The Best Peruvian Restaurants In Miami – Miami – The Infatuation

Miami has one of the largest concentrations of Peruvian expats in the United States, and as a result there are a lot of Peruvian restaurants here to choose from. We're lucky enough to have one of the most diverse Peruvian dining scenes in the country, with restaurants representing everything from traditional Creole cooking to many immigrant-influenced dishes. Below you’ll find our favorite Peruvian restaurants and bakeries across the city that represent the diversity of Peru itself.

THE SPOTS

Ranchito Mi Peru 2 is a true huarique—a homestyle restaurant serving hearty dishes. These are typically the most affordable places to eat in Lima, but they’re still popular with just about everyone. Weekends are the best time to come here. Saturday is when they serve the excellent Afro-Peruvian dish called chanfainita, a stew of chopped cow lung with diced potatoes in a spicy ají panca sauce. The bofe (lungs) here are tender and slightly chewy, offering a nice contrast to the powdery potatoes. Sunday specials include another rare classic: pachamanca a la olla, an Andean dish of various meats marinated in native herbs, potatoes, corn, and slightly sweet humitas steamed together in a pot.

Itamae serves the most consistently exciting and delicious food in Miami. And they manage to do that even though their menu changes on a near-daily basis. There are standards you can always expect here, like a ceviche with a leche de tigre that demands to be slurped from the bowl. But our favorite part about every meal here are the surprises—like tiny firefly squid swimming in squid ink leche de tigre or meltingly soft slices of Hokkaido scallop folded over chunks of smoked banana. This food would make us happy in a windowless room, but when we're eating it under palm trees in Itamae's outdoor space in the Design District, it makes each meal here end in a prayer of gratitude that we live in Miami.

La Mar is the local branch of the Lima-based cevicheria of the same name. Unlike other La Mar locations, the dishes here often feature local seafood, and their lomo saltado is probably the best in Miami, featuring tender cubes of filet. It’s also one of the few places making traditional Peruvian ceviche that tastes close to what you’ll find in Lima—the freshest quality fish, perfectly trimmed, swimming in a leche de tigre that’s both tart and savory without going overboard on either. If you’ve never had Peruvian food before, this is where you should start. Just keep in mind that while this lavish Brickell Key spot is supposed to evoke the spirit of a casual cevichería in Peru, it’s definitely more of a special occasion restaurant.

While the menu at this Kendall spot is extensive, it’s hard to get past the list of ceviches, which are not only perfectly prepared but also include some really fun creations that showcase regional Peruvian flavors. El Charapa, for example, is a nod to the Peruvian Amazon and is seasoned with sawtooth coriander, a favorite herb from the area. In the middle of the bowl is a traditional Amazonian plantain and pork rind ball called a tacacho (kind of like mofongo), which you can break apart and use to soak up the leche de tigre from the ceviche. There are also other imaginative options like a triple-layered parfait ceviche and even deep-fried ceviche croquettes. This is also one of the best places for affordable ceviche, all of which come in under $20.

There are almost too many pollo a la brasa places to choose from in Miami. However, El Tambo is a classic thanks to their juicy chicken marinated in cumin, garlic, soy sauce, and Peruvian ají chiles. Go the traditional route and get a side salad and a plate of crispy french fries with your chicken. Each order comes with a cup of huancaína sauce for dipping, as well as a tangy, vinegar-based spicy huacatay sauce. The fragrant Peruvian herb, also known as “black mint” in English, offers a nice counterbalance to the fiery ají chiles.

Peruvian sandwiches are a thing of beauty. They may look simple, but the combination of country ham or crispy pork belly on a warm roll with some sarsa criolla just can’t be beat. Mr. & Mrs. Bun in West Kendall continues the tradition of the “sánguche” while adding their own creative touches and a little Miami flair. This place scraps the traditional pan francés rolls in favor of their own homemade creation. Stick to the classics here, like their butifarra made with Peruvian-style country ham that’s been marinated for 48 hours. The triple sandwich—a triple-decker of egg, tomato, and avocado on homemade pan de molde bread—is also excellent. This place makes the best Peruvian pan de molde bread in Miami, and the homemade mayo that keeps the triple together is so good.

There are two locations of this cevicheria, and both are equally good. You’ll find a lot of spruced-up Limeño classics at Divino Ceviche (not to be confused with Ceviches by Divino in Miami Beach). Peruvian expats will recognize the dishes here, including the mini tacu tacus. These little squares of crispy rice and canary bean cakes get topped with a tiny steak, a sunny side up quail’s egg, and a spoonful of sarsa criolla. It’s like an adorable scaled-down version of a traditional tacu tacu a lo pobre. But what makes this place unique are the hard-to-find Amazonian specialties. Amazonian-style chaufa is always on the menu, featuring fried rice studded with a type of smoked pork called cecina and diced sweet plantains. They also have other Amazonian dishes, like tacachos, as daily specials from time to time.

While many of Miami’s Peruvian restaurants have adopted the more recent style of Peruvian dining, Salmon & Salmon continues to follow the older Limeño spots that modeled themselves on classic European-style restaurants while serving typical Creole dishes. A meal here starts with warm rolls and a small bowl of nutty homemade ají sauce. The causa appetizer follows the traditional recipe but is elegantly plated—the potato and seafood cake is molded in a flower shape and served on a bed of lettuce with squiggles of sweet and creamy salsa golf. However, the chicharrón de pescado appetizer might be the best thing here: a mountain of breaded and fried fish chunks crowned with a tangle of sarsa criolla. As an entrée, you should ask for the off-menu combo of lomo saltado on top of a massive plate of tacu tacu.

While there aren’t many Peruvian bakeries in South Florida, Kendall’s L’Arte Bianco Bakery fills the void. This is perhaps the only place in all of South Florida where you can regularly buy pan francés rolls, the daily bread of Lima that is said to be the model for a perfectly shaped butt: round with a deep crease down the middle. Get at least a dozen and keep any extras in your freezer. The chancay bread here is also excellent—soft and sweet, the eggy rolls have just a hint of aniseed and make really great hamburger buns.

This Key Biscayne pastelería specializes in its namesake, the pionono—a cake similar to a jelly roll but filled with dulce de leche. They also have other Peruvian-style cakes, which are also usually stuffed with dulce de leche. If you’re not down to polish off a whole pionono, this place also has mini piononito slices. Despite all the unique creations here, leaving with a box of alfajores is really the way to go. These sandwich cookies are crunchier and richer than the more popular Argentine varieties, which tend to be cakier. The pavlova is also outstanding.

Believe it or not, there was a time when Peruvian food was hard to find in Miami and some locals gagged at the thought of eating “raw fish” in ceviche form. But since 1985, El Chalan has been giving Miamians a taste of classic dishes from Lima. You’re not going to find the Nikkei fusion and cheffy innovations of many of Miami’s newer Peruvian restaurants here. Instead, this is the place to enjoy old-school dishes like tallarines verdes con apanado, mondonguito a la italiana, and a traditional ceviche mixto. The Bird Road location across from Tropical Park is the OG establishment, but the South Beach location is also a classic in its own right and has the same menu.