The Best Peruvian Restaurants In NYC
photo credit: David A. Lee
“I really need some Peruvian food right now,” can mean a lot of things, depending on your mood. Are you in the middle of a work day and needing to refuel with half a rotisserie chicken, and all the green sauce you can get your hands on? Are you daydreaming about that one Nikkei dish you had on your last trip to South America? Do you, like us, believe that ceviche is severely underrated as a brunch item? Any and all of these feelings can be alleviated at our favorite Peruvian restaurants in the city.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
We find ourselves recommending Llama Inn to people all the time—this Williamsburg restaurant works for all sorts of situations, and it’s not impossible to get into. The very good Peruvian food, which you eat in a relaxed dining room full of plants and natural light, ranges from photogenic plates of black sea bass ceviche to beef tenderloin covered in french fries. And if you need another reason to plan your next double date or group dinner here, there’s an excellent rooftop patio situation as well.
photo credit: Teddy Wolff
Contento in East Harlem is known for being one of the most disability-friendly restaurants in the city, with a wheelchair accessible bar, and other accommodating details built in. They also have a rotating menu full of impressive, seasonal Peruvian-inspired food, like short ribs covered in a peanut sauce and a burger oozing with raclette. Try as many plates from the “Large” section as you can afford, and don’t forget the wine—there’s even a section of options from impactful growers. Come here with your wealthier friends or family members, and don’t skip the crispy yuca.
photo credit: Neha Talreja
All of the rotisserie chicken places on this list are amazing, but Caravan Chicken’s pollo la brasa is the MVP. There’s always a line at this Astoria spot, and we’ve never regretted waiting in it, no matter how much our boss side-eyes us when we get back from lunch. This to-the-point Peruvian and Chinese counter spot is the sort of place people get takeout from at least once a week, but we recommend sitting in the casual yellow dining room—if only for unlimited access to the squeeze bottles of their life-changing green sauce. Choose from several combos starting at $11, and prioritize the crackly-skinned chicken.
photo credit: Mission Ceviche
Sure, oysters are lovely, but we bet your after-work cocktail hour would be more exciting if it included ceviche. Mission Ceviche is an UES restaurant specializing in Peruvian seafood and cocktails, with a new menu for every season. If you want something more filling, they also have bigger plates like lomo saltado. The dining room leans into nautical themes with hanging ropes and sparkly fish-shaped wall hangings, but most importantly, it’s huge and noisy, so your group can get as loud as it wants. We’d recommend sitting on their sunny, plant-decorated sidewalk patio, which feels secluded from the busy street.
photo credit: Matt Taylor Gross
Llama San is Llama Inn’s sister spot, with a focus on Nikkei cuisine. This West Village restaurant feels soft, soothing, and expensive, and draws a chic after-work crowd of people who’ve graduated beyond fast fashion and flash-in-the-pan hotspots. You can order a la carte, or choose from two prix-fixe menus. The plates are small but sharable, featuring things like wagyu nigiri and chicken thigh maki, blanketed in a rich aji amarillo sauce. We’d come here just to sit at the bar, eat that maki, and have a cocktail.
photo credit: Willa Moore
Flor de Mayo is a Chino Latino mini-chain with two locations on the UWS, and one in Washington Heights. The Washington Heights location is particularly good for uptown group dinners, with pitchers of beer, chicken and chaufa combo platters. It has several flat-screen TVs playing old Justin Timberlake songs, which should maybe be a requirement for all group hangs. Get an order of fried rice and a heaping plate of lomo saltado, and don’t be afraid to get out of your seat and dance when “Rock Your Body” comes on.
photo credit: Surfish Bistro
Almost every non-chicken spot on this guide has a killer ceviche on the menu, but we come to Surfish when we want to sample a whole bunch of ceviches with a group. This big, two-story Peruvian restaurant in Gowanus has lime green booths, with floor-to-ceiling windows that make it feel like you're halfway outside. Think of this place as the Brooklyn alternative to Mission Ceviche, and keep Surfish in your back pocket: cocktails and raw fish are an underrated way to celebrate a team win, or just hang out with friends.
photo credit: Patrick Dolande Gaslonde
Artesano could serve their food at a scenier restaurant. It’s exemplary Peruvian fare, served on small plates and styled like it's in a downtown lookbook. Instead, this Tribeca restaurant is laid-back and kind of cheesy, and we like it that way. There’s a canopy of faux tropical leaves and rattan lamps, and sometimes lively folk music to set the tone for a low-key date night. At the same time, servers are in button-downs, and the food is definitely upscale, with upscale prices. Try the aji de gallina or branzino in Amazonia curry—a rare find in the city—and of course, order plenty of pisco sours.
photo credit: Hannah Albertine
Warique occupies a calm, airy space in Jackson Heights with a handful of tables for two, some framed art, and a shelf with small, sweetly displayed plants. This is all in great contrast to the animalistic way we approach eating here. Our favorite way to enjoy a meal at Warique is to bring at least one other person and dive in to an array of Peruvian classics, following rich anticuchos with forkfuls of lomo saltado. Even if you’re not in the position to spend a bunch of money on a meal out, it’s possible to achieve this dynamic dinner feeling by ordering just two dishes (the majority of which cost between $10 and $20).
photo credit: Kate Previte
Ignore the banquet chairs and stone vases of the formal dining room at Jora, and head straight back to the bar area, a more fitting place to get loose on the weekends. The LIC restaurant gets packed by early afternoon, and again at dinner, and they don’t take reservations—but you won’t have to wait long for a table. Claim a hightop if you can for optimum people-watching, and follow your plate of ceviche mixto with aji de gallina and one of the best lomo saltados in the city.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
The Inkan serves big portions of Latin American food in two separate spaces on the same street corner in LIC: a small dining room and a separate bar area with TVs. There are a few different influences on the menu, but you’ll find a lot of Peruvian dishes, including plenty of seafood, ceviche, and their specialties—crispy rotisserie chicken and tender spare ribs. If you want to keep dinner under $15, get a quarter chicken and some plantains or rice. Top it off with a solid pisco sour, best enjoyed during nice weather in the restaurant’s enclosed backyard.
photo credit: Don Ceviche
To fulfill all your Peruvian chicken needs in Lower Manhattan, head to Essex Market. This stall on the street level floor has rotisserie chickens spinning behind the counter at all times, and that’s exactly what you should order. Get a half chicken combo over fries, with greens and avocado salad, or take home a whole bird to make your weeknight meals easier. If you’re into ceviche, the mixto is also worth ordering—it has calamari strips mixed in, and if you get your bowl spicy (which you should), the leche de tigre will clear up your sinuses.