It’s going to take some work to get to all of the 200+ Peruvian restaurants that are supposedly in town, let alone those nearby, but we’re still game! First, the map, which will continue to update as I add stuff to it (so at some point, in relativity to this post, it will reflect the future).
Let’s get started!
Sabores de Mi Tierra, Matheu 184, Once – somewhat dingy, a bit of a large hole-in-the-wall, no effort has been wasted on decor nor maintenance, though at least it’s relatively clean. The kitchen is partially open to the dining area, and we chatted a bit with the chef/owner, who turned out to be from the same city as Henry, Trujillo. The options for the menú were a little odd – one was clearly just a local Argentine dish, and the ostensibly Peruvian one, lomito de higado saltado, was basically a take on lomo saltado, the Peruvian beef and pepper stir-fry, made with calf’s liver. Not a well-known dish in Peruvian cooking, as the chef said, he gets bored serving the same routine dishes that everyone else does – which is good for us, given that we like trying new things, and this was delicious – but sort of defeats the idea behind the menú, which is generally to be a common, familiar plate that everyone knows. Still, it wasn’t that far “off the ranch”. The soup was quite good too. Worth returning to. 80 pesos, including a large glass of a refresco, more or less Tang….
Mochica, Agüero 520, Once – We’ve popped into this spot a few times over the years – I gave it a review about seven years ago after an okay lunch; and it figured in both my leche de tigre travels and my ajiacco de conejo quest. We’d never tried the menú. They offer two different options for a basic menú and a third for a premium. The waiter misunderstood us in ordering the two different basic ones and brought us one of the basic and one of the premium plates. The soups seem to be almost the same, the premium one has the same flavor, just a bit more “stuff” in the bowl. For Henry’s basic menu, a decent if not great olloquito, a dish of sauteed pork with olloquitos, a.k.a. papalisas. The premium plate, unfortunately, was a complete disappointment – we decided it was only premium because it had a big piece of meat on the plate – but it was a gristly, tough, overcooked piece of beef, with french fries and a fried egg – carne a lo pobre. We would have much rathered try the chicken dish which was the other option on the basic. 85 and 110 pesos, respectively, with a very small glass of coke brought as the only option for beverage.
Rico Perú, Av. Rivadavía 7801, Floresta – A solo visit to this spot one afternoon. It’s a fairly modern, cafe style place. Cute waiter. Unfortunately, rico, or delicious, was not the operative word here. A bland soup, albeit packed with noodles and vegetables and meat – it just needed any, any kind of seasoning. And the seco de pollo, a slow cooked chicken dish in a spicy cilantro sauce, consisted of a stringy leg of chicken that had been cooked to the point where almost none of the meat was still on it – it was pretty much just the bone with some bits of meat attached, and a sauce that was inedibly salty, top that off with rice that was clearly not freshly made, and a bit dried out, and an 85 peso price tag including a small coke, and it doesn’t make my list for a return.
Sabor Real, Av. Dorrego 1098, Chacarita – I’d also visited this spot once before, back in the first round of the leche de tigre wanders. I wasn’t overly impressed, though it wasn’t bad or anything. I’d commented on the staff and the atmosphere at that time, and that hasn’t really changed – there was an air of customers having interrupted their day rather than being the purpose of it. The menú had four or five different options, both Peruvian and Argentine main dishes available. I decided to go with the lomo de pollo saltado, I don’t quite get why these places (like the first one above) feel the need to use “lomo” in the description, other than I suppose to create a familiar context – neither liver nor chicken has a sirloin. This was basically a Chinese stir-fry in style, with a fair amount of soy and ginger, and got a bit of the Argentine treatment by being served over fries rather than boiled potatoes (actually, the waitress asked if I wanted rice, fries, or salad, I said rice, and got both rice and fries, go figure), and a few of the pieces of chicken weren’t quite cooked through. The soup was quite good. More expensive than most spots, at 90 pesos for the menú, and, this is, I think, the only place I’ve ever been that didn’t include a beverage as part of the deal (which is really the thing that makes it more expensive, since the 5-20 peso difference over most places is basically between 30¢ and $1.30 – but adding a typical beverage could easily add between $2-5 to a $5-6 meal). Okay, at best, if you’re in the ‘hood, I wouldn’t make a special trip.
Casa Andina, Riobamba 376, Once – A brand new spot, literally just a few weeks old, this has become Henry’s new favorite. He discovered it out with a couple of friends one day recently and sent me quite excited text messages about how good it was. So we headed back there together. Great soup. And, really quite good plates. He’d tried a pejerrey en escabeche on his first go-round, a strange one for him since he likes neither pejerrey, a local freshwater fish, nor escabeche, which is basically pickled in onions – he loved the plate though. On our visit, we ordered one of each of the two day’s options, a pollo con tallarines rojo – chicken with linguini in “red sauce”, which is basically a mild puree of ají panka chilies with spices; and cabrito con frijoles, stewed goat with white beans, rice, and yuca. The latter, excellent, the chicken great flavor, though the chicken breast had gotten a little overcooked and dry. The menú comes with a large glass of orange juice, which is a nice change from the usual coke or tang kind of beverages, and, only costs 70 pesos. A winner in my book! And, gives us a second spot that we really like, along with Rawa, in easy walking distance from home.