Down the road from the touristic Plaza Serrano turnabout, SIPAN has taken over the bottom level of the Palermitano Hotel, whipping up Peruvian-Japanese fusion delectables. Upscale Peruvian seems a bit oxymoronic to me. Dropping a hefty centavo on a plate of fancy ceviche just isn’t right when you can get a version just as delicious for half the price at a more traditional spot. But there’s a reason Sipan is mentioned as having some of the best Peruvian food in the city, so that time had arrived to finally check out what all this Sipan hype was about. I guess there’s a few things that have made Sipan a Buenos Aires ethnic restaurant classic: a full sushi bar with fresh fish and other ingredients flown in directly from Peru, top of the line cocktails, carefully chosen wine list, an inventive twist on Peruvian specialties, and beautifully designed restaurant in both Palermo and the microcentro. First thing to be dropped off at the table, a killer one-bite wonder, this crunchy bite sized bouche of wonton greatness was filled with salmon and smothered in a sweet and savory passion fruit tamarind sauce. What goes better with seafood than a hot citrusy sandy blonde? This Doña Paula Estate Sauvignon Blanc was a fabulous Peruvian pair.Thinly sliced white fish doused in the nikkei sauce (oysters, sesame oil, soy sauce, lime), the Tiradito Nikkei was a total winner with fresh fish bright flavors. Another house favorite is the Tiracuyá de salmón, thinly sliced piece of salmon in a passion fruit honey and Dijon sauce, it’s seriously the absolute awesomeness in pescado sweetness form.It’s a bit obligatory to order at least one type of ceviche at Sipan, as it is a cevichería. Despite my strong love towards cheap Peruvian restaurants, I can strongly attest that Sipan’s ceviche kicks most other BA ceviche out of the cancha. The Ceviche Mixto contains fresh octopus, white fish, huge chunks of salmon and clams, all showered in a special sauce, poured table side. In fact, all the sauces are poured by the mozo right at the table – talk about being serviced.The menu also includes about four different types of sushi rolls, each with a different Peruvian spin. The first roll that stood out on the menu had ají de gallina incorporated into it, a super interesting way to fuse the two cuisines. Just my luck that the shipment of ají didn’t make it to Buenos Aires, so no ají de gallina at all — because apparently there is no other place in the city to get it. Almost every other roll included the infamous sushi no-no Philadelphia cream cheese, so I went with the one roll that didn’t have the creamy white splooge: Roll Costa Verde with salmon tartare, a dash of sesame oil, lettuce and avocado wrapped with thin slices of salmon marinated in salsa Nikkei. Really delicious to try once, but I probably wouldn’t order again.It’s as if a pop art Mexican taquería with a fluorescent color theme mated with Moche adobe style artwork. The interior equipped with a comfy seating area, sushi bar and a loud graffiti-like art wall that keeps customers visually stimulated – especially with the word CHOTA written on the wall, which is probably referring to the city in Peru, but I couldn’t stop giggling while thinking it means a less appropriate slang word (#3, of course).Sleek design, natural light fills the restaurant at lunch with massive sky lights that are covered with beige panels. Cool, elegant, a place where you’d want to lunch for hours.The outdoor loungy patio should make some top ten list of the best outdoor eating areas in the city. So, bottom line: Sipan deserves all the hype. While it may be more expensive than other standard Peruvian restaurants in Buenos Aires, the interesting flavors of Peru-Japo fornication, extremely high quality fish and bomb-licking cocktails bring it up to the major leagues.
Sipan Cevicheria Peruana
The Palermitano Hotel
Uriarte 1649, Palermo Soho
Monday – Sunday: 12pm – 4pm, 8pm – 1am
Average price per person: AR$220
*Original review of Sipan seen on the Entaste blog.