La Mar Cebichería Peruana, San Francisco
I first walked into La Mar Cebichería Peruana four years ago. I immediately felt that I have won the restaurant lottery. The moment I tasted the first bite of cebiche and took a sip of the perfect Pisco Sour, I knew that I would return. Simple, elegant, refined are defining characteristics of this fitting tribute to Peruvian and Asian fusion cuisine.
World-renowned visionary chef Gastón Acurio, opened La Mar to offer foodies a full immersion into authentic Peruvian flavors. He hired chef Victoriano Lopez, a champion of sustainable seafood and eco-friendly ingredients. Victoriano aims to inspire diners with a symphony of flavors and sensations. From his familiar traditional Peruvian fare to exceptional, inspired cuisine he prepares meals that can only come from a true artisan’s heart and mind.
Should you find yourself in San Francisco’s stunning waterfront district, don’t dare miss La Mar. Whether you pop in for a cocktail (their happy hour is the best in town) or sit down for a long relaxing meal, you will be most pleased.
AMBIANCE – 15/15 POINTS
Bright, airy, and contemporary décor with stunning views of San Francisco Bay.
It just doesn’t get any better.
FOOD – 45/45 POINTS
Offering a whirlwind journey through Peru, La Mar’s has something for everyone. Scrumptious seafood, marinated meats, and vegetarian delicacies abound. Their ceviches are beyond outstanding. Cebiche Clásico, prepared with halibut in a classic leche de tigre with red onion, habanero, Peruvian corn, yams, and Tiradito Gastón with Peruvian bay scallops and ají amarillo leche de tigre are so good that I can consume them daily. Chef Lopez’s passion for the freshest ingredients and sea-to-table cooking is evident. Visually the food is the feast for the senses. The flavors bespeak Peruvian inspiration merged with contemporary California cuisine.
Other favorites include the classics: Causa, a duo of whipped potatoes crowned with seafood (or vegetables) Lomo Saltado, a traditional Peruvian-style stir-fry of beef tenderloin, sautéed with onions, tomatoes, cilantro, garlic and soy sauce, topped with a fried egg, papas fritas and rice. The delicate whole fish is nothing short of pure delight and is large enough to share with friends.
DRINK – 25/25 POINTS
Many of La Mar’s cocktails celebrate Pisco’s renaissance in the modern cocktail scene. They are simple, straightforward and perfectly balanced. I believe that they make the best Pisco Sour in the city. I urge you to try them even if you think that you are not a Pisco fan. You might just be converted.
SERVICE – 15/15 POINTS
I have dined in La Mar at least a dozen times. Each time the service was excellent. I value quality and consistency equally. La Mar scores high marks for both.
I suspect that I will not award many restaurants a 100-point score. It’s not because I am exceptionally hard to please. It’s just rare to hit that perfect intersection of simple, yet complex, elevated, yet lacking pretense, gorgeously sexy, yet approachable and quintessentially delicious!