Taste of Peru

Pescado a la Chorrillana

Ceviche Mixto

Causa de Camarones

Exterior

Interior

***** (5 stars)

This is the best Peruvian restaurant I’ve found in Orlando. In fact, the quality of the ceviche approached our benchmark, which we had in Lima Peru.

The place is small and decorated in dark woods and black fake alligator table tops, but it’s not at all grungy as one review seemed to imply. In fact, it’s quite clean, and even a bit edgy looking. I would vote to lose the really annoying Peruvian travel videos, though, which inexplicably have a soundtrack that sounds like Russian marching band dirges.

We started with the Causa de Camarones, which was a good as any causa I’ve had. It was missing a couple of layers that are usually present, but had a delightfully piquant quality and excellent sauce accompaniment.

Ceviche Mixto was a huge mound of mixed seafood in a mildly spicy creamy lime sauce. The shrimp and fish were good, and the calamari was excellent.

Pescado a la Chorrillana is a large serving of nicely battered and fried fish topped with onions, tomatoes and cilantro, and served with a mild sauce. The flavor of the cilantro came through nicely.

Service was very friendly, and the kitchen is extremely quick, obviously preparing everything from scratch, but at lightning speed. Pricing is reasonable, especially considering the generous portions.

Taste of Peru
9521 S Orange Blossom Trl
Ste 114A
Orlando, FL 32837
(407) 857-2734
http://www.yelp.com/biz/taste-of-peru-orlando-6

Gaviota

Fried rice gaviita

Ceviche

Causas

Exterior

Interior

**** (4 stars)

This is a good Peruvian restaurant in a space that has been many restaurants. As was the case for those others (and even more that were planned here and never opened) the challenge is finding customers. I suspect one reason is that it is nearly impossible to park in the neighborhood. As a result, the staff outnumbered the patrons throughout Saturday lunch, and the two of us were alone for most of it.

The dishes we sampled were all good.

The complementary corn kernels were skinnier, puffier and better than any of the other Peruvian restaurants we’ve been to.

The Causa assortment (they were out of one kind, so we only tried the chicken and octopus) was delicious, the best thing we had.

The ceviche assortment was good, similar to others in town, with three different types of fish, all steeped in lime juice.

The house fried rice was tasty but a bit unusual, more Chinese than Peruvian.

The Pisco Sour we started with was a bit sweet, but we added lots of lime juice and it tasted more authentic.

Service was friendly, but had the tentative feeling of inexperience.

If I was in downtown Orlando and in the mood for Peruvian food I would definitely go back, especially if I didn’t have a car to park.

Gaviota
100 South Eola Dr
Ste 104
Orlando, FL 32801
(407) 428-4682
https://www.yelp.com/biz/gaviota-orlando

Pio Pio

Number one with rice, beans and ripe plantains

***** (5 stars)

I’ve been coming here for years for their delicious rotisserie chicken. The number one is my lunchtime favorite. It comes with rice and beans and your choice of plantains. I like the ripe plantains, which are caramelized and make a great dessert. Try them with the white garlic sauce! Weird but good. Just watch out for the green sauce. It’s HOT!

I’m looking forward to their upcoming move to larger quarters across the street.

Pio Pio
5752 International Dr
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 248-6424
https://www.yelp.com/biz/pio-pio-orlando-3

Pio Pio Restaurant

***** (5 stars)

This latest location in the Pio Pio chain takes over a nice space in the Publix shopping center that was previously a mediocre BBQ place. Pio Pio is much better.

I love their rotisserie chicken, which always has a delicious golden brown crust. It comes with rice, beans, and plantains. The quarter chicken is surprisingly small, so you may want to get the half chicken. Both are very reasonably priced.

Not so reasonably priced, but also delicious, is the ceviche ($18). It’s a Peruvian style ceviche, (which is a bit confusing since the restaurant is often listed as Colombian).The Mixto version combines raw white fish and cooked shrimp with onions and lots of lime juice. It’s served with the traditional mutant(!) corn, and also cracked corn kernels.

Service was excellent.

By the way, they also have whole rotisserie chickens to go at very reasonable prices. They’re way better than the ones next door at Publix.

Pio Pio Restaurant
2588 Maguire Rd
Ocoee, FL 34761
(407) 347-7101
http://www.yelp.com/biz/pio-pio-restaurant-ocoee-2

Tanta

**** (4 stars)

Tanta provides a modern take on traditional Peruvian cuisine in an upscale, trendy environment.

We went for brunch, but mostly ordered non-brunch items.

The causa is a deconstructed version of the Peruvian classic, with the ingredients arrayed along a plate rather than stacked, but the flavors adhere closely to the classic dish.

There are several varieties of ceviche, depending upon the type of fish and whether you want a lime or creamier base.

All three empanadas were excellent, and each person in our party had a different favorite, so it’s worth trying them all.

The quinoa salad was refreshing, but not a show-stopper.

One of my favorite items was from the brunch menu, it was chicken on top of an egg “tortilla.” The accompanying sauce was reminiscent of a sweet Thai chili sauce.

There’s an interesting list of cocktails, topped by a fragrant take on the classic pisco sour.

Pricing is reasonable, and service is attentive, even when they are bustling (which seems to be all of the time).

Tanta
118 W Grand Ave
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 222-9700
http://www.yelp.com/biz/tanta-chicago

Mr. Cebiche

**** (4 stars)

This is not an easy place to find. It’s inside the Renaissance building, on the second floor, and the only obvious signage is a temporary sign on the sidewalk behind the building, and another at the base of the stairs inside.

But it’s worth the effort to locate it. We were personally greeted by the owner and immediately made to feel welcome as he explained the menu.

We started with the Causa De Roca, an attractive stack of seasoned mashed potatoes mixed with yellow peppers, layered with tomato and avocado, and topped with Shrimp and a sauce made of mayonnaise and ketchup with blackened seasoning, lime and cilantro. It was delicious.

It seemed only logical to order the lunch dish called Mr. Cebiche, and that was a good move. The mixture of white fish “cooked” in lime juice was served ice cold, and my wife declared it the best ceviche she’s had outside of Peru.

My lunch was also good, the Tacu Tacu, consisting of Stir-Fried Rice with Beans topped with onions and tomatoes marinated in lime juice.

The interior of the restaurant is charming, and very clean. Many of the tables have a nice view of the shopping street below. It can be a challenge to park in Mount Dora, but there is a well-disguised public parking structure two blocks to the south.

Mr. Cebiche
411 N Donnelly St
Ste 212, 2nd Fl
Mount Dora, FL 32757
(352) 735-8106
http://www.yelp.com/biz/mr-cebiche-mount-dora

El Inka Grill

**** (4 stars)

Southwest Orange County needs more restaurant diversity, so it’s great to see Peruvian cuisine come to the neighborhood. Hopefully it will last longer than the previous restaurants in this space.

We tried El Inka for lunch, and everyone liked their selections, which ranged from chicken to steak lunch specials. I ordered the Ceviche Mixto from the regular menu, because the best ceviche I ever tasted was in a restaurant in Lima, Peru.

The ceviche was a very generous assortment of fish, shrimp, octopus and squid in an extremely limey broth. I think next time I would try one of the chef’s special ceviches instead, to see if the broths are more complex. At $17 it was a rather expensive lunch; I wish the ceviche was available in an appetizer size.

Service was very speedy, so it made a great choice for lunch. The place is already quite popular, and because the stylish interior has no acoustic treatments it can be quite loud.

We all agreed we would like to return soon and try more of this interesting cuisine.

El Inka Grill
7600 Dr Phillips Blvd
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 930-2810
http://www.yelp.com/biz/el-inka-grill-orlando