El Mercado is touted as one of Lima's best cevicherias, but it was mostly a disappointment.
The restaurant is the "it" place to be seen if your part of Lima's upper crust. And that was all I got from the experience, just appearance and no real substance.
We arrived at 12:30, relatively early for lunch by Peruvian standards, but there was already a line. We figured this was a good sign of things to come, but we were mistaken. The hostess was arrogant and scoffed at us when we didn't have a reservation, even though the place had just opened and there was plenty of space. There service was terrible, our waitress seemed overwhelmed by the volume of people. We had to send up flares to get her attention, and when we did, it took her forever or she got it wrong. I had to ask 3 times for a Coke, only to be given a Coke Zero after 15minutes of waiting. The food was just ok, nothing worth all the hassle we encountered. The ambience is controlled chaos with so many people vying for a table.
Overall we felt La Mar or even Pescados Capitales had equally, if not better, ceviche, but the difference is the service. La Mar's servers are professional and courteous, El Mercado, we felt like we were just herded in and out at their convenience. As if it was a privilege they let us into their club. Lima has better ceviche to offer, skip the hype.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.