With four restaurants across Lima, La Choza Nautica is one of the city’s best known destinations for ceviche and seafood. So after a typically tedious few hours at the nearby Peruvian immigrations headquarters, I decided to brighten up my day with lunch at the oldest La Choza Nautica in Lima, located in the Breña District.
Classic Ceviche in a Modern Setting
If you’re used to the typically rustic cevicherias of coastal Peru – those with wooden floors, fishing nets on the walls, and a constant stream of creole music – then you might be surprised by the altogether modern appearance of La Choza Nautica.
With its shiny tiled floor, white walls, metal chairs and glass-topped tables, this is undeniably a departure from the traditional atmosphere of a classic Peruvian cevicheria. With the exception of a few shells here and there, La Choza Nautica is a bright, airy restaurant with few of the typical cevicheria motifs, where the musica criolla has been replaced with the sound of clinking cutlery and chattering middleclass diners.
As a man who likes the old-school cevicherias and their heady seafood-infused air, it seemed a little odd to be sat in what was almost a blank canvas of a space, with a large flat screen TV on an otherwise unadorned white wall in the second floor dining area.
It seemed odd, but at the same time it definitely worked. La Choza Nautica is clean-lined rather than characterless; it’s almost trendy but nowhere near uptight. If you sometimes worry about the hygiene in cevicherias, especially considering the whole raw fish side of things, then the comparatively minimalist and spotless nature of La Choza Nautica will probably put your mind at ease.
Picante de Mariscos at La Choza Nautica
I ordered one of my all-time cevicheria favorites at La Choza Nautica: picante de mariscos (S/.28). This seafood and shellfish medley in a mildly spicy sauce is a good test for any chef; get the sauce wrong – too thick, too thin, too hot, too mild -- and it just doesn’t work.
My dish arrived after a reasonable wait and it looked just about right, with a rich color and no skimping on the shellfish. Baby octopus, squid, shrimp and two small scallops vied for attention around the central dome of white rice. And it was good, very good – not the best picante de mariscos I’ve ever had, but quite possibly in the top three, which is no mean feat at all.
Casually peering around the packed dining room, I saw a whole range of tasty-looking dishes coming out from the kitchen, including crispy deep-fried fish jaleas (S/.28 to S/.43), spicy bean and rice tacu tacus (S/.27 to S/.39), thick fish broth chupes (S/.25 to S/.36), and vibrant-looking ceviches (S/.28 to S/.39). The range of different ceviches and tiraditos on the menu was impressive, with everything from classic ceviche and mixed ceviche to “erotic ceviche” and a tempting four seasons ceviche with aji amarillo and conchas negras.
La Choza Nautica Review Round-Up
If you like ceviche but tend to shy away from eating it in traditional markets and rustic restaurants, then you’ll probably like the style, service and the cleanliness at La Choza Nautica (www.chozanautica.com).
The food is fresh and the chefs certainly know what they’re doing, and the prices are reasonable for a restaurant of this type in Lima.
La Choza Nautica Locations:
La Choza Nautica has four locations in Lima. The oldest restaurant, located in Breña, was opened in 1993.
- Breña – Av. Breña 200-204 (tel. 423 8087)
- Lince – Ac. Brigadier Pomacahua 2374 (tel. 472 5234)
- San Miguel – Rafael Escardo 935 (tel. 452 2829)
- Santa Anita – Flamencos 238 (tel. 363 0567)