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“I’m originally from Miami, where we have a strong Peruvian community and can find dishes like chaufa de pollo and lomo saltado at various places and price points throughout the city. Can you tell me where to find good Peruvian food in Atlanta?”
With Atlanta’s diverse Latin American food scene, restaurants here often serve a number of Peruvian dishes on menus alongside foods from other nearby countries like Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela. However, few Atlanta restaurants center on offering just Peruvian cuisine.
Located on the western coast of South America on the Pacific Ocean, Peru is home to resort towns and historic colonial-era cities nestled within rocky coastlines and sandy dunes to portions of the Amazon rainforest and mountainous regions in the Andes containing ancient Incan ruins. The country’s vast and varied topography and its rich history are reflected in both Peruvian culture and in its cuisine. Peruvian fare is a melting pot of foods, blending the country’s deep Inca roots with dishes, spices, and ingredients from populations who long ago immigrated to Peru from the African continent, France, Spain, and even Japan. Corn, potatoes, beans, rice, and quinoa form the foundations of Peruvian cooking, with fish, beef, pork, and chicken helping to create a medley of chilled and hot dishes.
From spicy, lime-marinated ceviches and potato terrines (causa) layered with avocado, chilis, and shrimp to chaufa (Peruvian fried rice), lomo saltado (sirloin stir-fried with fries, tomatoes, and onions,) and rotisserie chicken cooked over hardwoods, consider these five Peruvian restaurants around Atlanta.
Las Brasas — Decatur
People will find a number of traditional dishes on the menu at this Decatur staple, but it’s the Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken here for which the restaurant is best known. Chickens are cooked over hardwood and seasoned with huacatay, a minty herb reminiscent of tarragon and basil with hints of citrus. Birds come served in half and whole portions with piles of the restaurant’s pisco fries. Las Brasas also offers Peruvian ceviches, shrimp causa, Peruvian stir-fry dishes, like lomo saltado tossed with pisco fries, and chaufas, including fried rice mixed with Spanish octopus, calamari, shrimp and flounder. Make sure to try the lamb empanadas filled with spiced ground lamb meat, herbs, and chimichurri.
Machu Picchu Restaurant — Brookhaven
One of Atlanta’s original Peruvian restaurants, Machu Picchu on Buford Highway gave folks a scare a few years ago when it closed at Northeast Plaza. Now located one mile south at the Sun Tan Plaza in Brookhaven, the restaurant is back serving Peruvian ceviches, hearty plates of lomo saltado, and other traditional dishes, including tallarines a la huancaina con bistec (linguine and grilled steak tossed in huancaina sauce), arroz con pollo, and carapulcra (Peruvian pork and potato stew). Order mazamorra morada for dessert, a pudding made from Peruvian purple corn and a combination of pureed fruits, like apples, pineapples, and cherries. It’s served warm.
Sabor Inka — Lawrenceville
Located in the Safeway Plaza on Pleasant Hill Road, Sabor Inka has become a gathering spot for metro Atlanta’s Peruvian community who come here to eat family-style meals, drink, and take in a soccer match or two throughout the week. A family-owned and operated restaurant, Sabor Inka specializes in dishes found in the northern Peruvian port city of Chimbote and the surrounding region, coupled with generations-old family recipes. The menu includes plenty of traditional Peruvian dishes, but it’s the seafood dishes that play a starring role at this restaurant. Try the ceviche de pescado (white fish marinated in lime juice with red onions and cilantro,) the sudado de pescado (sea bass fillet cooked in tomato sauce,) or the hearty seafood soup parihuela, similar in style, but not in flavor, to French bouillabaisse. Order leche asada for dessert (baked milk custard).
The Freakin Incan — Roswell
For Roswell residents, the Freakin Incan has been the spot for pisco cocktails paired with Peruvian street foods, ceviches, and plates of lomo and tallarin saltado, bowls of seco de res (cilantro beef stew), and platters of rotisserie chicken. A lively restaurant, especially on the weekends, order a pisco sour to start here, followed by papa la huancaina (potatoes tossed in a spicy aji amarillo sauce) or the yucca fries. Then, dive into a delicate little tower of causa de cameron layered with yellow chilis, shrimp, and avocado drizzled in aji sauce and one of the restaurant’s saltados for dinner. Finish off with an order of alfajores (dulce de leche sandwiched between two shortbread cookies.)
La Chingana — Atlanta
This Peruvian pop-up from former Minero chef Arnaldo Castillo is one to watch (and attend.) For Castillo, La Chingana tells his personal story as a Peruvian and as a chef through the traditional foods of Lima and northern Peru and original dishes he creates for the pop-up at restaurants throughout Atlanta. Expect a multi-course tasting menu from Castillo with a rotating array of dishes, including ceviche clasico, jamon del país sandwiches, and causa limeña. Castillo hopes to turn his popular pop-up into a full-service restaurant, one he can pass down to future generations of his own family. Follow on Instagram for pop-up dates and events.