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Excellent Peruvian on Venice Boardwalk

It is called El Huarique. 1301 Ocean Front Walk, #10.

It is serious cooking in a most unexpected place. You have to enter this hallway that is I guess a food court. Seating is counter/bar style, no tables. They've been open for only 3 months.

I ordered a ceviche, as a matter of course. Juicy mussels, octopus, white sea bass, and shrimp. The fish changes based on what's available at the market, you get the feeling it isn't presliced halibut strips that they defrost.

El jefe let my friend and I sample the red corn chicha, with cinnamon and other flavors. I never order sodas or sweet drinks, but this was so good we both got one.

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    1. by the way, the nearby poke stand is good too.

      the peruvian joint also has a $4.99 special for the rotissserie chicken and sides.

      1 Reply
      1. re: kevin

        Upon reading this thread I started to wonder what happened to the Inka Deli guys that were on Venice, but had to shut down. I recalled they originally were on the boardwalk and upon trying their old website I ended up with El Huarique. Interesting. http://inkadeli.com/index.html

      2. There's also some decent Belgian-style truffled pommes frites a couple stalls over.

        Not half bad.

        1. I have ordered delivery from this restaurant twice through http://eat24.com/. The food was good both times. In my opinion, this is one of the better restaurants that delivers to Santa Monica--probably about as good as it gets for Santa Monica delivery after Ivy at the Shore and Hostaria Del Piccolo (through LABite).

          1. Very good. Talk about hold in the wall! It is about as literal a translation of that term as you can imagine. A food court? That sounds like a grand step up.

            The whole Mo-Chica experience (the first one that was really in a food court) was big fun; surprisingly upscale food for a de facto food court.

            But this location is really kind of an unbelievable dump (which is part of the charm) - and yet the food comes out beautifully plated and artfully-crafted. Tried a couple ceviche/cebiches. Excellent. Looking forward to going back. And trying everything. This is one fun funky find.

            Only problem is - there's no real place to eat the food except a couple of (mis-matched) barstools at a very shallow counter.

            1 Reply
            1. re: foodiemahoodie

              They told me they're working on getting investors for another location, westside, that will have tables.

            2. We tried this spot today after reading this review, and were not disappointed! We live just a few blocks away, but it really is so hidden that you'd never notice it among the "big slices of pizza" and crappy burgers. Food was amazing, hooray!

              1. This is a great little spot. I had the tiradito ceviche & the roasted chicken. They deliver or if you call for a pickup they will bring out your food to you since parking is tough there. I hope people find this hidden place.

                3 Replies
                1. re: bruinike

                  I wish I had read about the "curbside pickup" before trying to go there today. Spent 20 minutes circling those tiny Venice alleyways and could not find a spot...

                  1. re: PeterCC

                    damn, why don't you just park at the beach bar, grab a couple of beers then walk the half mile to the peruvian spot and you're good to go.

                    though i do not and vehemently do not condone this activity. :)

                    1. re: kevin

                      Gotta go back to work after...

                2. I and a friend decided to escape the Valley heat today, and went to Venice to check out El Huarique. This place has Puro Sabor, which has been my ceviche spot because of convenience, beat to hell. I had the Cebiche De Pescado and my friend had the Cebiche Passion Fruit. We shared the dishes. This is the best ceviche I have had since coming to LA 15 years ago. All the descriptions about it being a hole in the wall, hard to find, bad inside accommodations are true. We took ours outside, bought a couple of beers at a market nearby, plopped down on a convenient bench and had a great lunch with the cool ocean breezes adding to our pleasure. I recommend this place highly.

                  1. How does it compare to Mario's? Do they have saltado? Sounds great!

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: flowergirl

                      Yes they do. Saltado de Vegetales. Don't know Mario's

                      1. re: flowergirl

                        I've had both versions. It's been a while for Mario's but I still shudder at how oily it was. I had El Huarique's when he popped up at El Agave - great beefy flavor, nice seasoning and wok hei and not too oily. My only complaint was the portion size. But to be fair, this guy truly focuses on quality ans technique. This guy needs a financial backer to get him into a real space. He'd make a killing in the Westside where Peruvian food is almost nonexistent.

                        1. re: bulavinaka

                          Oh it's the Inka Deli guy!!!

                          I moved out of the area after that location closed but he told me he would be popping up again. He is awesome, his food is awesome, everyone should support this guy. I haven't had as good Peruvian food elsewhere in OC or LA after at least a dozen different places. This guy's legit, I'm happy for him!


                          1. re: BrewNChow

                            If you want to be knocked out - order a Piqueo - an assortment of food that comes on two plates. Could probably be shared by two people. Bring a camera.

                            1. re: foodiemahoodie

                              Posted my experience in your other thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/904429. Do you think they'll do a "piqueo" (you had spelled it "pique" in that post, which is correct?) to go?

                          2. re: bulavinaka

                            That was Venice Blvd, in an otherwise Oaxacan joint, right, bulavaka?

                            1. re: Ciao Bob

                              Yes sir, Ciao Bob. Been taking liberties in elaborating on Ciaogebra and Ciaonese. Forgive my arrogance - please!

                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                Arrogance? Forgive? I am laughing my kiester off.