Taste of Peru doesn’t jump out at you from the street. It’s in Rogers Park in a small strip mall. Like I said earlier, the only reason I came across it was because my fiancee Meredith noticed it right before we parked on the street maybe a block past the restaurant.
However, according to Cesar, some well-known folks have graced the premises. Guy Fieri of Diners, Drives, and Dives came and I guess he said this place is his favorite restaurant in the city. Cesar has also served “Phil from Channel 11 -- Chicago Tonight” at Taste of Peru. I have no idea who that guy is, but I trust that he’s known around these parts.
I believe Taste of Peru has been around for a little while now. It’s somewhat of a passion project for Cesar, and it hits home. He was considering selling the place early on in the restaurant’s existence due to some slower growth, but his mother asked him, “you wanna give these recipes away?” Be patient.” So he kept the place. His mother passed away a little while later from cancer and Cesar and the restaurant are now active with cancer donations.
All right, now the numbers stuff.
Where is it? 6545 N. Clark, in Rogers Park
Is there a website? Yep. http://www.tasteofperu.com/index.html
A new experience (have folks heard of it and eaten it before?): 3 out of 5
- My fiancee and I had tried Peruvian before in Cincinnati, but there were only two Peruvian restaurants in the whole city. I’d guess that more adventurous eaters have heard of and tried Peruvian, but your everyday restaurant-goers probably haven’t.
What “common” cuisine comes closest? Mexican, though it doesn’t really do it justice, and believe it or not, Indian.
- Peruvian is actually a pretty unique cuisine. I would consider a lot of the dishes to be almost a hybrid of Mexican and Indian food, but I’m sort of grasping at straws here. Just try it out and see for yourself where you see comparisons.
Spicy: 3.5 out of 5
- Usually there’s some spice to a Peruvian dish, especially any with its famous huacatay sauce, but you can either order non-spicy foods or get a non-spicy dish just fine.
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten friendly: 4 out of 5
- Taste of Peru has a vegetarian portion of its menu. I think gluten free is pretty doable here as well. I’m not sure if there are many flat-out vegan menu items as is, but from the looks of things you could remove an ingredient or two and make a dish vegan pretty easily.
Variety: 4.5 out of 5
- There are 12 menu categories, each with a handful of dishes. There’s a lot to choose from here.
How big is the restaurant? Relatively small, maybe 15 tables or so. Big enough that you could easily get a group of people in there, but during the right time I could see the place filling up pretty easily.
What could Ulysses S. Grant get me? Two good, hearty meals with an appetizer and a drink or two... or a “Blue Plate”, where you get a multi-course combo meal pre-set for you.
- Menu items are typically in the $15 - $20 range. The Blue Plate stuff is like $45. Appetizers are $5 - $10 and side orders and desserts are a couple of bucks.
What’s up with booze?
- It’s BYOB, but there are also virgin Pisco Sours on the menu. Something tells me you should try the real thing there too. And NO CHILEAN PISCOS, or Cesar will give you crap about it.
Filed under: Restaurant and Cuisine Breakdown