in price from 28-42 soles. The pizzas are very popular here and are ordered frequently, especially in the bar area.
By the time I eventually departed DaDA at 9:30 p.m. after enjoying a couple of cocktails with a friend, the outdoor patio bar was full and bustling. Not too bad for a Wednesday evening. The Chicago girl in me really appreciated the hard to resist outdoor summer setting that was perfect for sipping on a cocktail!
Avenida San Martin 154, Barranco
Hours: Closed Sunday & Monday
Tuesday-Thursday: 7:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m.
Friday/Saturday: 3:00 p.m.-3:00 a.m.
Starters: S/. 20-78
Sandwiches: S/. 24-36
Salads: S/. 24-26
Bruschettas: S/. 14-16
Pizzas: S/. 28-42
Main dishes: S/. 34-89
Desserts: S/. 16
Kids Menu: S/. 21
House Cocktails: S/. 24-32
Classic Cocktails: S/. 22-28
Pisco cocktails: S/. 22-24
Beer (domestic/imported): S/. 13-15
Artisanal beer: S/. 20
Non-alcoholic beverages: S/.
Energy drinks: S/. 14