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The city of Angels might not have the largest Peruvian population in the United States as that honor belongs to New York City. However, this West Coast melting pot is still one of the cities with the most significant population of Peruvian Americans and Peruvian-born residents in the country.
Consequently, Los Angeles has become home to several small Peruvian communities as well as great restaurants to sample authentic Peruvian food. From West Covina in the east to Torrance in the west, these five joints are some of the best Peruvian dining spots in the county.
Mario's Peruvian & Seafood
Hollywood's Mario's Peruvian restaurant might just be L.A.'s go-to Peruvian restaurant and for good reason. While super casual and located in a strip mall, it serves some of the best Peruvian fare in the city and makes amazing lomo saltado.
Besides the saltados, which are essentially its specialty, the ceviche mixto, fried chicken, ceviche de camarones and parihuela soup also live up to the hype. Come early as finding parking is hard and long lines are typical. 5786 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, California.
Mamita Peruvian Restaurant
Don't let the row of car dealerships put you off. This restaurant hiding in plain sight along Glendale's busiest street is one of the best-known Peruvian spots east of Hollywood.
Indulge in hearty dishes, which Mamita has a lot of. Arroz con pollo, lomo saltado, saltado de mariscos, ceviche, seco de cordero and fried plantains are only some of the must-haves here. Arrive early on the weekends as it can get pretty busy. 714 S Brand Blvd, Glendale, California.
While the dark furnishings alongside the oversized black and white photo of Lima's Plaza Mayor, which basically serves as the dining backdrop, make Los Balcones feel like you've traveled back in time to old Lima, it's actually only a block off Hollywood's busy main strip. And Tinseltown's modern influence is also palpable.
A Jonathan Gold-recommended spot, dishes to sample here include the camarones a la piedra, beef limo saltado, pulpo al olivo and anticucho de pollo. And of course, a glass of pisco sour is essential. 1360 Vine St, Los Angeles, California.
Misky Misky Cocina Peruana
While it's a bit of a drive from L.A.'s chief neighborhoods, Misky Misky in West Covina is definitely worth the effort. This unpretentious, busy spot is a favorite Peruvian haunt thanks to its excellent dishes, great service and bright and airy atmosphere.
Their lomo saltado is certainly a must, as is the arros con mariscos and the ceviche. But their pastas are pretty popular as well. Try the tallarin verde with grilled chicken and the seafood linguine. And don't skimp out on dessert. The lucuma ice cream is not to be missed. 125 N Fairway Ln, West Covina, California.
Pollo A La Brasa Western
Koreatown's Pollo A La Brasa might not look like it belongs to a best-of restaurant list. This tiny fast food spot only serves woodfired roasted chicken, steak and a myriad of sides, which are all dumped unceremoniously unto thin paper plates when you order (or Styrofoam containers, if you get them to go).
But it's all hearty, comforting and delicious, homestyle Peruvian cooking at its best, which is why this casual joint makes our list. Order the chicken, of course, and lots of it with sides of beans, fries, salad and rice. Drown it all down with a can of Inca kola. 764 S Western Ave, Los Angeles, California.
Michelle Rae Uy is a Los Angeles-based writer, photographer and traveler with a bad case of wanderlust.
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