Whenever there’s any talk of cevicheria’s in Lima, usually someone mentions Pescados Capitales. The name means Capital Fish, which is a play on the phrase Capital Sins (Sins in Spanish is pecados, which sounds almost like pescados). The menu, which is ginormous, is arranged around capital sins such as Greed, Gluttony, Vain, Ire, Envy, and others.
The atmosphere of the restaurant takes after almost every other lunch only cevicheria on Avenida La Mar (which are all plays on traditional cevicherias in Chorrillos and elsewhere along the Peruvian coast): rock gardens, part indoor/part outdoor, beamed ceiling with sunlight crawling through the cracks, lots of tables.
The menu is deep. To start, preferably as you sip on a Pisco Sour and peruse the menu, there is a nice array of classic cevicheria starters like Tequeños Capitales –fried triangular wantans stuffed with shrimp and egg – and Conchitas a la Chalaca – scallops in the shell with a splash of lime, red onion, tomato, and ají. If I had one choice though, it would be the Pulpo Adolescente a la parilla – grilled baby octopus served with asparagus. It’s full of flavor and grilled, usually, just right, though there have been cases of over cooking.
The menu lists the standard Chupe de Camarones and a few other soups, only missing is the Parihuela. The Chupe de Lenguado is a thick, rich chowder with several large chunks of Sole and an entire soft boiled egg within. The flavor is strong of the sea. The main courses are similar to standard cevicheria items, though they tend to incorporate classic French recipes and pastas a bit more often. Tacu Tacu de Lentajas (lentils), is a heaping portion of refried day old rice and beans and is served with a choice of Shrimp, mixed shellfish, or Sole (the restaurant and Lima’s prize fish). Grilled options include Salmon, Tuna, Sea Bass, and Swordfish, as well as Sole.
The Ceviche list, found in the piqueos part of the menu, is extensive and the most creative part of the menu. The Cebiche Gandhi takes on a South East Asian flavor with curry and mango chutney. Cebiche Mandela mixes tuna and Black cinch, which is a combination I’ve never seen elsewhere in Peru. Their house ceviche is served with Sole or Sole and Octopus, while their house Tiradito also uses Sole and can add on request Ají Amarillo or Rocoto pepper depending on how spicy you prefer yours.
For the final word, Pescados Capitales is an above average cevicheria with a creative theme behind the menu, which means it usually gets more talk than it deserves. Pescados Capitales is great, but not by any means the best cevicheria in Lima. In general, the quality is superb and the restaurant is not overly priced for as busy as it tends to be.
La Mar 13
Miraflores (Lima), Peru
Writer and photographer Nicholas Gill is the editor/publisher of New World Review. He lives in Lima, Peru and Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CondeNast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler, Afar, and Penthouse. Visit his personal website (nicholas-gill.com) for more information.