My introduction to Peruvian food came in Fort Myers, Fla., the small, Southwest Florida city where I used to live for seven years. The restaurant is called El Patio.
My first time eating Peruvian food in Medellín came two weeks ago in Laureles, for my birthday. The restaurant is called Puerto Inka.
El Patio has good food. Puerto Inka has great food.
My friends and I left very happy after having a range of food, everything from ceviche — an absolute must at any Peruvian restaurant — to entrees that featured steak, rice and seafood, all with a bottle of Chilean cabernet to complement the feast.
So let’s start with the ceviche. We ordered the piqueo marino, which came with three different kinds of seafood: camarones (shrimp, the only item that was cooked, to give it some variety); pulpo (what we refer to in Hawaii as tako, the Japanese word for octopus); and a white fish that I believe was sea bass (my favorite).
Our server made sure we got our ceviche quickly, so we didn’t have to hurry to eat it before the entrees came, so we could enjoy it. It definitely whet our appetites.
Then came the entrees. I wish I could remember each one that my friends had but I can’t. I was too focused on my solomito nazca, a tender steak that they cooked perfectly (medium rare). It was topped with shrimp and smothered in a delicious cream sauce.
As for my friends, I only remember one had one of the fish dishes, another had one of the rice dishes, both of them delicious. And another had lomo saltado, one of my favorites but something I have learned to cook, although not quite like they do it at Puerto Inka.
I was full after eating a little more than half my steak and all of the rice that came with it. I was happy about that. That meant I could enjoy it again very soon, for leftovers.
Altogether, our tab was about 270,000 pesos, or about $145. Not bad, considering everything we ordered. In the states, this would have cost twice as much.
I ended up meeting one of the owners, Cecilia Angel. She told me she is one of four women who own the restaurant, three of them paisas, one a peruana.
These women have vision. They opened it four years ago, long enough to build a good reputation and to get ahead of the trend of Peruvian food’s rise in popularity in Colombia.
They created an elegant atmosphere with low lighting, dark tables and some bright red colors (including the color of the building) to help you remember the experience.
Cecilia said they picked Laureles instead of Poblado because Poblado already had so many restaurants. The Laureles location would help them stand out.
They were right. Next month they celebrate their four-year anniversary.
I think I’m going to the party.
I think I’m going to eat there at least once a month.
I think I’ve found a new favorite restaurant in Medellín.