Monday, December 10, 2007


A new restaurant opened up in the Casona de Santa Catalina recently. Recently we had time to go check it out. They've sent out some fliers lately calling the place a 'restaurante & cafe' and saying "A good wine is for sharing. A good restaurant too."

The wine list was decent for Arequipa, but nothing too special (not close to anything found in Lima). There was one good Spanish wine, some good Argentine and Chilean wines, and some decent Peruvian wines. We were disappointed that they do not stock Tabernero (our favorite Peruvian vineyard).

We ordered an Ocucaje white wine, knowing not to expect anything amazing. It was served at room temperature and only chilled after the first glasses of wine had been poured. So, unfortunately, our first glass was warm and a little disappointing. The 2nd glass after being chilled was better. For a restaurant who supposedly specializes in wine, it's hard to understand how they don't keep their white wines chilled.

The environment was enjoyable. We sat in a comfortable booth that had a sort of 'sofa' feel. The pillows were a comfortable addition. Each table has a candle and there is a good deal of art. I'd say that you could call the place 'romantic' or a good location for a date. On a Saturday night, things were pretty quiet. There were a few couples spread out through the restaurant. The music was decent, but could have used a better selection (something more Peruvian). The volume was good. Service was attentive and the food was prepared quickly.

We had Soltero de queso for an appetizer. It was good. There were no habas (Lima beans), but we were still quite happy with it.

For the main course, I had Tiradito de Corvina (Seabass) and my wife had Asado de res con creama de quinua (Roast beef over cream of quinoa). The cuts of meat in the tiradito were good, but the seasoning was a bit overpowering in the salt and spice department. It was lacking in the spicy (picante) department. They also appeared to be trying 'their own' style of tiradito (or their blender was broken). In the end, the fairly to properly mix the flavors nearly ruined an otherwise great piece of seabass.

The first piece of asado was quite tasty and not dry or tough at all. Great! The 2nd and 3rd pieces of asado were a bit too dry, but not tough. While I'm not a big fan of asado, my wife thought it was decent. The creama de quinua, on the other hand, she did not enjoy as it was sweet almost like a dessert. I thought it tasted pretty good for a dessert, but also expected something more on the traditional (salty) side to accompany the roast beef.

Quality: 5
Flavor: 3
Presentation: 4
Selection: 8
Value: 4
Environment: 7
Overall: 5

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