The revolving door of restaurants in the West Village can leave us with some trust issues when choosing where to dine in the area, but Panca is reliable. It’s a lowkey Peruvian spot that’s quietly held its ground since 2008, and, in a neighborhood where last-minute dining is nearly impossible, you can easily walk in and grab a seat. Everything about Panca—from getting a table to the guarantee of good ceviche—feels easy, which we love.
You could navigate Panca’s menu like a Ouija board, order whatever you land on, and leave satisfied. This place passes the pollo a la brasa test with flying colors–but it’s the skillfully stir-fried lomo saltado that will leave you feeling like you’re in good hands. Use the accompanying yucca fries and garlic-bomb of white rice to soak up the soy-saucy steak drippings, so you can slurp up as much as possible.
Speaking of the sides of rice, neither of the two options feels like an afterthought. You’d think the rice we’d want to take home would be one of the elaborate chaufas, but we’re still jonesing for more of the aji verde-infused cilantro rice that arrives with the perfectly-pink, crispy duck confit. Ceviche is also a must–our favorite, the ceviche palteado, has slices of sunny yellow aji amarillo to sweeten up the leche de tigre. Panca deserves a pisco sour toast (no really, their cocktails are amazing) for holding down the neighborhood without making too much of a fuss.
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