Restaurant review: Barrio Tapeo Peruano

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Located across the street from the Westin Hotel in San Isidro is the newcomer restaurant, Barrio Tapeo Peruano. As we entered the premises, we noticed the lively atmosphere, energetic vibe, and how incredibly busy the restaurant was with the steady flow of dining customers for a Monday.

Barrio had only been opened a little over a month and a half and they were already packing them in. Mondays are notoriously slow days in the restaurant business, but not at Barrio. The majority of the lunch crowd were businessmen and women from the adjacent office building.

When I asked the manager about the lunch crowd, I was told this was a typical lunch crowd. In other words, reservations should be considered if you plan on dining for lunch. Besides serving lunch, Barrio also is open for breakfast and has evening hours. The evening crowd is not as packed as the lunch crowd.

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_(Photo: Marco Simola/Peru this Week)_

The decor was an appealing mix of natural and industrial materials with a touch of whimsical ambience: wood tables and wood accents throughout, metal chairs, exposed ceilings, track lighting and white-tiled floors. The walls were eclectic and interesting with a black and white blown up photo of a neighborhood scene and the back wall of the restaurant had a very colorful collage. I also noticed the array of glass jars filled with fresh herbs and water scattered in several different places throughout Barrio. Hernan Ortiz from Spain was the designer of the restaurant and is also a friend of the owner.

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_(Photo: Marco Simola/Peru this Week)_

We spoke briefly with Diego De La Puente, owner of Barrio as well as one of the owners of the Osaka restaurant chain. We enjoyed his obvious enthusiasm for his new restaurant. Diego expressed the intention for this restaurant was to have a cool, unfussy and informal neighborhood place where his friends could come and hang out. Hence the name Barrio, which means “neighborhood” in English.

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_(Photo: Marco Simola/Peru this Week)_

We sampled a few of the house specialty cocktails. The lince girl (S/. 22), a semi-frozen and slightly creamy concoction which included a mild eucalyptus pisco and the zest of the lima fruit served in a glass in the shape of a curvy woman. The la perla (S/. 22) was a refreshing blend of vodka, melon and watermelon liqueurs, camu camu juice and accented with pink pepper. We also enjoyed a couple of their limonada combinadas (S/. 12) especially the lemongrass and ginger combination served in a mason jar.

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_(Photo: Marco Simola/Peru this Week)_

We shared a variety of at least ten different dishes, including dessert during our visit. Please note, the majority of the dishes served at Barrio are tapas portions, which means smaller sizes such as appetizers/snacks. The calamales orientales (S/. 18) was a tender serving of calamaris prepared with teriyaki sauce, shiitake mushrooms, green onions, and sesame seeds. The iceberg lettuce leaves which were served on the side, along with grated carrots and bean sprouts are meant to be filled with the calamari mixture and then wrapped in the lettuce. The combination was a success.

The hamburguesa nikkei (S/. 10) was a delightful mini chopped tuna tartare burger with avocado and a oriental salad mixture on top served on a mini pan frances roll. It had a slight spicy kick and a creamy texture. I could have eaten several more of these. Really excellent!

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_(Photo: Marco Simola/Peru this Week)_

The ensalada andina (S/. 26) was a healthy-sized salad with quinoa, corn, fresh cheese, a mixture of spinaches, tender, grilled slices of cecina (dried meat/jerky typical of the jungle), and a perfectly poached egg on top with a light drizzling of huacatay-infused dressing. This salad had many Peruvian components and was truly satisfying.

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_(Photo: Marco Simola/Peru this Week)_

The entrana gringa (S/. 33) was a perfectly executed treatment of sliced Angus skirt steak which arrived sizzling at our table on a wood and metal plank accompanied by crispy potatoes and a rocoto butter.

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_(Photo: Marco Simola/Peru this Week)_

Chicha tu barrio was a special that is not featured on the regular menu. This dish could be considered Barrio’s version of arroz con mariscos (rice with seafood). What made this version different was the chicha-infused rice which gave it a slightly sweet flavor and a hint of the purple color along with sautéed shrimp, scallops and fried seaweed (chicharron de yuyo).

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_(Photo: Marco Simola/Peru this Week)_

The absolute table favorite dish had to be the costellitas del barrio (S/. 28): smoked pork ribs served with a honey from Oxapampa that was to dip the ribs in, accompanied by slices of salted sweet potatoes. We all immediately embraced the succulent, caramelized meat which was falling off the bone. The ribs were so full of flavor that we did not feel the need to even use the honey for dipping. This dish was a revelation and we all agreed when we returned that several orders of this dish would be necessary, not just one.

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_(Photo: Marco Simola/Peru this Week)_

We ended our meal by sampling three desserts: turron nazarenas (similar to Turron de Dona Pepa), paleta limena (similar to arroz con leche ice cream), and my favorite, yuquitas carretilleras (S/. 8). The deep fried round “puffs” of yuca were light, crispy and similar in texture to a donut. The chocolate dipping sauce which accompanied the yuca was a perfect complement.

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_(Photo: Marco Simola/Peru this Week)_

I will eventually return to Barrio to try many of their other numerous menu items. The menu at Barrio is varied and there is something for everyone. During the morning hours they have a small breakfast menu. During lunch and evening hours they offer the same menu. The kitchen was bustling the entire duration of our visit and the servers were consistent in delivering the dishes to the surrounding tables in a prompt manner. We found the presentation of the food to be well executed. All valid reasons why Barrio Tapeo Peruano is still one of the buzz worthy restaurants of the moment.

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_(Photo: Marco Simola/Peru this Week)_

_Please note: Peru this Week was invited to this restaurant and were not asked to pay for the meal._ _For more information,_ “please see our Editorial Policy”:http://e.peruthisweek.e3.pe/doc/0/0/0/2/2/22498.pdf.

Price range:
Starters– S/. 6-28
Sandwiches– S/. 7-16
Salads– S/. 26
Regional dishes–S/.18-28
Chifas/Asian dishes– S/.16-26
Street Cart-inspired dishes– S/. 14-22
Stained Shirt-inspired dishes/Finger Food– S/. 16-28
Las Pitucazas– S/. 18-33
Desserts– S/. 6-8
Juices– S/. 14
Iced Teas– S/. 8
Limonadas– S/. 12
Beer– S/. 4-15
House Cocktails– S/. 20-26
Wines by glass– S/. 20
Wines by bottle– S/. 90-105
Piscos Sours/Chilcanos, etc– S/. 20-40

For more information, “visit our Restaurant Guide”:http://www.peruthisweek.com/restaurants-barrio-tapeo-peruano-11162.

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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.