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Sep 16, 2007 04:47 PM

Best Peruvian

Where's the best Peruvian in LA - not in the Valley or the OC. I'm talking stuff like down-home lomo saltado, aji de gallina, and arroz con pollo, maybe some good empanadas thrown in there. Thanks!

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  1. Four come to mind. I'm partial to El Rocoto by 99 Ranch on Artesia in Gardena. Great ahi but the el rocoto is great as well. They do all the standards plus some pretty decent (but not mind-blowing) Chinese as well. The ocope a la arequipena is so good that we usually order two. Their alfajores take up the better part of a tea saucer and is definitely worth ordering if you like these things.

    Second would be Kotosh at Kamiyama on Lomita and Pennsylvania in Lomita. Not only do they do good Peruvian, they also do sushi quite well too. I like their seafood offerings like their mixtos/mixtas but like other good Peruvian places, their papas apps are too hard to pass up.

    Third would be the El Pollo Inka on Hawthorne in Lawndale. I know, why El Pollo Inka? This particular location is reputed to use a wood-burning stove for their chicken. I say this with the fact that I haven't eaten here but with great intention to do so.

    Fourth would be Los Balcones del Peru in Hollywood. Again, I haven't eaten here but on good word from one of our most reliable Chowhounds, SauceSupreme, it should hum your dinger.

    2 Replies
    1. re: bulavinaka

      El Pollo Inka is reputed to use a wood-burning stove? The flames are visible from 100 yards away!

      Good list, though. I would probably add Lola's in Glendale, and for chicken only, the inimitable Pollo a la Brasa.

      1. re: condiment

        That's what I thought as well... but according to some who go to the Lawndale location, they use a wood-burning oven just at this location.

    2. Haven't tried Los Balcones, but I'm partial to Mario's Peruvian. Great ceviche and saltado de camarones. Also, awesome beef fried rice.

      1. I've tried Los Balcones de Peru, Mario's Seafood and Don Felix and of the three, I like Los Balcones de Peru the best.

        Blog Entry:


        1. My wife (who is Peruvian) and I had El Salto del Fraile in Downey cater our wedding in May. The food was really excellent. I am especially partial to their tiradito. It is similar to a ceviche but has a light yellowish sauce from the use of aji amarillo. They also make a very nice causa (cold potato cake). At our wedding, we also had escabeche de pescado and seco de carne that were both very popular. They also have a number of Chinese influenced ("Chifa") dishes, including a really delicate shrimp fried rice (Arroz chaufa).

          My wife tells me that there is a Chinese/Peruvian chef who comes in at 2:00 in the afternoon, and that it is better to wait for him before ordering.

          7639 Firestone Blvd. Downey, CA 90241 (562) 928-6395

          1. I'm shocked no one has mentioned Marios... I've been to Balcones and love El Pollo Inka (for chicken only), but Marios has the all around best grasp of the dishes...

            9 Replies
            1. re: Dommy

              VelParmGuy did.

              Mario's just opened another branch in La Mirada, right by my parents' house. It looks a hell of a lot nicer than the one in LA, but that's just the OC strip mall creep effect. I'm just hoping the prices aren't too much higher.

              For the record, I enjoy both Don Felix and Mario's. I don't eat Peruvian a lot because, well, there's so much out there to eat, but when I do, it's usually one of those two spots.

                1. re: aimeekm

                  Next to Mike's on Imperial and Santa Gertrudes. It's across the street from the plaza with that Halloween store and Beach Bums. There was another Peruvian place there for a little while that didn't make it.

              1. re: Dommy

                Hey Dommy!, hope you and P. are well. Don't know if you've tried El Rocoto, but if you haven't, give them a shot. I started out eating Peruvian at El Pollo Inka back in the late 80s thinking that they were the only game in town for this cuisine. Then I heard about Mario's from a friend and found them to be great - until I went to El Rocoto. I find the flavors there are fantastic with alot less of the oil that Mario's seems to use liberally in their cooking. I don't know - maybe it's a personal taste issue, but I give El Rocoto high marks...

                1. re: bulavinaka

                  yup. i dont eat at marios anymore. but i wont say no to leftovers

                  1. re: modernist

                    If I lived close to Mario's, I'd probably eat there without any complaints. Since El Rocoto is closer, alot easier to get to and has better parking, it's a slam dunk for me when I compare the food as well.

                  2. re: bulavinaka

                    Interesting-- I've always found El Rocoto to be somehow greasier/less fresh than mario's, though I admit that Mario's is also not light on the oil. I haven't been to El Rocoto in a long time, though, after a couple experiences with not very fresh seafood and very dried out lomo--evidently those were just anomalous experiences? I'm totally partial to Mario's cebiche, myself, and the parihuela. (And their saltado de mariscos, though a bit greasy, has always seemed quite fresh!)

                    1. re: another_adam

                      Maybe we both caught each in some kind of grease warp... I'm not sure when you were there but I did hear that the owner was away for a while - back in Peru as well as busy opening up the second place in Cerritos - maybe you were unfortunate enough to have eaten there at those times? Not to make excuses though - quality shouldn't suffer drastically if the owner takes leave; otherwise, he shouldn't leave, right?

                    2. re: bulavinaka

                      We had an early dinner at Kotosh at Kamiyama tonite. My BIL from Singapore (who is a classic hard-to-impress with US food kinda Singaporean) wanted us to take him to try some food that would be unavailable in Singapore - one of the world's food capitals. I was so happy and relieved that he was amazed. As much as I enjoy Peruvian cuisine, I wasn't sure if it would do anything for him. If Peruvian cuisine can stun and swoon the tastebuds of someone who lives in Singapore, then my hat is off to Kotosh's chefs, and Kotosh was truly on their game tonite. In fact, I think El Rocoto will now have to take a backseat to Kotosh, as they just seem to taste better each successive time I go there. And the reason we went for an early dinner? To catch Chantilly across the street for cream puffs before they closed. But for today, the ceviches and saltodos were the heroes.