Normally you wouldn’t expect a beach town known for its surfing and parties to have any decent food beyond pizza and pasta, but Mancora, Peru, is definitely an exception to this rule. We recently spent 5 nights there relaxing and regaining our sanity, trying lots of unexpectedly delicious food throughout our stay.
Although we tried out many restaurants during our stay in Mancora, the following three stood out above and beyond the others and are definitely worth your time if you make it to this corner of Peru on your trip!
Sushi at Ganaha
This was our first sushi in over a year on the road, and it didn’t disappoint. The 30-piece combination (3 rolls) for 50 soles is a good deal (~$17.50 US) and enough food for 2 people. We tried the Thai roll which had mango, tuna, and avocado with a sweet and salty sauce on top. We were expecting Thai chili sauce on top based on the menu description so we were a bit let down, but it was still a good flavor combination. Our second roll had cream cheese, shrimp, and another fish and was great dipped in the honey soy sauce that they gave us on the side. Our favorite roll of all, though, was styled to taste like ceviche. This roll had shrimp and corvina (a type of sea bass commonly used in ceviche) inside, and a creamy citrus sauce on top to mimic the taste of ceviche marinade. So unique and tasty!
Lomo Saltado Fajitas at El Aji
If you visit El Aji, you must get the lomo saltado fajitas. Period. We ate there three times, and while other dishes were ok, the lomo saltado fajitas were one of those dishes for which I wish I could get the recipe. They were that good. Picture the most perfectly grilled beef so tender that it almost melts in your mouth, then top it with a soy/vinegar/red wine sauce that has an intriguing hint of sweetness. And if that isn’t enough to get your mouth watering, there are tomatoes, mushrooms, and onions also swimming in that delicious sauce, and it’s all topped with cheddar cheese and bacon. This alone would make a meal, but you get to stuff it inside tender, homemade corn tortillas and top it all off with pico de gallo and guacamole. Ahh! It’s so much food, you would be wise to split it with someone- if you trust that person to share fairly!
Unlike at El Aji, there isn’t one standout dish at Angela’s; everything is worth trying at this vegetarian-focused restaurant. Going to Angela’s was our daily lunch routine so we got to try lots of different dishes like homemade breads, fruit salads, crepes, veggie sandwiches, pizzas, salads, fruit juices, and smoothies. Fruit pizzas were an intriguing sweet/salty option with tomato sauce and cheese plus fruits like peaches, bananas, and dried figs. After being terrified of eating raw veggies anywhere else in Peru, the Greek salad here was a welcome dose of vitamins (they sanitize their fruits and veggies). The fruit juices, smoothies, and other cold drinks helped us cool off after being out in the intense sun. We particularly liked the strawberry/lime/yogurt smoothie and the spicy chicha morada.
There are probably dozens of other worthwhile restaurants that we didn’t even get to try, not to mention all of the almuerzo places and cevicherias that attract more locals than gringos. We were pleasantly surprised with all of the food we tried in Mancora- it’s more than just a surfing/party town!