Category Archives: Peruvian

Andina – Taste of Andes in Portland, OR

It was time to check out another Peruvian place in Portland. Thanks to my daughter, who just turned 12 yesterday for picking this restaurant for her and her another January-born sister (yeh, I have 2 January babies).

Live music inside Andina in Portland
Live music inside Andina in Portland

Andina is a super elegant, up-scale restaurant in Downtown Portland with multiple floors and a full bar. If you are looking for an exquisite place to celebrate an occasion or just spend time dining with your loved ones in a romantic atmosphere, this would be an ideal restaurant. I would highly recommend to make a reservation for this place, even for weekdays’ nights. We didn’t make a reservation but luckily got a table for 6 of us at the bar on a Thursday evening. This restaurant is a bit on the pricey side but it’s worth it somehow, because of the location and vibe of this place.

Our table at Andina in Portland
Our table at Andina in Portland

Let’s come to food now. Service is pretty fast and friendly here. I though the menu didn’t give too many options though. I was looking for chaufa, which is a Peruvian style fried rice with either shrimp or meat, for my 8 years old. But didn’t see that. Also, there weren’t variety of seafood options either.  The food was great though; but don’t get me wrong, I’ve had better Peruvian food for lesser price in Portland. As I said, this is a fine dining spot in the heart of Portland, where many other posh eateries reside.

Beef Empanada (left) and Chicken kabob (right) in Andina, Porltnad
Beef Empanada (left) and Chicken kabob (right) in Andina, Portland

You know a place is good when they can make raw fish taste good. I ordered ceviche with an order of chicken kabob from the appetizer. And in Andina, the ceviche was awesome with little kick of green chilies and a whole lot of lemon juice and a small side of vegetables. Chicken was also above my expectation…gotta love Peruvian style chicken. My little girl, uncle-in-law, and my cousin had lomo saltados. I didn’t taste the beef itself from lomo saltado, but the rice was fragrant and fries were very…PERUVIAN. If you want to go safe this is probably one of the safest dish to try and it’s Peru’s national dish. My older one, the birthday girl, had Peruvian seafood paella. Man, oh man…that was a good paella, even better than what I had in Spain. I never order paella and forget about ordering a seafood paella. But this was unexpectedly tasty. Also, we had beef and vegetable empanada as appetizers. They were good, but I am not a big fan of having powdered sugar on my empanadas…it was a bit sweet.

Lomo Saltado - a Peruvian beef and rice dish in Andina, Portland
Lomo Saltado – a Peruvian beef and rice dish in Andina, Portland

All the dishes were very proportioned and nicely decorated. My newly become pre-teen got a dessert with a candle to blow on the house. It was some kind of lucuma dessert and a hard chocolate cake with peanut and lucuma mousse. My lucuma ice-cream and my little girl’s lucuma mousse were both delicious. By the way, lucuma is a very popular fruit that we tried while visiting Peru, somewhat similar to avocado but sweeter.

Ceviche with veges (left) and Peruvian seafood Paella in Andina, Portland
Ceviche with veges (left) and Peruvian seafood Paella in Andina, Portland

If you want to drink something Peruvian, Andina serves Inca Cola which is a Coke product. While I am not a big fan of it, both my girls love it. I had to have a traditional purple corn juice, called Chicha Morada. Again, this is something  I had in Peru…so, had to test Andina’s version of it and it was what I was expecting…nothing extraordinary but good.

Overall, I would recommend this place to anyone. Would I ever go back there again? Yes, I would. But not for food, maybe for the nice arrangement of it. I definitely loved the character and look of this place.

 

Lima – Peruvian Restaurant

After coming back from Peru couple months ago, I am on the mission to explore all the Peruvian restaurants in Portland. So, Veteran’s Day came and kids had a day off from school. My girls haven’t tried a Peruvian place in Portland after our Peru trip. So, that was the day we were going to try it and I was looking for something close to home.

Peruvian Paella in Lima Restaurant in Beaverton, OR

Lima is in Beaverton, OR, tucked away with lots of other retail places in a complex. It’s a cozy place…not too formal and not too fast-foody type. We were there with two other families and with 6 kids. It’s a casual place to hang out without thinking of kids being too noisy.

My Ceviche at Lima Restaurant in Beaverton, OR
My Ceviche at Lima Restaurant in Beaverton, OR

All of us tried all sorts of food in Lima. I ordered ceviche, my older girl had lomo saltados (they had beef or chicken options), one friend tried Peruvian paella, and my little girl wanted chaufa de carne – the Peruvian style Chinese fried rice with beef. Honestly speaking, every single dish was fabulous. My 11-year old made a comment that her lomo saltados tasted like the one she had in Peru. And yes, my ceviche was the same…perfectly marinated which was served with large corn and red onions.

The price range for this restaurant is reasonable. It’s not too cheap nor too expensive for the large quantity we got. Servers and waitresses were very helpful. I asked the lady about the chef. He is a Peruvian…that brought joy to my ears.

Lomo Saltados in Lima Restaurant in Beaverton, OR
Lomo Saltados in Lima Restaurant in Beaverton, OR

Overall, Lima is a perfect restaurant to hang out with friends, families or colleagues. I may not go there for any special occasions but for a casual meal I would definitely recommend this place to anyone who want to try authentic Peruvian cuisine.

La Leña – Peruvian Restaurant & Rotisserie

We just got back from Peru after a week long vacation. Other than it’s rich history, beautiful landscape, colorful culture, friendly locals, and attractive hand-crafts, I absolutely fell in love with the Peruvian cuisine. I was missing the flavors and freshness of their dishes after coming back to The States. So, last Friday, we decided to check out a brand new Peruvian restaurant in Portland, La Leña, to celebrate a friend’s birthday. I’m thankful that everyone took my suggestions and agreed to try it. More than that I was happy it didn’t disappoint us at all.

La Leña is a casual yet stylish restaurant in Portland on Hawthorn Blvd. They don’t take any reservations but with it’s fairly nice size, our group of 7 did manage to find tables on a busy Friday night. The price is very reasonable and no need to wait in long line to order. And our beautifully presented dishes were delivered pretty fast too, considering only one chef was actually cooking.

Alright, now let’s come to food. So, we tried alpaca meat in Peru (though my little one wasn’t too happy about it, but aye, I am a foodie and gotta try new stuff), I was REALLY hoping to get those here (?). But ok, they don’t have alpaca steak or grilled guinea pig at La Leña but they had almost everything else that we ate in different parts of Peru. Some of those that I found here are ceviche, Ají de Gallina, pollo a la brasa, lomo saltados, salsa criolla, chicha morada, fresh juice, and Inca Cola just to name a few from the menu. And they all tasted really good. Best ones would probably be pollo a la brasa and lomo saltados, very close to what I had in Peru. They ran out of fresh fish to make ceviche, so couldn’t try it…but the chef offered me he’ll give me a free plate of ceviche next time I go there (a happy customer right here). Make sure to order salsa criolla and their hot sauce with every dish to kick up a notch. Inca Cola tasted slightly different but their fresh juice and chicha morada (a purple corn juice) were ok.

Lomo Saltados in La Leña, Portland
Lomo Saltados in La Leña, Portland

We didn’t try any dessert because we were just too full with our perfectly proportioned plates but to finish off everything, try their Peruvian coffee.

One of my friend's dish - Ají de Gallina
One of my friend’s dish – Ají de Gallina

Before I finish, I got to add one extra thing here about La Leña. The customer service here was extraordinary from the minute we entered the place. The chef himself came and apologized for not being able to serve us ceviche. The waiter and waitress made our friend’s birthday eve a special one with their willingness to do every arrangement to make that it a wonderful one.  A++ all the way.