Las Cholitas

You can party like a Peruvian Saturday night. Stop by the new Las Cholitas Restaurant in Plantation, where the Afro con Tempo Dance Theater will be performing, the Pilsen will be flowing and plates of ceviche will be flying out the kitchen, all to celebrate the 189th anniversary of Peru’s independence from Spain. While you’re soaking up the festivities (the actual holiday is July 28), toast our good fortune. A decade ago, we had to hunt for a Peruvian restaurant, but now the country’s vibrant cuisine is showing up across Broward.  With Inca roots and Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and African influences, Peruvian is among the most diverse food in America. Open since June, Las Cholitas is among the newest destinations for juicy chicken, seafood soups and stews, creamy sauces and cancha, the crunchy roasted corn kernels that are as irresistible as popcorn — and marvelous between bites of bracing ceviche.

Owner and Lima native Jaime Arevalo had his sights set on Sunrise, but said the city’s permitting and code process has taken so long that he opened in Plantation in the meantime. (His Ceviche Market is expected to open in Sunrise in the fall.) Las Cholitas is family- and wallet-friendly — the most expensive entree is $13.95. The wine and beer selection is limited, but the fruity sangria with bits of fresh apple is perfect for a summer night, and kids like the fruit smoothies.

Ambience: Las Cholitas is a small, 52-seat space in Jacaranda Plaza, in the former home of La Barraca (now in Hollywood). The rustic decor remains, with a hut-like frame over the counter and wood paneling that gives the place a cozy feel.

What Worked

  • Anticuchos de corazon – skewered, grilled veal heart
  • Popular potato dish papas a la huancaina — sliced potatoes, served cold,  blanketed by a cheese sauce with a slight chili jolt
  • Must-try ceviche mixto, a generous array of marinated raw shrimp, calamari, grouper, octopus and mussel with a hint of garlic, ginger, cilantro and citrus, served with sliced sweet potatoes, red onions and large kernels of Peruvian corn
  • Comforting causa con camarones – a layered mound of mashed potatoes, hard-boiled eggs and smidgens of avocado with a coral-colored filling of chopped shrimp in a mayo-based sauce
  • Delicious, simple and soul-satisfying aji de gallina – chicken is smothered in a pepper-spiked cream sauce and served with white rice
  • An excellent palomillo steak paired with spaghetti in a rich pesto sauce
  • Classic, crowd-pleasing lomo saltado — slivers of steak sautéed with onions and tomatoes
  • A light and fun tres leches made with the tropical fruit lúcuma