Friendly Advice: Great cheap date restaurant

Los Balcones del Peru
1360 Vine St. (between De Longpre Ave. and Afton Place)
LA, CA 90028
323 871 9600

The friend: David, Sommelier/Manager

The advice: “If you want to save some money and have a great dinner, you’ve got to go to Los Balcones Del Peru and order the ceviche and steak.”

Were it not for the striped, brown awnings and the exact street address scrawled on a piece of paper, one might easily pass by the hidden Peruvian restaurant, Los Balcones del Peru. Just one block south of the bustling corner of Sunset and Vine, Los Balcones del Peru is a perfect pre- or post-movie meal at the Arclight Theater.

The dining room is disarmingly simple for a culture known for its brightly colored textiles and golden Incan gods. The space is sparsely decorated (a couple of carved-wood candle boxes hang from a wall) and black, pin-cushion styled booths found often in retro diners, line the perimeter of the dining room.

The food here is fresh, full of flavor and is incredibly appealing for meat and seafood lovers alike. Familiar flavors of garlic, cilantro and lime are present in many of the dishes, along with unfamiliar tastes like potato-like yucca and meaty Peruvian Corn.

Lime-soaked seafood ceviches are a popular starter at Los Balcones. We tried the Camarones a La Piedra ($12.75), a sunshiny-yellow shrimp “ceviche” that came out warm. The dish had a generous helping of moist shrimp served with the tails on, swimming in a lime juice and a slightly spicy aji amarillo sauce with Yuca, moist Peruvian corn and an impossible to stop eating lime-marinated julienne of red onion.

The warm southern California weather inspired us to order the Choclo Con Quezo , an ancient breed of Peruvian corn that has oversized kernels (the size of marbles) and are filled with a fascinatingly dense, semi-sweet corn meal. The dish is served with a delicious side of dipping sauce made from cilantro, lime and garlic and cubes of a South American style of feta.

We shared an entrée of Tacu-tacu Con Bisteck a La Parrilla ($11.50), a deliciously earthy, charbroiled steak served with the tasty lime soaked red onion julienne and a dense and comforting mash of re-fried Peruvian beans mixed with rice. Reminiscent of a skirt steak fresh off the bbq, the tacu tacu begged for a good dousing of the garlicy green sauce and a crisp Peruvian beer.

Los Balcones del Peru has a number of delicious beverage options, including crisp, Peruvian beers (all $4.00).

Cristal is a light and fresh beer and Cusqeña is a light, smoky-sweet malt lager. The non-alcoholic Chicha Morada ($2.00), is a deliciously sweet and floral drink made from an infusion of red Peruvian corn, fruit juices and spices.

The first of many visits, Los Balcones del Peru is the perfect spot for Arclight movie goers and hungry, Hollywood Farmers Market fanatics alike.

Los Balcones Del Peru on Urbanspoon


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Food Woolf Written by:

Brooke Burton is an Los Angeles-based restaurant professional and hospitality expert. She is a freelance food writer, speaker, and co-author of The Food Blog Code of Ethics.

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