Restaurant Reviews

La Mar

February 10, 2015

After being a bit surprised that I hadn’t been and hearing all the great things about La Mar, I decided to book a last minute reservation for my aunt and I because her delayed flight got in the way of our reservations for The House.

The Shut-Up-and-Give-it-to-Me-Quick Version: 

Good, not great.
I was underwhelmed, the food was good, but definitely overrated. It also was not something I would call Peruvian. The drinks and desserts, however, were great!

Hours:
Mon – Sun 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Sun – Wed 5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Thurs – Sat 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.

Happy Hour:
Mon – Sun 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.

The I-Like-to-be-Wrapped-Up-in-All-the-Details Version:

The restaurant is huge, it was 2 bar areas, a food counter, a large indoor seating area and an outside patio. Most people are coming from work, so the environment lends itself to business-casual attire.

We were seated right as we walked in and chose the patio area. The entire restaurant was extremely loud and I was constantly yelling just to be heard. They also had their back patio closed in which was nice, but the heaters were on so it was very hot. Our waitress wasn’t very friendly and it didn’t help that we had to repeat everything twice to be heard.

What we ate:

  • Peruvian Zombie ($13)
  • Bay Flower ($13)
  • Ceviche tasting ($34)
  • Pulpo ($19)
  • Lomo saltado ($32)
  • Choco Maracuya ($12)

Thoughts?

La Mar, Peruvian restaurant, San Francisco, SF, eat and escape, seafood, ceviche, lomo saltado, drinks, happy hour, plaintains, octopus, restaurant reviews

Instead of bread, La Mar brings out yucca, sweet potato and plantain chips. They don’t have a lot of flavor, but the orange sauce added a little spice.

La Mar, Peruvian restaurant, San Francisco, SF, eat and escape, seafood, ceviche, lomo saltado, drinks, happy hour, plaintains, octopus, restaurant reviews

The drinks were the best part of the meal. My drink, the Peruvian Zombie (the yellow one), made me feel like I was on a Caribbean beach enjoying the sun. The pineapple, orange, passion fruit and coconut flavors produced a tropical, but not-too-sweet drink. This cocktail was delicious!

La Mar, Peruvian restaurant, San Francisco, SF, eat and escape, seafood, ceviche, lomo saltado, drinks, happy hour, plaintains, octopus, restaurant reviews

The cebiche tasting includes four of their ceviches:

  • Classico (the one on the right) – halibut with red onion, habenero chile, and peruvian corn in a classic leche de tigre sauce. Leche de tigre is a citrus based juice that cures the fish. Traditionally, the sauce has a strong lemon flavor. This was probably my favorite because I like a more traditional cebiche. They were all very tasty, but if you are ordering just one, I don’t think I would enjoy bigger portions of the other cebiches as much.
  • Chifa (the one on the bottom) – yellowtail with peanuts, scallions, ginger, pickled carrots and daikon, habanero, wonton strips and cilantro in a sweet and sour sesame oil leche de tigre. This was good and I liked the crunch that the peanuts provided, but it overpowered the taste of the fish.
  • Nikei (the one on the left) – tuna, red onion, cucumber, daikon, avocado, nori, and sesame in a tamarind leche  de tigre. This tasted very good, but it wasn’t something I expected. The flavors were very intense and, as in the case of the Chifa, I felt the fish didn’t stand out enough.
  • Mixto (the one on the top) – calamari an ají amarillo leche de tigre with cilantro, red onion, habanero chile, Peruvian corn and yam. This cebiche was probably my second favorite; however, I didn’t like the Peruvian corn, it didn’t have any flavor and it didn’t add anything to the dish.

This was probably my preferred dish of the night. Getting to try the different cebiches was nice and the fish was extremely fresh.

La Mar, Peruvian restaurant, San Francisco, SF, eat and escape, seafood, ceviche, lomo saltado, drinks, happy hour, plaintains, octopus, restaurant reviews

The octopus was my least favorite part of this meal. It was all a bit mushy. The grilled octopus was served on top of herbed mashed potatoes topped with anticuchera sauce, sauteed choclo, Peruvian botija olive aioli with a chalaca chimichurri. The mashed potatoes tasted very good, but they didn’t go with the rest of the dish. It had a very warm, Mediterranean taste that didn’t seem to complement the octopus. The flavors fell a little flat and I felt it needed something more (citrus flavor maybe?). It definitely wasn’t worth the price and I wouldn’t recommend it.

La Mar, Peruvian restaurant, San Francisco, SF, eat and escape, seafood, ceviche, lomo saltado, drinks, happy hour, plaintains, octopus, restaurant reviews

Lomo Saltado is a traditional Peruvian stir-fry. I was really looking forward to it and although the meat was very tender, there were very few pieces and it wasn’t memorable. The fries were the best part, they were well cooked and soaked up all the meat juices without getting soggy.

La Mar, Peruvian restaurant, San Francisco, SF, eat and escape, seafood, ceviche, lomo saltado, drinks, happy hour, plaintains, octopus, restaurant reviews

The dessert, along with the drinks, are the only things that would entice me to return. This dessert was delicious!  The Choco-maracuya is passion fruit mousse layered with raspberry compote , chocolate mousse, and almond praline. It is plated with raspberry coulis and fresh raspberries. The chocolate mousse wasn’t too rich and the passion fruit mousse was absolutely delicious! The whole dessert was light, fluffy and amazing.

All in all, I wasn’t super impressed and would only go back to have drinks and dessert. The dinner was good, but it wasn’t anything spectacular. I thought it was overrated and it definitely didn’t feel like traditional peruvian.

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