No trip to New Orleans would be complete without indulging in Creole, Cajun and Southern cuisine but, whatever you do, don’t stop there. Tito’s Ceviche & Pisco, the only 100% Peruvian restaurant in the city, is a palate-awakening experience. We visited a week before Mardi Gras and then again on Mardi Gras day and can’t stop thinking about it.
Self-taught Lima-born Chef Juan Roberto (Tito) Lock honed his restaurant skills at Casa Garcia, steakhouses in Fort Lauderdale, and at Mr. B’s Bistro in the French Quarter. In 2017, Tito and his wife/partner Tatiana opened the first Tito’s Ceviche on Magazine Street. Then last September, they opened a second location on St. Charles Avenue in what was once the St. Charles Tavern. They spent 18 months pouring their hearts into the renovation and the result is a bright, whimsically decorated restaurant filled with colorful murals and Peruvian art. It’s a great space for brunch, lunch or dinner as well as parties and special events.
Before we talk about the menu, let’s talk cocktails. At Tito’s, you’ll discover pisco brandy, the national spirit of Peru. Behind the bar on St. Charles, you’ll find a row of glass crocks filled with pisco infusions in all kinds of interesting flavors like blueberry and ginger, charred pineapple, lemon grass, Peruvian peppers, and grape. The piscos are used in drinks including their signature cocktail, the frothy and fabulous Pisco Sour.
Peruvian cuisine is a fusion of exciting fresh flavors and fascinating cultures that will bring your taste buds to life. Their ceviches are TDF. We started our Tito’s experience with the Tiradito Nikkei, made with sashimi grade tuna, lime, avocado, soy and sesame. We also tried the Tiradito Maracuya with salmon, aji limo, and passion fruit. Both were phenomenal. It was a toss-up which we enjoyed more.
Next, we tried Loma Saltado, a traditional Peruvian entree, made with stir-fried marinated sirloin tips with onions, tomatoes and potatoes. The Grilled Octopus is delicious as well, served with fried potatoes and a chimichurri sauce.
They also offer a sensational salad. The Ensalada Verde is made with local greens, avocado vinaigrette, cancha, queso fresco and your choices of shrimp, chicken or beef. We loved it.
To be honest, however, the dessert menu is what we can’t stop thinking about. At the top of our list is the Suspiro Limeño (“Sigh of Lima”). According to Peruvian poets, this creamy dulce de leche custard, topped with delightful meringue, is “sweet and light like a woman’s sigh.” It gets our vote for the best dessert in New Orleans. Don’t plan on ordering one for the table and sharing. You’re going to want your own.
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