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Peruvian Food in San Diego

a
andreasomething Jul 28, 2011 12:52 PM

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

  1. a
    andreasomething Aug 9, 2011 07:59 PM

    I have since been to both El Q'ero and Latin Chef. I was pleasantly surprised by both. As much as I really enjoyed Q'ero (the Aji de Gallina, one of my favorites, was wonderful!) I think I will be going to Latin Chef more often, only because it is much closer, the prices are extremely reasonable and the ceviche and lomo saltado were pretty darn good.

    Thanks for all of the input. My belly sincerely thanks you! It might not be the same as my Grandmama's cooking, but it'll do :)

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    Latin Chef
    1142 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

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

    1. e
      esquimeaux Aug 1, 2011 09:23 AM

      I'm from LA and Peruvian was part of my regular rotation. Latin Chef hits the spot for me, tastes just like home. Lomo and pollo saltado and ceviche are my usuals and they're great. I think you won't be disappointed!

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      Latin Chef
      1142 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

      2 Replies
      1. re: esquimeaux
        s
        stevewag23 Aug 7, 2011 01:23 PM

        Which dishes do you recommend?

        1. re: stevewag23
          e
          esquimeaux Aug 9, 2011 07:40 PM

          I always have to have fish or mixed seafood ceviche and lomo or pollo saltado. But I thought the food at Latin Chef was so good, I'd feel confident ordering anything. :)

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          Latin Chef
          1142 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

      2. b
        boltsfan Jul 31, 2011 10:51 AM

        +1 Q'ero

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

        1. Beach Chick Jul 29, 2011 07:16 AM

          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
            c
            cstr Jul 29, 2011 08:09 AM

            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.

            -----
            Latin Chef
            1142 Garnet Ave, San Diego, CA 92109

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

            1. re: Beach Chick
              d
              daantaat Jul 29, 2011 04:52 PM

              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. c
              chezwhitey Jul 28, 2011 02:58 PM

              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
                a
                andreasomething Jul 28, 2011 05:27 PM

                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. honkman Jul 28, 2011 01:45 PM

                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
                  c
                  cstr Jul 28, 2011 02:14 PM

                  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
                    honkman Jul 28, 2011 05:19 PM

                    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
                      a
                      andreasomething Jul 28, 2011 05:24 PM

                      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. k
                  karaethon Jul 28, 2011 01:20 PM

                  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
                    c
                    cstr Jul 28, 2011 01:44 PM

                    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

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