El Rocoto El Rocoto

El Rocoto

1356 W. Artesia Blvd. (S. Normandie Ave.)
Gardena, CA 90248
Homey Peruvian restaurant with Chinese flourishes and compelling weekend specials.
Openings: Breakfast Sun., Lunch & Dinner daily


El Rocoto Restaurant Review:

Named for a Peruvian chile pepper, this homey strip mall restaurant features vibrant paintings, wood trellises and infectious Latin music. A successful starter is the ceviche mixto with marinated halibut, shrimp, octopus and squid, accented with fried corn kernels. Papa huancaina includes sliced potatoes topped with spicy aji amarillo sauce, feta cheese, olives and a boiled egg. If you order “from the sea,” choose the jalea, a mountain of deep-fried fish topped with fried shrimp, squid, scallop and mussels. A substantial portion of the menu is devoted to Chinese dishes, reflecting the influence of the influx of Chinese laborers to Peru in the nineteenth century. “Chinese treasures” include shrimp wontons, fried chicken in black bean sauce, sweet-and-sour pork and fried rice. Some of El Rocoto’s more compelling dishes only materialize on weekends, including seco de cordero --- chunks of boneless lamb in a cilantro sauce. To drink, opt for the tangy Peruvian purple corn punch known as chicha morada or the sweet yellow passion fruit juice called maracuya. End the meal with alfajores --- large dulce de leche cookie sandwiches, or a dish of lucuma ice cream, made with the tropical Andean fruit.

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