HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


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!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  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.

                  3. I vote for Pollo Inka also! Can never go wrong with the Saltado there. I always have a hard time ordering though because everything they bring out looks so good. I've noticed that a couple of Farmers Markets there's been a Peruvian food vendor...I'm thinking Culver City and Santa Monica. Anyone know if it's any good?

                    1. links

                      Los Balcones Del Peru
                      1360 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                      Pollo A La Brasa Western
                      764 S. Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90005, USA

                      Lola's Peruvian Restaurant
                      230 N Brand Blvd, Glendale, CA 91203

                      Kotosh at Kamiyama
                      2408 Lomita Blvd, Lomita, CA 90717

                      Mario's Peruvian & Seafood
                      5786 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

                      El Rocoto
                      1356 Artesia Blvd, Gardena, CA 90248

                      El Pollo Inka
                      23705 Hawthorne Blvd, Torrance, CA 90505

                      Don Felix Restaurant
                      4435 Fountain Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029

                      El Salto Del Frayle
                      7639 Firestone Blvd, Downey, CA 90241

                      Mario's Peruvian
                      15720 Imperial Hwy, La Mirada, CA 90638

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: badseed

                        i've been to most of them and
                        el rocoto gets my vote. they dont have tiradito thought, which is a bummer...
                        their causas are flat which is a bit odd, but taste pretty good..
                        i also like the arroz con mariscos and t heir cebiche...

                        1. re: badseed

                          Don't bother with Don Felix. We tried it a few weeks ago and it was totally uninspired and the wait staff didn't even seem to be familiar with basic Peruvian cuisine.

                          1. re: Cubancoffee

                            i've heard that the don felix just in los feliz does a very authenic peruvian breakfast for the church goers.... early morning style... im not sure what food that means...

                        2. Is Qusqo (in West LA ) in the conversation? I liked their lomo saltado quite a bit.

                          1. I've always liked El Salto Del Frayle in Downey on Firestone Blvd. Homey in every sense of the word.

                            Not Peruvian, but my the empanadas at Empanada's Place in Mar Vista? (Sawtelle and Venice) are so delicious, I have to limit how often I go there. The alfajores are really nice, too.

                            1. I like Pollo Inka for their chicken and thought El Rocoto in Gardena was OK for saltados, but recently had a very good lunch at the small Inka House in Torrance. Roast chicken special included a wonderful chicken lime soup, rice, beans, and Inca cola. Everything tasted fresh, prices were very reasonable, and service was gracious. I would definitely go back next time in the area

                              Inka House
                              3879 Pacific Coast Hwy

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: Ernie

                                i like inka house also. nice and small. i havent been to all the peruvian places that everyone mentioned, but i do like el rocoto. the cerritos location has some different dishes then the location in gardena. Some people i work with are from peru and say that El Rocoto is the best peruvian in LA.

                                1. re: AGENT FOODIE

                                  El Rocoto is the best! It was highly recommended by peruvian/peruvian-chinese friends. I would drive down there instead of going to the one in Hollywood.

                                  1. re: AGENT FOODIE

                                    Ditto on the Peruvian friend connection. That's what my buddy from Peru says as well. But heck - I have to admit - other folks are ringing in about places I've never heard of. I'm sure these are worth trying as well... I think the Gardena area has added a couple newer Peruvian places that might be worth a go...

                                    1. re: AGENT FOODIE

                                      You say the Cerritos location of El Rocoto has different dishes than Gardena. Would you say one is better than the other, or are they both equally good but just with different menus?

                                      1. re: SauceSupreme

                                        they are both equally good. though the menus are slightly different. i could be wrong but the cerritos location i think has more dishes.

                                  2. Had late dinner at the El Pollo Inca in Hermosa Beach last night. Not as fancy as the one in Lawndale, Torrance. or Gardena but still crowded. Still like the one in Lawndale the best but as a warning, don't sit close to the brick oven. It gets pretty warm there. One thing about El Pollo Inca is that the food is consistent. Our favorite is the Saltado de marisco or sometimes the Lomo Saltado. Tried El Rocoto in Gardena a while back and thought it was just OK. El Pollo Inca still had them beat in my estimation.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Clinton

                                      Fair enough but I felt the total opposite... oh well. But I did stop by El Pollo Inka's Lawndale location last night and had the (what else) wood-roasted chicken - simply marvelous...

                                      The minimall where EPI is located is going through a facelift. It may look closed, but they are still open through it all - the oven is still burning hotter than ever...

                                    2. I already posted this as a new thread - and then saw this "Best Peruvian" and thought I would re-post it here. Hope that's OK . . .

                                      Excellent new Peruvian spot in Tarzana called Lima.
                                      Hidden in the back of shopping center on south side of Ventura - just West of Shirley in a spot that was a "supper club". Excellent food. More upscale than many Peruvian spots. The owners have brought an experienced chef from Lima. Wait staff all students originally from Peru and so proud of their culture - ready and enthusiastic ambassadors of the food.

                                      Excellent seafood and steak. Jalea, ceviches & tiraditos, tallarines & saltados. Delicious combo of rice and beans called "tacu-tacu" A new take on Spaghetti with a combination of alfredo and huancaina sauce - I love it as a side with shrimp saltado. Great seafood preps including a delicious maracuja (passion fruit) sauce. Authentic ingredients from Aji and Choclo and to Pisco sours and Chicha (Peruvian purple corn drink


                                      The only thing "missing" is the typical roast chicken that you find in most of the Mom & Pop Peruvian places around town - but you don't miss it. This place really kicks things up a notch. And in the Valley of all places!

                                      1. Interested in El Salto del Fraile - only one other reference: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/70382

                                        1. ps. i had a pretty tasty tiradito at kotosh in lomita. their cebiche wasnt as good as at el rocoto.