WATCH OUR GASTRONOMIC TOUR ON VIDEO:
THE CEVICHANO, THE TRADITION IS MAINTAINED
Luciano Pachas is celebrating. This 2023, El Cevichano celebrated 10 years in which he has learned to strengthen his business and take risks. From helping his mother sell fish to being recognized as the face of this popular cebichería, the chef focuses on the next steps for his growth.
He began in the gastronomic world as a dishwasher -although he was already known as the official cook for neighborhood parties- and later worked his way up to head chef. After his time in different restaurants, he wanted to focus on his own project and give free rein to his time.
“I went back to my beginnings, back to selling fish. Since I worked in restaurants, I thought of making my little corner to prepare a cebiche for those who were waiting”, he recalls about the position he opened in 2013 with his wife and with the presence of his sister, in Mercado N°1 de Surquillo. . “I did crazy,” he adds amused. One day Gastón Acurio arrived and the boom exploded: other renowned chefs visited it (such as Virgilio Martínez and Micha Tsumura) and it became a mandatory stopping point for tourists interested in Peruvian gastronomy. “To sell in the market, whatever, you have to have order, cleanliness and do everything you can”, advises Luciano Pachas.
Now, that market cebichera bar is in charge of his daughter and son-in-law -beware, nothing has changed- and we found the chef in his local Santa Rosa street where faithful parishioners persecute him. “The menu is simple, I don’t mess around with other dishes. I want to make traditional food. If I see a pretty cheetah, rich hedgehog or black shells I put up a sign [de plato del día]”, says. At this moment, he works with fortuno, perico and lisa; but his experience with his mother taught him that all fish are good as long as they are fresh. A courtesy broth arrives at the table, and on the menu you have to choose between 8 types of cebiches, soups, pork rinds, 4 varieties of rice and more. What do we recommend? The tsunami, ideal to share, with cebiche, chicharrón, causa, octopus in olive oil and rice with seafood or chaufa. But Luciano stays with a combination of cebiche and rice with seafood.
In the future, the chef wants to take a risk and add a new location (in Miraflores or San Isidro) or, over time, reach new countries: “My children have traveled to the US, I have told them to prepare a place ”, he says smiling. It is his advice for young people, to take risks: “I have waited more than 20 years working in a place. If he had thought of it before, he would now have about 3 restaurants. But it’s never late. I have done this with more than 40 years. I tell my children that it is never too late to set out”.
Address: Santa Rosa Street 185, Surquillo.
Bookings: 947 893 626.
BARRA SULLORQUI, EXPERIENCES IN ONE BITE
Gabriel O’donnell likes to travel, get to know new cultures and dishes. Little by little, he incorporates these experiences in the letter from Barra Sullorqui. Thus, his trip to Tarapoto inspired him for his Amazonian clams with chalaca and cecina; while his visit to Colombia encouraged him to integrate a flour dough (from there) into his shrimp empanadas. “I like to see what I can integrate into the bar menu […] Without making many changes, I try to incorporate ingredients without changing the identity of Peruvian food”, says the cook.
His first contact with cooking was through his father who had restaurants in Punta Hermosa; in addition to his grandmother, of those matriarchs in charge of preparing food for all the offspring. He went through several careers before deciding and traveled to Australia to dedicate himself to gastronomy. In 2017 she returned because he saw a better outlook in the sector and opted for seafood cuisine.
“He had a passion for the subject of cebiches and wanted to have his own place,” says Gabriel. Upon arriving in Lima, he saw that the cebicherías were undergoing changes and so he opened Barra Sullorqui with a short menu (about 5 dishes) that has been reinventing itself; but maintaining simplicity and attention to detail.
“Now there is more variety, the team is also bigger. Some of the latest dishes are the spicy seafood and saltado de pescado […] The emblematic dish will always be the cebiche, which has to be rich and fresh”, he points out. A quick look at the menu: cold (clams and causitas) and hot (shells and empanadas) appetizers, sandwiches (silverside, egg and avocado), a variety of cebiches, rice dishes and chicharrones as well as the catch of the day (fillet or integer) whose cost varies according to the market price.
If this is your first time visiting this bar-restaurant, sit at one of the tables on the terrace with a cold beer and ask about the daily specials. You will surely find some tempting option.
Address: Jr. Leoncio Prado 1196, Surquillo.
Bookings: 941 022 488.
AL TOKE PEZ, THE PUREST ESSENCE
“Al Toke Pez is part of me. It is the way I live life, something simple and fast”, says Tomás Matsufuji, creator of the quintessential cebichera bar, laughing. In just 28 square meters, where about 11 people can sit, he runs this space that has gained fame here and abroad (thanks to his appearance on Netflix’s “Street Food Latin America”). Theirs is the usual food -affordable, with good supplies and without formalities- represented by the classic and mixed cebiche, fish chicharrón and rice with seafood. Why ask for more?
Since it opened in 2011, diners flock to it and lines form at lunchtime. This has taught him that to have a successful restaurant “you don’t need to be big, fancy or with a lot of service [maître o mozos]. You can make a space for yourself within the difficult Peruvian gastronomy with a small bar; but doing things correctly”, considers the cook who plans to open his place at night for delivery.
As we have mentioned, the menu is not complicated: 4 or 5 dishes and the logical option to try everything is the combo (cebiche, chicharrón de pota and rice with seafood). It is killing a craving cheaply and quickly. However, there is something that worries Tomás and it is the depredation of marine supplies.
Year after year, he perceives the decrease in species and the increase in the costs of fish and shellfish in the market. At this time, he says, it is no longer worth buying octopus or squid for a mid-price restaurant. The squid, with which he prepares his crispy pork rinds, has gone from costing S/. 1.5 or S/. 2 (in 2011) to S/. 6 or up to S/.10. The same happens with the fish with which the cebiche works, its price can double.
“In a very short time we are going to eat tilapia or basa cebiche (farmed fish),” he says. “Fish and shellfish are becoming more and more priceless and nothing is done to correct it. I believe that the fishing industry is overexploiting our resources even illegally. We are destroying our bioecosystem, ”he warns.
As a resident of Surquilla for more than a decade, the variety of cuisines present in the district stands out. It celebrates emblematic huariques -such as Huerta Chinén and El rinconcito de Tiabaya-, recommends the classic cebicherías and applauds the new generation that has arrived with other concepts including dark kitchens. A district of pure seasoning.
Address: Av. Angamos Este 886, Surquillo.
I, Ronald Payne, am a journalist and author who dedicated his life to telling the stories that need to be said. I have over 7 years of experience as a reporter and editor, covering everything from politics to business to crime.