Restaurant Review: Burrito Bar, fresh Mexican in Lima

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Burritos in Peru? Mexican food in Peru? I had not eaten any Mexican food since arriving in Peru over 4 years ago and I was a bit skeptical when I found out we were going to eat at a new Mexican restaurant in Barranco. As it turns out, I am so happy that I made the trip from La Punta to Barranco to try the food at Burrito Bar.

As you enter Burrito Bar you notice it is a little “hole in the wall” restaurant (about 5 or 6 tables). The ambience is very cozy and casual. The menus are listed on the blackboards on the walls. I was greeted by the owner/chef, Stuart Livesey, an import from England. Stuart has extensive experience and many years in the restaurant industry.

After a quick tour of the impeccably clean kitchen I had several questions for Stuart. Why open a restaurant serving Mexican fare? His response was that he personally enjoys Mexican food and that he thought it would fit in with the young crowd in the neighborhood and the late-night crowd. Mexican food is quick, not too expensive and appeals to the young crowd that does not have a lot of money to spend on dining. When he found this small space in Barranco, he decided to take a leap and open “Burrito Bar”.

The restaurant had only been open for a few weeks the day we visited. We encountered a couple of return customers and they only had good things to say about Burrito Bar. One of the customers told us that she had been coming to the restaurant at least twice a week ever since it opened since it was centrally located to her office which was right around the corner.

Stuart brought our table a round of margaritas to start off our meal. The margaritas were very tasty and were served in ample sized glasses with salt around the rim (just the way I like it). It’s well worth the S/. 12. If you are not in the mood for a margarita they also offer beer, soda, juice, water, tea and coffee.

Handmade tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole accompanied our margaritas. You never will want to buy tortilla chips in the store after you sample these. We all agreed that the handmade tortillas enhanced every dish we sampled. Stuart uses palta fuerte for his guacamole. In my opinion, these are the best avocados you can buy and the creamiest texture, and at Burrito Bar, they are turned into a truly delicious guacamole. The chips and salsa cost S/. 5 and for an extra sole, you can have the guacamole as well. The salsas they offer were all very fresh.

You have three different options: the Tomato salsa consists of fresh tomato, onion and cilantro (classic salsa) and is mild. The Maiz salsa has corn, bell pepper, jalapeno and onion (my favorite) and is medium heat. The Roja salsa contains roasted tomatoes, garlic and aji and it is hot. If you are not in the mood for chips, salsa and guacamole, Burrito Bar also offers quesadillas and nachos as well.

The tacos arrived next. The beef tacos were prepared with corn tortillas and the chicken tacos with flour tortillas. You have your choice of having red or black beans in your tacos as well. Once again the tortillas used for the tacos were handmade. The chicken and beef used in the tacos were very juicy and flavorful. Of course they had sour cream on the side as well as guacamole. They are a bit messy to eat, but that is part of the experience of eating Mexican food.
Burrito Bar also serves salads, if you are in the mood. We tried the salad with grilled chicken which was loaded with a variety of vegetables and black beans. The salad was packed full of fresh flavor- so much, in fact, that we weren’t even tempted to try the salad dressing. The tacos cost S/. 3.50 each or S/. 10 for three. The salads are S/. 8 each.

Now on to the main draw of the restaurant- the burritos. Stuart brought our table 3 burritos: one with the chicken, one with the beef and one with the pork. We enjoyed all of them. My favorite was the pork. Braised chunks of pork came smothered in black beans, rice and lettuce. The burritos were a decent size, and like all of the food served at the restaurant, it can easily be shared, depending on the appetites of your fellow diners. The price of the burritos is S/. 10.

For dessert, the restaurant offers a chocolate tamal, which is very different from a traditional Peruvian or Mexican tamal. The tamal is comprised of corn, chocolate, pecans, tortilla and eggs, and it is delicious. It comes alongside home-made vanilla ice cream. The price of the chocolate tamale is S/. 6.

The high quality and freshness of Burrito Bar’s food is reason enough to give their food a try. I found their Mexican food to be quite authentic and an excellent value for the money. This could become the new favorite neighborhood spot for the bar and club crowd in Barranco, but it should also be on the list of anyone looking for fresh Mexican food in Lima.

Burrito Bar is located at 113 Av. Grau in Barranco (2 blocks south of the plaza). Don’t blink or you may miss the restaurant. They are open Tuesday through Thursday: 12 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday: 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.; Sunday: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and closed on Mondays. Stuart did mention he does have a license to stay open until 3:00 a.m. if business warrants. Phone: 987-352120.

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Sheila was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She spent several years in Denver, Colorado at Regis University and lived eleven years in Fort Lauderdale, Florida before moving with her Peruvian husband to live full-time in Peru in 2007. An epicurean at heart, Sheila first became inspired about food and cooking through the fantastic cooks in her Danish family. In her free time, Sheila is a volunteer at an orphanage, is involved in sports, including tennis and spinning, and loves exploring Peru’s incredible cuisine.