The restaurant takes its name from the cuisine that merges Peruvian ingredients, like ají amarillo peppers, with Japanese preparation techniques — a fusion resulting from Japanese immigration to South America at the end of the 19th century.
Executive chefs and co-owners Daniel Silva and Michelangelo Miceli (both also from Barranco) spearhead the menu at Nikkei, which features an array of tapas-style dishes, such as ceviche in a ponzu sauce, filet mignon tataki spiced with togarashi seasoning, tuna tartare dressed in aji amarillo, chirashi brightened with leche de tigre (a spicy, citrusy marinade), and rib tonkatsu slathered in an adobo sauce traditional to Peru’s Arequipa region.
On the drinks front, there’s a crop of classics, including pisco and maracuya (passion fruit) sours, plus more than a dozen original cocktails, many of them garnished with herbs and flowers grown in the restaurant’s backyard. They’re featured alongside a variety of natural wines and sakes.
The restaurant’s 1,380 square feet can accommodate 70 diners, with an additional 40 outside. Previously housing Café Les Entretiens, a fixture in the neighbourhood for 42 years, the space has been revamped by local firm Rebel Design, with plush velvet seating, fish scale mosaic tiling, and dark, charcoal-coloured wood surfaces made according to a Japanese charring technique called shou sugi ban.
Have a look inside:
Nikkei opens on Thursday, June 23, and will operate daily from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. at 1577 Laurier East.