One of my favorite Sunday traditions in Lima is going out for lunch. Weekend lunches are family affairs, casual and leisurely. More often than not, I’m in the mood for great seafood. One destination I’ll be returning to is Santo Pez, located on Lima’s “ceviche row,” Avenida La Mar.
This is the second restaurant for chef/owner Ramon Carrasco Tamayo. Santo Pez has been serving up great seafood in Santiago de Surco for the past nine years. Clean modern lines and open air construction define today’s top cevicherias, and the new Santo Pez’s style hangs with the best of them.
We started our lunch with a sampling of signature cocktails. Santo Pez whips up a colorful and thirst quenching selection of pisco cocktails. The Santo Pez Martini is pisco shaken with mango, strawberry and a splash of lime. Divine Passion is made with rose-petal-infused pisco, strawberry, cranberry and passion fruit juice. The beautiful Chicha No Joras combines pisco, chicha, passion fruit juice and creme de coco. Served in a tall glass, this drink is as beautiful as it is delicious.
Tiradito de atun a la chalaca
There is no better way to start lunch than with catch-of–the day, raw, of course. Be sure to try the tiradito de atun a la chalaca. Thin slices of raw tuna are topped with salsa chalaca; a finely minced combination of red onion and fresh chili peppers. The squid stuffed with lomo saltado is a delicious and unique combination of seafood and beef filet thinly sliced, and served over pureed yellow potatoes.
Grilled octopus with corn in huancaina sauce.
After this kind of a start, I was looking forward to what was coming next next. A big trend on Lima menus is anticucho seasoning. Normally used as rub for skewered beef hearts, Chef Ramon uses this dried chili mixture on grilled octopus served with Peruvian corn in creamy huancaina sauce (note: the sale of octopus was banned in Peru after this review was written. It will be available again in February). Areopuerto is chifa-style rice topped with grilled fish and tamarind sauce. This dish is served garnished with a seafood filled wonton. Another great dish is tacu tacu con mariscos al diablo. Tacu tacu is a traditional combination of rice and beans, which is topped with everything from lomo saltado to seafood. At Santo Pez this dish is topped with mixed seafood stir fried in a slightly spicy sauce.
The menu also includes selections for those who are looking for something other than fish or seafood. We sampled the tamalito verde. This light tamale is stuffed with duck in cilantro sauce, typical of northern Peruvian cuisine, and served with a salad. I tend to find tamales too heavy for my first choice. This one is perfect.
For dessert, the restaurant offers a cart with a selection of traditional treats all served in martini glasses. Both the pie de limon, and lucuma with chocolate, make for a satisfying finish.
Avenida La Mar is home to some of the best seafood restaurants in Peru. Santo Pez is right where it belongs. Welcome to the neighborhood!
Av. La Mar 1098