I moved to Texas from Miami three years ago and I have yet to find a good Peruvian restaurant. For this reason, I always look forward to my yearly trips to Miami. I love seeing my family and enjoying the home-cooked Peruvian classics my father-in-law lovingly prepares for us. Ceviche mixto, lomo saltado, his special quinoa with chicken and Peruvian aji amarillo. I also enjoy eating out at Peruvian restaurants. My two favorites: El Chalan and CVI.CHE 105. El Chalan is like a mom-and-pop local eatery where Peruvian food is served comfort-food style. CVI.CHE 105 is your bourgeois, but not-too-pricey, restaurant serving the cuisine in a fancy-foodie style.
El Chalan Restaurant: 7971 Bird Road #17, Miami FL 33155
The description on Google explains it all: “Humble strip-mall outfit with an array of down-home Peruvian fare such as ceviche & lomo saltado.” But don’t let that description deter you from trying it. Walking in, you will notice pictures of Macchu Picchu and Peruvian gauchos on the wall. A soccer game or Peruvian tourist videos will be playing on the TV. You will most likely not hear any English being spoken (there are English-speaking servers, but maybe take this opportunity to practice your Spanish). There is nothing fancy about this restaurant. My favorite dish to order at this restaurant is Chupe de Camarones, or seafood soup. It is absolutely delicious. It isn’t light like a lot of seafood soups. It is hearty and spicy with the right balance of seafood, vegetables, and rice. I also like Tallarin Verdes, Lomo Saltado (of course), and Tallarin Saltado de Mariscos. Yum Yum! The restaurant only has a Facebook page and it hasn’t been updated in 9 months, but an abbreviated menu is available on Google.
CVI.CHE 105: 105 NE 3rd Avenue, Miami, FL 33132
For a little fancier atmosphere with equally good food, try CVI.CHE 105. So I just went to the website and my mouth just watered – oh, Pavlov… So what to try? EVERYTHING. When we had visitors to Miami, we always took them here. The drinks are delicious (Pisco Sours and Mojitos). They have an assortment of Peruvian Ceviches and Tiraditos – they were voted best ceviche in Miami four years in a row. The Causas are delicious, they even have one, Causa Montada con Pulpito al Olivo, that combines Cause with one of my favorite Peruvian dishes of octopus smothered in a creamy black olive sauce. There is a section of the menu called “Peruvian Classics”. This is where you find the Lomo Saltado, Aji de Gallina, along with dishes like Risotto Fillet which has filet mignon and shrimp on a bed of parmesan and mushroom risotto. I just drooled on my keyboard. My favorite desserts here are Suspiro Limena and Mousse de Lucuma. Suspiro means “sigh” in Spanish, and the dessert is totally a light lemon-y flavor with a creamy merengue on top. Lucuma… so lucuma is a fruit found in the amazon that tastes like nutty pecan and sweet potato mixed together. The mousse is rich and every bit worth the calories. CVI.CHE 105 does have a website. Make a reservation before you visit. I just learned via the website, there is a South Beach location too.