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Excellent Peruvian food in L.A.?

Just returned home from Portland, OR where we had superb "novo"Peruvian food at Andina restaurant. Everything was wonderful from the terrific pisco sours, to the amazing potato dishes, to the seafood, etc., etc. Is there any such beast in L.A.? The few Peruvian restaurants I've thus far tried in southern CA are more like simple home style Peruvian food, and nothing like the very upscale and wonderful Andina? Is there something you would recommend in L.A.?

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  1. A good place to start for what you describe might be Mo-Chica downtown or Picca in the West LA area. Both have the same owner I believe.

    3 Replies
    1. re: bopdd

      Picca is the only decent restaurant out of all 3 of his places. Avoid Mo-Chica and Paiche is overpriced crap.

      1. re: Johnny L

        I still like Picca very much. Definitely missing the OG Mo-Chica (and not a fan of everything I've been hearing about the new one), though I have a feeling I'll still try the it eventually since it's so close to work. I liked Paiche when I went during its first month, but yeah it is EXPENSIVE (not worth price of admission).

        1. re: chrishei

          I don't think you've been back since Paiche augmented their portion size. That said, I'd probably still only go when they have their 20% off from 2:30 PM to 5 PM.

    2. I like Mo-Chica. Chef Ricardo Zarate does a good job with nuevo/upscale Peruvian. Fantastic take on tallarines con camarones


      1. Check out Paiche in Marina del Rey. Website: paichela.com

        1. You're in OC. Go to Casa Inka.

          Get the (in order of must haves)

          -chupe camarones- shrimp soup. Their version is probably the best I've had outside Lima. And that includes the spots in Miami

          -arroz con mariscos- seafood rice. Excellent.

          -Pescado a lo macho- fish fillet topped with seafood in cream sauce

          Not fancy or upscale but the flavors are as good as any of the fancy and upscale places you're looking for.

          Trust me ;-)

          1 Reply
          1. re: Porthos

            Thanks, Porthos. Will definitely go to Casa Inka . Have you been to Andina in PDX? It's wonderful!!

          2. Picca.in Beverly Hills is exactly what you're looking for.

            1. What about El Rocoto? They are kind of mid-brow, but have some fairly refined dishes that are miles above El Pollo Inka. I go to the one in Gardena, but they have one in Cerritos.

              1 Reply
              1. re: young_chower

                A Peruvian friend who had been to El Rocoto in Cerritos said the food quality is comparable to what you at El Huarique in a much nicer setting with more inventive dishes. He threatened to go to the one in Gardena tonight. He often flakes on such pronouncements but if he goes I'll tell you what he thinks.

              2. Has anyone here been to Andina in PDX? How do these southern CA recommendations compare?

                8 Replies
                1. re: josephnl

                  No, but I've been to La Mar Cebicheria and Pancita in Lima ;-)

                  1. re: Porthos

                    Thx...I trust you! Will go to Casa Inka. Do try Andina in you are in PDX!

                    1. re: Porthos

                      I still occasionally have wet dreams about La Mar's ceviche.

                        1. re: Porthos

                          i also enjoy sitting at the bar at astrid y gaston but i imagine you've tried it if you've tried la mar.

                          if you want to be adventurous it's possible to go to the docks and get ceviche and chicharron straight off the boats for lunch. tell a taxi to take you to "los pescadores" (and have them pick you up too since it's a bit outside miraflores). it's the only peruvian seafood i've had that compares to miami's.

                          1. re: j_gordon

                            so you're suggesting that miami peruvian seafood is better than peruvian seafood?

                            1. re: set0312

                              Honestly there's not much of a difference in my experience (which is growing up in Miami and having lived in Lima for 3 months one summer). Peruvian seafood is basically Lima's cuisine, but there's only a small part of Lima (two districts, Miraflores and San Isidro) that has people well off enough to go out and eat regularly. So there's less competition for top notch Peruvian seafood that you'd imagine.

                              Lima's haute cuisine is dominated by a couple. They opened a restaurant named after themselves (Astrid y Gaston) and have opened a fancy "Chifa" restaurant (Peruvian Chinese, which is surprisingly popular there) and a few other places around town, including La Mar, which probably serves the best ceviche I've ever had. So if we're considering just ceviche bowls, then there's a few restaurants in Lima that are better than anything you can get in Miami and certainly LA.

                              Miami has a nice group of "nuevo Peruvian" restaurants that serve ceviche-fusion type things, many of which are quite good. The wealthy Peruvians in Miami (there are many) have fairly high standards. There's also a few great seafood trucks.

                              The most critical thing is that Lima and Miami have great fresh fish available.

                              With that said, Peru's best food is in Lima, so Miami has better Peruvian food than many other cities in Peru - unless you really like guinea pig and alpaca.

                              1. re: j_gordon

                                Seriously thank you for the awesome write-up! Very informative and a super interesting read. Sounds like I need to get out to Miami or Lima asap.

                  2. There's also a place on Vine in Hollywood called Balcones del Peru that served some tasty creations and a very unique sangria. I can't say it will blow your mind, but if you're in the area it could be worth checking out.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bopdd

                      they did a remodel lately and reworked the space + bar program


                    2. I assume it's nothing like the upscale Peruvian food your post seeks, but months ago there was quite a positive hue and cry on this board about El Huarique, by the Venice boardwalk. I assume that the food there is much more low brow, but I have had it on my to-go list (an actual written list) for a long time now.

                      1. I just went to Mario's on Melrose/Vine for the first time in 5+ years - it's still very good IMO.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: chrishei

                          And still my personal favorite. However, it doesn't exactly fit the OP's description.

                        2. C-V-Che. Modern Peruvian without PR firms.

                          1. To see a bit what Andina is like, check out their website. Especially look at the extensive tapas list…and note that the small size is very adequate for two to share. See: http://www.andinarestaurant.com

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: josephnl

                              Looks very similar to Picca to me. Go to Picca. Report back.

                              1. re: set0312

                                Yes - Picca should satisfy your craving.