Do you have a fancy for some real Peruvian traditional food? Are you tired of so much fusion and mixes of all sorts and kinds? Well, there is a restaurant in Miraflores that for the past 35 years has been keeping the tradition of the ‘good old’ traditional Peruvian food: Las Tejas Restaurant. I remember as a kid, when Miraflores was the neighborhood where people from all parts of Lima would come and spend their day shopping in the famous Avenida Larco, one of the classic restaurants you would stop by for lunch was Las Tejas. Back then, in the late 70s and early 80s, the fusion of spices and flavors from different corners of the world with Peruvian ingredients and restaurants that would serve foreign food were not common as they are nowadays. Peruvians and foreigners alike would then go for the classic Peruvian meals, and that is exactly what we had when we went to Las Tejas this time.
We started with a plate of anticuchos (heart beef skewers), which consisted of two skewers, boiled corn, yummy sweet potatoes and mandioca chips, and a super fresh ‘criollo’ salad (S/. 19). The dish was simply delicious and worthwhile ordering. In fact, our kind host, Marco, explained that it was with the anticuchos in mind that the restaurant opened back in 1979 as an alternative to the then classic stands near the National Stadium. And if you are into anticuchos, you can find a wide variety, as besides the classic heart beef ones there also those made with chicken, fish, and tenderloin meat. Along with the anticuchos, we had a Pisco Sour, a chilcano and an algarrobina – the latter was overly sweet and heavy, but the others were alright.
Our next starter was a first for me: ‘Stuffed mandioca with shrimps,’ something like the classic deep fried stuffed potato (papa rellena); it was nice: savory and delicate (S/. 28). Then we had the ‘Shrimp soup’ (chupe de camarones), which was pretty good too (S/. 50). I noticed their menu had ceviches as well; in fact, quite a variety, as not only did they have the classic ones with fish, but also with artichokes and mushrooms, among other alternatives, and a wide variety of ‘causas,’ soups, and salads as well.
_(Photo: Geraint Rowland/Peru this Week)_
It was time for the main courses. The first one to come was the ‘Lomo al perol,’ a sort of classic lomo saltado (S/. 45). The mix of meat and seafood came in a clay pot where the fantastic juices were preciously kept. It was so good that we made sure nothing was left inside the pot. Following came a classic of any Peruvian restaurant: the ‘Ají de gallina’ (S/. 35). The dish was abundant and tasty, easily shared by two. We then tried the ‘Deep-fried guinea pig with ajiaco’ (S/. 45). Fortunately, there was no guinea pig head or spread out body in the plate, but rather two pieces of meat perfectly good looking and ready to be eaten. However, the wonderful creamy mix of potatoes, cheese, and herbs (S/. 12), – typical of the Andes – became the focus of our attention and rapidly disappeared. And, if all this was not enough, our hosts brought us the ‘Filled-in sea-bass with shrimps’ (S/. 64), which was again delicious and abundant. As it was impossible to try another dish, I will have to come back to try the original ‘Picante de quinoa with shrimps’ (S/. 38).
Although we were more than satisfied with the fantastic display and quality of the food, we could not leave this place without having the traditional picarones (S/. 7), four deep-fried pumpkin donuts with syrup which were to die for. We also tried the deep-fried filled-in mandioca with sweet potato jelly (S/. 7), an old traditional sweet from Lima that was a novelty for me, delicate and not overly sweet, I liked it very much.
_(Photo: Geraint Rowland/Peru this Week)_
Our experience in Las Tejas took us by surprise, as it is unusual for a restaurant that has been around for over three decades and still keeps firm to its tradition and quality of products and services. So, next time that you are in Miraflores, make sure you make a stop at Las Tejas. If it is not for the anticuchos or picarones – both highly recommended – then for any of the 81 dishes from their Spanish/English menu. It’s not for nothing that the famous Trip Advisor has recommended this restaurant for two years in a row. Do remember to come with an empty stomach as the dishes are all quite generous and you won’t be able to stop eating. There is a good selection for vegans too and if you come in the evening, you may enjoy some live Latin-american and criollo music playing.
Starters – S/. 12 -23
Soups – S/. 12 -54
Cebiches – S/. 23 – 30
Main dishes – S/. 27 – 68
Desserts – S/. 7 – 8
For more information, “visit their website”:www.lastejas.pe.
Calle Diez Canseco 340 – Miraflores
Open Monday to Saturday 12 noon to 11:30 p.m. (non-stop) and Sundays 12 noon to 10:30 p.m. Open on holidays except Christmas and Easter Friday.