Have you ever had authentic Peruvian cuisine? Until today, we hadn’t either!
A few days ago I saw a post from a fellow JVL Instagram follower; it was of a picture of her meal with the hashtags: #delicious #peruvian #food #happiness #plantains #rice #frenchfries #veggies #spices. The picture showed a dish that consisted of assorted vegetables mixed in a yellowish sauce with french-fries (french-fries of all things) and a side of rice. It looked amazing! I was intrigued! I wanted it! But I was certain she was on vacation and it was from another city. It just couldn’t have been local. Could it? Luckily it was tagged at a place called Pisco’s Peruvian Restaurant. Once I discovered that it actually was in Jacksonville, I knew I must try it immediately!
Pico’s Peruvian Restaurant is family owned/operated by the Adriano’s and located off Southside Boulevard. Unbeknownst to me, Pisco’s has been serving the Jacksonville community their delicious Peruvian flavored dishes since 2006! When our waitress told us this, I was so embarrassed at the fact that I have driven down Southside a million times over the last eight years and NEVER even knew it was there! It is located so close to some of our other favorite vegan friendly spots near Tinseltown: Toss Green, Farah’s Pita Stop Café, Mellow Mushroom Jax, etc. How could I have never noticed it? How come no one has ever told me about it? Regardless, it is now one of my new favorite restaurants and I will make up for the lost years by eating here often. Very often.
Upon arrival you get complimentary Cancha – Peruvian Roasted Corn (corn, oil, salt).
They sell four types of Peruvian beer from the Andes! Cervezas Importadas ($4.00)
They also sell domestic beers ($3.75), assorted wine ($ varies) and Sangria ($4.45 a glass or $11.00 pitcher).
These imported bebidas (drinks) caught my eye as I have never seen them before! ($2.50)
The Chicha Limena (Chicha Morada) is a purple corn soda. I haven’t had a soft drink in years, but couldn’t resist capturing a photo of them.
Instead of the Peruvian soda’s we opted for the Limonada en jarra ($5.00). It is a giant pitcher of fresh, made to order, limeade (water, sugar, juiced limes, put in the blender). We got almost six servings out of this pitcher. I will order this every time I come!
I got really excited when I saw a designated Platos Vegetarianos (vegetarian section) on the menu; that is always a good sign for a vegan. Our waitresses, Yesenia and Karina, were very friendly and super patient with all of my vegan probing questions regarding the menu. Karina told me it was no problem, “my mom is the cook.”
Tallarin saltado: Stir fried red onions, tomatoes, peas, carrots, Peruvian corn, cilantro and spaghetti. ($10.15)
Arroz chaufa: Peruvian style stir fried rice with green onions, (sans eggs), soy sauce, peas and carrots ($9.55)
Vegetables saltados: Sauteed mixed vegetables with onions, tomatoes, cilantro and French-fries served with rice ($10.15). This is the dish that I saw on Instagram that started it all. Don’t let fried French-fries mixed with veggies scare you, it really is amazing!
They have some great side items that are vegan too.
We tried the tostones fried plantains ($3.95) and the Sarsa criolla onion salad ($3.75).
We decided to mix the two together, creating this JVL special appetizer above.
If you like heat, then this is the sauce for you! It is made fresh from Peruvian dried hot peppers. Karina explained that the color changes depending on which family member makes the “hot sauce” that day. She said it rotates, sometimes it’s orange, or red or green, and then she giggled.
Seriously, the portions are HUGE! This could have fed a family of 6.
I love being able to find something sweet for dessert, most places usually don’t have a vegan option. These Maduros sweet plantains ($3.95) hit the spot!
They sell herbal teas and other items like maca powder by the front counter. ($3.00)
A friend of mine just spent ten days exploring Peru this past December and she said it changed her forever! It will be a few more years before I can check Machu Picchu off my bucket list, but at least I can have a little piece of Peru (right here in Jacksonville) in the meantime.
There is a link for a 10% coupon on their website too (good for Mon-Thursday only)!
4131 Southside Blvd, Suite 101 & 102
Jacksonville, FL 32216
Their Facebook page says they have live music on Saturdays from 6 p.m. – 11 p.m.