According to chef Carlos Moreira, the concept behind this former pop-up kitchen is “contemporary Peruvian street food.” But make no mistake: Oakland’s first high-end Peruvian restaurant serves elegant, labor-intensive cuisine. You can see Moreira’s skill in everything from the precise knife work on the refreshing cold quinoa salad to the pulpo al olivo, which features the briny essence of olives distilled into something as airy and light as a cloud. The pescado al ajo (fried whole fish in garlic sauce) is the most wonderful, and soulful, of the entrées. But any conversation about Pucquio needs to begin and end with its cebiches, especially the spicy, multi-textured, perfectly balanced Mixto: raw shrimp, tender cubes of California sea bass, whole squid, soft yams, and, to top it all off, a fried shrimp head. It’s the cebiche we’ll use to judge all future cebiches.

— Luke Tsai


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Price: $$$

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