70 Days Across America
Lima in Concord, California, serves authentic dishes from Peru, a country whose rich and diverse culinary legacy has taken the global gastronomic community by storm in recent years. The eatery offers an indoor dining room and seating in a delightful patio.
Peru has emerged as a culinary superstar in recent years, so I was thrilled to learn that Visit Concord had procured a dining voucher for me to dine at one of Concord’s most popular Peruvian restaurants.
To be honest, I was surprised that Concord – which is located roughly 35 miles east of San Francisco – had even one Peruvian restaurant, but when I tried googling it, I came up with at least four restaurants serving food from the South American culinary super star.
Peruvian Cuisine Defined
Please do NOT jump to the conclusion that Peruvian cuisine is similar to Mexican cuisine – or even to Spanish cuisine, for that matter – because it is not.
Which does not mean that there are no Spanish influences, because there are. But there have been several other important culinary influences, as well, resulting in a cuisine that is truly unique.
Peruvian cuisine can best be described as “fusion” cuisine because it reflects the influences of both the indigenous Inca population and the various immigrant communities that have settled in the region now known as Peru, which was conquered by Spain in the 16th century.
In addition to immigration from Spain during the Spanish colonial era, Peru also assimilated immigrants from other European countries such as Italy and Germany as well as Asia (China and Japan) and West Africa in the years that followed.
As usually happens when people emigrate from one place to another, they take their culinary traditions with them.
But they usually have to adapt their recipes, using the ingredients that are available locally and dropping those ingredients that are not, sometimes substituting or making do with whatever is available in their adopted home
Over time, these communities are influenced by the varying cooking styles of the other communities they come in contact with.
Peru’s traditional staples include corn, potatoes, quinoa, and legumes.
For whatever reason, interest in the country’s traditional foods and cooking techniques has increased in recent years, causing a revival of its rich culinary legacy, and this has helped to catapult Peru into the spotlight on the global gastronomic stage.
Lima Peruvian Cuisine
By pure coincidence, I met a woman from Peru the day before I dined at Lima Peruvian Cuisine (which has since been shortened to just “Lima”) so I asked her if the food there was authentic, and she said that it most definitely was.
I also asked her to recommend some dishes, and she did.
She was most enthusiastic about the anticuchos de corazon (classic skewered and grilled beef heart) and the cerviches (marinated raw fish).
I would have been willing to try the cerviches. I AM, in fact, a fan of at least of some types of Japanese sashimi so I don’t have a problem eating uncooked fish, but my dining companion isn’t. So cerviches were out
When it came to trying the grilled beef heart, however, neither one of us were willing to give it a try – despite the fact that the Peruvian woman insisted that it was absolutely delicious.
I had, in fact, been bullied into trying some heart tartar several months earlier, and I didn’t find it the least bit appetizing. But I digress …
The menu that my dining companion and I settled on follows …
Empanadas de Carne
Baked homemade turnovers stuffed with beef, chicken, or veggies – we opted for chicken.
Quinoa con Vegetales
Stir-fried guinoa with sauteed seasonal vegetables, mushrooms, and sesame glaze with pickled daikon and carrots.,
Causa de Pollo
Whipped potato cake spiced with aji amarillo and lime, served with avocado, cherry tomatoes, quail egg, and Huacaina sauce.
The Ambiance …
The restaurant had a delightful ambiance, with both indoor and outdoor seating. It was a balmy Indian summer’s evening, so we decided to dine in outside.
Our server was professional and friendly. She helped to negatiate the menu, which was full of dishes we were no familiar with.
The Verdict …
My dining companion and I thoroughly enjoyed our meal. The Causa de Pollo was the star of the show, a delightful combination of flavours and textures.
The Vegetable Quinoa topped with grilled chicken was also very tasty. The empanadas were nothing special – similar to what I’ve had elsewhere.
I’ll give Lima an enthusiastic two thumb’s up.
The Location …
Lima is one of several food and beverage outlets surrounding Todos Santos Plaza, which means “All Saints Plaza”.
Located in downtown Concord, California, Todos Santos Plaza dates back to 1869. It was founded by Don Salvio Pacheco, Don Fernando Pacheco, and Don Francisco Galindo as a public square in one of the original 20 blocks that were laid out for the new town.
Community celebrations, concerts, carnivals, and festivals are often held in the square, which was renovated in 1993-94.
You Might Also Enjoy …
- Restaurant Review: Mikuni Sushi Bar in Concord, California, Serves Yummy Japanese Fare>>
- World’s Top Peruvian Restaurants Outside Peru>>
Lima – 2151 Salvio Street, Suite 1, Concord, California. Tel: (925) 309-7774.
Concord is roughly 35 miles west of San Francisco. The drive takes about 35 minutes. If you don’t drive, it can be reached by Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). The trip from San Francisco takes about 45 minutes. The trip from downtown Oakland takes about 30 minutes.