Cured tuna heart has a wild, oceanic presence, a mineral-tinged bite. It's a turbulent flavor that, like fish sauce or raw onions, needs to be treated with delicacy. Incanto's spaghettini with tuna heart, egg yolk, and parsley ($11/$17) was overcooked and off-balance — smothered in black shavings of tuna heart, with one lone yolk dispatched to mitigate its potency.

To encounter beef heart with any regularity, another tour of the city's Peruvian restaurants is in order. Antonio Castillo, co-owner of Limon and Limon Rotisserie, says that beef-heart anticuchos began as a popular street food dish that has since moved into restaurants. (Anticucho is Quechua for "cut stewed meat.") La Mar Cebicheria (Pier 1 1/2, the Embarcadero), Inkas (3299 Mission), and Destino (1815 Market), all serve anticuchos. At Mochica (937 Harrison at Fifth St., 278-0480,, chef Carlos Altamirano slices beef heart meat to the thickness of an orange peel, then threads it onto skewers and marinates in a dense red chile paste ($11 at lunch, $12 at dinner). Underneath the grill-caramelized, fiery marinade pulses the unmistakable flavor of beef heart.

Caitlin Kuhwald

Location Info


The Alembic

1725 Haight
San Francisco, CA 94117

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Haight/ Fillmore


312 Eighth Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94118

Category: Restaurant > Japanese

Region: Richmond (Inner)


1550 Church
San Francisco, CA 94131

Category: Restaurant > Italian

Region: Castro/ Noe Valley


937 Harrison
San Francisco, CA 94107

Category: Restaurant > Latin American

Region: South of Market

Limon Rotisserie

1001 S. Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94110

Category: Restaurant > Peruvian

Region: Mission/ Bernal Heights

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But to taste the heart mostly unadorned, you should order the anticuchos de res ($8.25) at Limon Rotisserie (1001 South Van Ness at 21st St., 821-2134, There, chef Martin Castillo cuts the beef into diamonds and rubs them with garlic, ground aji panca chiles, and salt. The thinnest edges of the beef char on the grill, the spice-crust blackening as if it has become crystallized smoke, but the center of the meat remains deep red. There is a thrum of liver in the flavor, but it vibrates on the sub-bass level, under the true taste of the heart.

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How come you didn't mention Mi Lindo Peru? which is older than any of those Peruvian places listed. They make excellent anticuchos, better than Mochica. Just to add to the list above, you can also find anticuchos at Destino, Piqueos, Fresca (seasonal) and others.

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