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Restaurant Review: Maria Panela

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If you could find more options like Maria Panela, Lima would be the capitol of world gastronomy. This restaurant’s recipes and environment will make you feel as if you were in Brazil.

Muqueca de camarão (Photo: AmaraPhotos/Traveling & Living in Peru
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Gean Sallas (Photo: AmaraPhotos/Traveling & Living in Peru)

This restaurant’s main focus is natural cuisine, which is at the same time traditional and innovative. The comfortable interior of the restaurant is decorated by the owners Gisele Gradowski and Anne Díaz Toledo Martins.

For this concept, they invited Brazilian chef Gean Sallas to create new plates that make Maria Panela a place designed by the Brazilian architect Paola Rosellini, where you have to leave feeling a sense of surprise.   Every day they have a Peruvian traditional plate (with a starter, soup or salad), but if you want to explore Brazilian flavours, you can start with the breakfast by trying the original acai with granola, banana, and strawberry. The acai has been said to be the best in Lima, from people who have tasted it.

Gazpacho (Photo: AmaraPhotos/Traveling & Living in Peru)

The gluten-free tapioca is one of the main ingredients of this restaurant, you could ask for the salty crepe, with tomato, cheese, and basil, or the sweet version, with homemade peanut butter, banana or strawberry (S/ 16). If you love soups, here they offer one that will keep you warm, made with black bean, kale and crispy bacon (S/ 15), and another option is a cold coral coloured gazpacho (S/ 25), made with watermelon.

Coxinha de Frango (Photo: AmaraPhotos/Traveling & Living in Peru)

We recommend ask for the appetizers. They are served with good portions, so you can share and order more than one. For example, the coxinha de frango (S/ 10) soft, crispy potato based croquettes with chicken. They also have a curious and special version made with quinoa that is served with celery jam. The mini pão de queijo (S/ 10), the mini cheese bread, are very typical and unique, and the empanadinhas comes with three flavors: meat, pizza and bobó de camarão (a popular Brazilian shrimp cream).

Beetroot Risotto (Photo: AmaraPhotos/Traveling & Living in Peru)

If you still don’t feel surprised, you have to ask for the shellfish ceviche with coconut milk. It’s better than the classic version. The beetroot risotto (S/ 32), with sour cream and crispy artichoke, is one of the revelations of Maria Panela, the summary of many of her ideas: a natural, healthy and original plate that is also vegetarian. On the other hand, the galinhada (S/ 32) is similar to the Peruvian traditional rice and chicken but is crispy and less flavored.

Feijoada (Photo: AmaraPhotos/Traveling & Living in Peru)

Now the specialty of the house: the feijoada (S/ 38), a big portion of this classic in Brazil that comes with black bean (not so heavy), calabresa (a special sausage), rice, fresh orange, kale and farofa (a Brazilian condiment). Both last plates are served Saturdays and Sundays as a special of the day because of the high demand. And don’t forget to try the muqueca de camarão and the seared t with blackberry chutney and aligot (cheese blended into mashed potatoes).

Homenagem ao ovo (Photo: AmaraPhotos/Traveling & Living in Peru)

Finally, you will find typical desserts like Nossa homenagem ao ovo, translate like a tribute to the egg (S/ 14), a mango and passion fruit ice cream with coconut foam and chocolate dust. You will find the typical tupí guaraní, an elastic cake made with tapioca and acai cream, and you can’t go without trying the brigadeiros, made with chocolate and condensed milk. If you are here at night, you will love the terrace lighting, ideal for a drink (a caipirinha, a guarana juice or a coffee) in that special occasion when you want to be in a magic place.

Maria Panela
Av. Mariscal La Mar 1035, Miraflores

Tuesday and Wednesday, 10.00 – 19.00

Thursday to Saturday, 10.00 – 23.00

Sunday, 10.00 – 16.00

Appetizer: S/ 10 – S/ 12

Specials: S/ 21 – S/ 38

Plate of the day: S/ 23

Desserts: S/ 10 – S/ 14

Soups: S/ 15 and S/ 25

Drinks: S/ 6 – S/ 14

Coffee: S/ 6 – S/ 10

Bonus: Veggie Brazilian options and gluten-free desserts. Bakery products change every day.

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Javier García is a Peruvian journalist that writes for news, magazines, and websites about ecology, gastronomy, sports, and culture, specially Nikkei culture for APJ and Discover Nikkei. He teaches journalism at San Martín de Porres University and is the editor of the book of chronicles "Tentaciones Narrativas" (Redactum, 2014). He is also the founder of La Mesa - Pase y Pruebe, a fan page about news and events of gastronomy and culture.