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Peruvian Food in San Diego

It's Independence Day in Peru (family grew up there) so I have a hankering for some Peruvian food. Has anyone tried Nazca Grill or Latin Chef? I drive by Latin Chef often, but it looks like it's not strictly Peruvian food and instead a combo of Peruvian, Brazilian and other latin cuisine, which makes me hesitant to try. I'm sure I won't find Papa a la Huancaina like my grandmama makes them, but a close second would be nice.

Any suggestions? Reviews of the two restaurants mentioned?

Thank you in advance!!!

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Latin Chef
1142 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

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  1. I've been to both. I'm not an expert on Peruvian by any means, but I enjoyed the experience at Latin Chef a lot more.

    At Latin Chef they gave some free toasted corn appetizer thing (like corn nuts). I also thought the food was prepared to be much tastier.

    At Nazca, I felt the food was overpriced and the rice was way overcooked. The only way I could eat the food was to keep adding the house made sauce thing which was like a mayo infused with a bunch of herbs.

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    Latin Chef
    1142 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

    1 Reply
    1. re: karaethon

      agree Latin Chef is the best of SD's weak Peruvian cuisine.

      http://www.thelatinchef.com/peruvianm...

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      Latin Chef
      1142 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

    2. Both are not bad with Latin Chef the better choice (Bazca is doing some dishes well like the pollo a la brasa) but both are not on the same level as Q'ero in Encinitas which is much more refined Peruvian cooking

      3 Replies
      1. re: honkman

        Here's what I'd look for in Peruvian cuisine, anything close Mr. Honkman? Unfortunately, this is my baseline.

        http://www.rinconlimenorestaurant.com...

        1. re: cstr

          It's hard to compare to a restaurant I never visited but I have a Peruvian coworker who said that Q'ero was similar to some of the better restaurants in Peru and that when she had visitors from Peru who once in awhile want to eat good Peruvial food she would always go to Q'ero and her guests liked it. As chezwhitey mentioned Q'ero is expensive compared to places in LA as they don't really have competition for refined Peruvian food in SD

          1. re: honkman

            I'll definitely make a trip to Q'ero. Might have to wait for a weekend evening though, Encinitas isn't far, but it's far enough to make it a little bit of a trek for a typical work night.

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            Q'ero Restaurant
            564 S Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, CA

      2. I'm not a fan of nazca. Q'ero in encinitas is nice, but expensive. Nothing on par with el pollo inka or mo chica from l.a. down here in terms of price/quality ratio.

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        Q'ero Restaurant
        564 S Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, CA

        1 Reply
        1. re: chezwhitey

          I've been to el pollo inka in L.A. and I really enjoyed it. It's such a shame it sounds like we don't have anything comparable! Looks like I might be heading to the grocery store and cooking myself tonight.... Or I'll give Latin Chef a try.

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          Latin Chef
          1142 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

        2. I don't recall ever having Peruvian food but going to Nazca, Machu Picchu and Lima soon and friends say that I should eat at a few Peruvian restaurants before I go because it is an acquired taste..along with the guinea pig dishes..that will never happen.
          I've seen Latin Chef for so many years and seems to get a lot of love on this board...Q'ero too.

          Happy Independence Day to you and your family Andrea..

          2 Replies
          1. re: Beach Chick

            Unless the little guinea piggy is formed from a block of tofu! Skip Nazca, try either Latin Chef or Honkman's suggestion, which I will soon, and go to Q'ero. I think you'll find Peruvian chow, especially when you're in Peru, to be very flavorful and well prepared, especially their soups and stews. Not too many meatless options.

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            Latin Chef
            1142 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

            Q'ero Restaurant
            564 S Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, CA

            1. re: Beach Chick

              I'm not sure what your friends are specifically referring to Peruvian food having an acquired taste. We had an outstanding high end dinner at Sumaq Hotel in Aguas Calientes and another very good one in the Sacred Valley. One our way to Aguas Calientes we stopped at a small touristy place for lunch buffet which had things like white bean salad w/ an olive oil-lime juice dressing. We could identify every dish, for what that's worth. In Lima, we stuffed ourselves at La Mar Cebicheria, which has every variation of cebiche you can imagine.

              None of the food was that "exotic." If you're accustomed to Latin flavors and spices, then you'll be fine.

            2. +1 Q'ero

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              Q'ero Restaurant
              564 S Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, CA