Limon y Sabor Peruvian Seafood is a no-frills fonda (neighborhood eating joint) filled with Peruvian families. The name means “lemon and flavor,” although in Spanish limon can also mean lime, and both citrus are used here. Most of the tables are in front, but there is a communal table in back near a small lounge with a wall-size poster of Machu Pichu.
Liberty Daza does a little of everything while her husband, Jorge Castaneda, runs the kitchen. Both are from the Andean region of Peru, and came to Miami nine years ago to join relatives. They worked in several other Peruvian places before opening Limon two years ago.
Peruvian cuisine melds native corn, potatoes and chiles with rice, wheat and meat brought by the Spanish plus influences from West African, Asian and Italian arrivals. Chinese who came to work on the railroads used local ingredients to create hybrid “chifa” dishes, from the Mandarin term “to eat rice.”
Start with boiled spuds smothered in creamy green ocopa sauce made from cooked shrimp, cheese, roasted peanuts and huacatay (black mint) or octopus in lavender olive cream. Causa (from the native Quechuan “kausaq”) is molded potato salad tinted golden with ají amarillo and layered with avocado and chicken or shrimp in mayo sauce. Most fish dishes including ceviche are made with swai, the Thai name for a freshwater tropical catfish with a mild taste.
Main dishes include parihuela (hearty fish and shellfish chowder), tacu-tacu (mashed, fried beans and rice) served with seafood in sauce, and tallarin verde (linguine in pesto sauce) twirled in a cone and plated with grilled steak or chicken. There’s also fried rice with shrimp or beef and whole fried snapper.
Wash it all down with Cuzquena beer or sweet Inka Cola flavored with lemon verbena, and end with pumpkin fritters in syrup.