About a year ago, I saw some friends post dishes from Delicias Peruanas on Facebook. My first planned trip was a fail because they weren’t open, but I didn’t give up. This little hole-in-the-wall is run by the Shimozana family — Dad, Roberto Sr is the chef, while mom, Alice, and son Roberto Jr take care of the front of the house.
My first visit here is with a Peruvian friend, who incidentally, is also a chef. He tells me that the food is fantastic and assures me I would love it. He was not wrong. I then return again many times after, each time, bringing more people with me. ( I apologize for these photos which were all taken with a cell phone!)
I always start with Anticuchos ($6.50), chunks of beef heart marinated in aji panca (Peruvian red pepper), and then brushed with a garlic glaze. They are skewered, then grilled, and served with sliced Russet potatoes and Peruvian hot sauce (aji sauce). The heart is never rubbery and possess a lovely char.
Next is Ceviche Mixto ($11), something I always order, often, two orders if my son is there with me. Red snapper, calamari rings, mussels and prawns, are “cooked” in lemon juice and rocoto pepper. The dressing is perfectly tart and makes my mouth pucker. For me, ceviche has to be of the right sour and they do it correctly here! If it is a tad too spicy for you, take a bite of the sweet roasted yams or corn. Otherwise, I love the sliced red onions with each bite, giving the palate an added zing.
Choros a la Chalaca ($7.50) is served at room temperature, sometimes slightly chilled. Poached New Zealand green lipped mussels are topped with diced red onions, coriander, corn kernels, piquillo chile and lime juice — wonderful mixture of flavors and absolutely refreshing, especially if you love mussels. Some of my friends have complained there is too much topping, but I love it.
I love fried chicken and order Chicharron de Pollo ($8), which reminds me of Chinese fried chicken which has a hint of 5-spice. A dipping sauce of lemon juice, mustard and celery salt is nice, but on the whole, it’s just an average fried chicken dish. It is great if you have kids, otherwise, I would skip it as there are a ton of other great items on the menu.
When it comes time to order your entrees, keep in mind the portions are rather generous. The most famous Peruvian dish is undoubtedly, Lomo Saltado ($12.75). Here, strips of top sirloin sauteed with sweet onions and tomatoes are tossed with herb seasoned French fries. I love this dish not only because it is the very first Peruvian dish I ever eat, but also, because it reminds me of my mom’s cooking!
Tallarin Saltado ($12.75) is a stir-fry noodle dish with your choice of chicken or beef. Using spaghetti noodles as its base, it is basically lomo saltado with noodles instead of fries.
As much as I love noodles, I think what really is a “ratatouille moment” is when I eat one of the fried rice dishes. Chaufa de Mariscos ($15) is Peruvian-style fried rice with seafood and it tastes just like Chinese fried rice, if not better. It is absolutely delicious and I always end up eating too much.
When I’m in the mood for meat, there are two on the menu I recommend. The first is Milanesa de Carne ($14) which is reminiscent of veal Milanese in Italian cuisine. A piece of top sirloin steak is pounded down, coated with egg, flour and bread crumb and pan-fried to perfection. It is served with Peruvian rice and steamed Yukon potatoes, although I didn’t need either, the steak is enough to fill me up.
The other dish I really love is Churrasco a la Parilla ($14.75) a broiled New York steak with chimichurri (olive oil, garlic, oregano, parsley) sauce, also served with Peruvian rice and steamed Yukon potatoes. It is a simple and highly delicious entree. I like the aji sauce (green sauce) with the steak as well.
If you visit Delicias Peruanas during lunch, just beware you might have to wait a little. The restaurant does a large take-out business during that time and they are handling phone orders as well as taking care of the packed dining room. I always go as soon as the restaurant opens, or a little after the lunch rush — around 1.30pm. The restaurant also closes early, around 8pm, so go early if you’re planning on dinner. Definitely worth a visit!
24354 Muirlands Blvd
Lake Forest, CA 92630