I am going to be spending the next three weeks in Lima and will try to give some reviews of restaurants I visit, especially restaurants that have not received much coverage on Chowhound.
First up is El Carajito, located at Jose Leal 825 in Lince (telephone 472 6656). I took a cab there from Miralfores and the cost was 9 soles and the ride was about ten minutes). This place was recommended to me by a taxi driver when I asked him a good place for ceviche that was not too expensive. Coincidentally, the next day when I was watching tv, El Carajito was featured on a program that highlights various “huecos” (hole in the walls) in Lima.
El Carajito is definitely a hole in the wall, but in the nicest sense. It is small, narrow and rustic but has a nice vibe. We went on Sunday afternoon and the line was out the door. I got the sense that the restaurant is always crowded but that it was even more crowded due to it being featured on tv that morning.
I was very impressed with the food and the prices. We started with their house ceviche (Cevich El Carajito). This ceviche differed from the usual ceviche in that the sauce, while definitely including lots of lime juice, was primarily based on aji amarillo (yellow chile). It included fish, shrimp, octopus and calamari. Also, on the side of the dish was a small cup of ceviche de conchas negras (black clam). This dish cost 26 soles (approximately $9.50). It was probably my favorite dish we tried.
My second favorite dish was their fettuccini al marinera (seafood fettuccini). This was a fettucini in a white cream sauce with a variety of seafood and ham. I thought this was an incredible bargain at 20 soles (approximately $7.30).
We also tried a parihuela (seafood boulibase)(21 soles, approximately $7.69) and a combination plate of rice with seafood served with a side of chicarron de pescado (fried fish) (22 soles, approximately $8.06). Both were fine renditions, especially the chicarron which was expertly fried and moist.
For those looking to explore a bit outside the usual tourist zones and experience a more rustic (and affordable) location, El Carajito would make an excellent choice. Pics of the ceviche and fettuccini attached.