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Amazing ceviche in Lima

If you want to eat some of the best sea foods ever, go to Lima.

Like everyone else, I wanted to try the famous Ceviche, a citrus juice marinated fresh fish dish. The locals don’t stop bragging about it and they serve it as an appetizer with almost every meal.

Wikipedia describe it as ‘’Peruvian ceviche is a traditional dish widely eaten in Peru. The method of preparing it is different to that of ceviche in other places, using lemon, fish, potatoes and other foods. In Peru, ceviche has been declared to be part of Peru’s “national heritage” and has had a holiday declared in its honor’’.

Walking along touristic Miraflores, I have stopped at one of the seafood restaurants along Avenida Jose Larco. Ceviche was ok, but nothing spectacular. A little bit disappointed, I went to one of the many restaurants around Park Kennedy and the second experience was slightly better, but was still lacking the oomph reaction I was expecting.

Decided to try the city centre, expecting that it will house the best traditional restaurants in the city. After visiting the Main Square (Plaza de Armas) and watching the impressive changing of the guard at the Presidential Palace under the El Condor Pasa rhythm, the next stop was at one of the central restaurants. I reckon the ceviche was the worse one so far, at the most expensive price though. Like any typical tourist, I was expecting that the city centre will try to allure and impress its visitors. But no, I was even more disappointed after this experience.

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Ceviche in the City Centre

Ready to give up and almost concluding that ceviche is not my thing, I reluctantly accepted a trip to apparently the best seafood eatery ever. A primary school friend of my travelling companion drove us to Callao. It took one hour and a half to get there through the crazy traffic, passing the beautiful coastal highway Costa Verde ( from Miraflores to Callao) and getting to some areas that the tourist would never dare to adventure.

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Costa Verde

Our destination was a bright blue old unattractive building, El Sabor de Yolita Restaurant. We were the only clients and we got served the classic snack I already got in love with in Lima, Cancha Salada (fried and salted large size corn kernels), Chifle (salted and fried finely sliced banana – you can buy the chips from street vendors, at kiosks, bodegas, at the market or supermarket) and the best beer made in Lima, Callao Pilsen.

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Fried corn and banana snacks

We have ordered the ceviche and two other meals that I had no idea what they were, all I knew it was that the restaurant just served seafood.

The restaurant was basic, a family run eatery more than a restaurant, clean, but not the type of restaurant that would have been your first choice. There was a stray dog outside who was keep coming inside, sniffing around and going back out.

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El Sabor de Yolita Restaurant Callao

The snack was going very well with the beer and the restaurant owner was super friendly, even though my Spanish is limited. After few beers and funny misscomunication, the meals  have arrived.

First of all the presentation was high end restaurant standards, it was purely mouth-watering. I could not decide which one was the best: Ceviche, Jalea or Parihuela.

The ceviche was just sublime. If I would have stopped to my city centre experience, I would have left Lima with the idea that ceviche is not that good and definitely not my kind of food. The flavours, the freshness, the combination of aromas and textures was deliciously luscious.

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The best Ceviche in Lima

Jalea is an abundance of fried mixed seafood topped with a bright, refreshing, tart salad of red onions, tomatoes, and cilantro marinated in lime juice. In some ways that basic description fails to get at what’s so special about it, but believe me, it’s a combination for the ages. Here it came with fried sea weed as a topping that was just adding unique flavors to the dish.

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Jalea

Parihuela is a hearty and spicy seafood soup with origins in the fishing communities of Peru and is very popular all along the coast. Firm flesh white fish and crab are the main ingredients, while the warmth and spice for this dish comes from the aji panca hot pepper. Combine that spice with cumin, ginger, cilantro, and lime juice, and you’ll enjoy a seafood soup that is flavorful, spicy, crisp, nourishing, and refreshing — exactly what the fishermen from Peru would enjoy after a day at sea.

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Parihuela

I don’t know which one I liked more, I was keep moving from one dish to another and could not make up my mind. Each one of them was offering a different flavor and texture, tasty and delectable. All I can say is that I am a big fan of fish dishes and I eat seafood in every waterside location I travel to. So far, El Sabor de Yolita is preparing the best fish meals ever.

If you are in Lima, just take a taxi to Restaurante El Sabor de Yolita, Bella Vista District in Callao Region (close to the airport). The restaurant is at corner of Avenida Miguel Grau and Calle Tacna.

If you have a short stopover in Lima airport, just go out and try This place, will be 10 minutes from the airport.

Uber does not have a good reputation in Peru, so taxi will be the only option to get there. Negotiate the price with the taxi driver, ideally return trip. One way trip should be 15-20 soles ($6US), a return trip with the extra hour or so for lunch would probably be negotiated at 50 Soles ($15USD). Keep in mind that in Lima taxi is negotiated by distance, not time. If you have been told the trip is 10 Soles from Miraflores to Victoria, even though the traffic is terrible and the 8 km that should take you 20 minute transforms to almost 80 minute, you pay the agreed 10 Soles, nothing more.

The meals are super cheap, especially compared with the restaurants in Miraflores or the city centre. We were paying around 70 soles ($21US) for 3 big meals, 2 snacks and few beers.

Far away from the  touristic attractions , this is your chance to have an authentic local experience, both culinary and cultural, experimenting the best ceviche in Lima.

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Written by Oana

I'm Oana, the storyteller behind the Romglish Vagabond. I am inspired by mental alchemy, mindfulness, creativity and exuberance. My enthusiasm for travelling helped me discover this spectacular planet with its myriad of cultures and places, but more importantly is providing guidance to a better, healthier and more grateful me. Thanks for joining me on my journey!

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