Part of the Huariques de Callao series
A Peruvian “Huarique” in English might best be described as a “hidden nook where food is served”. In a country like Peru where people have little in the way of resources, small simple non-pretentious restaurants called huariques are the norm. The port city of Callao, where some of the region ’s best seafood is landed, also has some of the best huariques. Many are very old and are locally very well known. In this series, we’ll visit the greats.
With thanks to Luis Arriola and Alejandro Garcia who wrote and translated the original article below.
There are so many restaurants offering excellent fish and seafood in Lima, clients have become very demanding. The owners of Bar Restaurant Rovira know this and their dedication is probably why this establishment in Callao has been in business for the last 97 years at the same location, Jirón Daniel Nieto 195, in the historic centre of Callao and very close to the Real Felipe fortress.
The current administrator, Alejandro Chuquimango, has been working there for the last 36 years. He began as a waiter and rose up through the ranks.
Owner Miguel Rovira is the inventor of the pejerrey fish sandwiches, anchovy appetizers, and mussel soup. Among many of the succulent dishes found on the menu is the tasty and spicy seafood and delicious one-pot stews.
This welcoming restaurant has fed mayors, presidents, and other members of the Peruvian elite for almost a century.
“Rovira is world-famous. Both locals and foreigners come to sample our sandwiches,” states don Miguel.
Apart from its culinary specialties, the Rovira is ensconced in an architectural jewel. The original floors are over 100 years old. As you enter, the small tiles, worn and discolored with age, gently descend towards the center of the restaurant, where another wood floor gently rises. Simply put, the floor of Rovira undulates like a gentle ocean wave.
“Because of this floor many of our clients say the restaurant has two sections: Perla Baja and Perla Alta . When they come, they tell us in which section they wish to eat,” explains Alejandro Chuquimango. Some of the tables and chairs are as old as the restaurant itself. Many customers enjoy eating their sandwiches seated on hundred-year old seats.
Bar Restaurant Rovira
Jirón Daniel Nieto 195
Note: Specialties include the pejerrey sandwich, mussel soup, and choritos a la chalaca (mussels in the style of Callao). Specialty cocktails include Sol y Sombra.