South America Living

La Perla Restaurant

Authentic Peruvian Cuisine in Cartagena

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After centuries of fending off pirates and buccaneers, Colombia’s Jewel, Cartagena de Indias, the pearl of the Caribbean, has become more than used to invasions of one kind or another.

In the past years, the city of Cartagena has been transformed from No-Go to Must-Go and it now receives more than 250,000 visitors each year and rising. As a result of this increase in visitors the demand for a more sophisticated culinary selection was created.

Enter the new pirates and buccaneers….the Peruvians. Let’s face it, Peruvian Cuisine is all the rage these days — the world over, and Caratagena is no exception. Rife with the freshest Caribbean seafood — it just makes sense. And the number of establishments touting their ceviche just may astound you.
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Move over pretenders — let’s shine a light on trendy La Perla. La Perla was actually the first spot in the 16th century historic district to put Cocina Nuevo Andina on the menu. And quite right too. As a person who has travelled extensively in Peru, I can attest to La Perla’s authenticity.

Famed for it’s Tiraditos — thin strips of tuna or sea bass cured in tiger milk — think sashimi with a picante sauce — I ordered a tiradito of sea bass as a starter. Admittedly the fish was super fresh and the taste was quite good. Not nearly as picante as I had expected, and definitely drowned in the sauce. Why do restaurants feel like they have to do that?

Entrees were much better. Excellent fresh fish prepared in ways that show off the fusion of gastronomic ties between Peruvian and Asian cuisines. There were also meat and pasta entrees available on the menu. All beautifully plated:
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I found the service at La Perla not very personalized. The restaurant was pretty full — it was Mother’s Day — and clearly there were many regulars in attendance, which may be why my service suffered a bit. The waiter may have been new as well —and he simply did not engage. Unlike my experience at La Vitrola where I felt like a had a new found friend in my waiter, Javier.

La Perla also offers an extensive menu of cocktails including Pisco Sours, a personal favorite. The drink was fine, but nothing to write home about. I didn’t have second — which is noteworthy for me. Dessert, a smooth Suspiro Limeño was excellent, and I typically don’t care for sweets.
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The price of the meal was average for Cartagena. The ambiance was very cool and the restaurant is decorated in whites and sea blues And this is definitely a popular spot. I recommend having an LLL (Long, Leisurely Lunch) at La Perla. You won’t need a reservation for lunch, but if you decide to go for dinner — a reservation is a must! No dress code.

And as always….Buen Provecho!

La Perla:
Address: 4 – 42 Calle de Ayos, Centro Historico, Cartagena, Colombia
Phone Number: 6642157
Open Daily 12 PM – 11 PM




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