During the spring of my senior year of high school, I went on a trip to backpack the Inca Trail in Peru. It was one of the best trips I have ever been on – seeing Machu Picchu and other ruins, meeting wonderful Peruvian people, and eating delicious food. Coincidentally about a month after we got back Andina, featuring “novo-Peruvian” cuisine, opened in the Pearl District. Three of my trip companions and I excitedly went to check it out and relive our fantastic trip. Andina totally fit the bill, with beautiful pictures of Peru lining the walls, our favorite dishes including Lomo Saltado (steak strips wok-fried with onion, tomatoes and papas fritas fries – so good!) and of course Inca Cola, Peru’s national soft drink (it’s like liquified bubble gum, but somehow it works).
It has been about 8 years since it opened and Andina is still the place to go. With incredible food, fun cocktails, and live music in the bar every night, Andina is always packed on the weekends, as well as most weekdays. The musical performances are top-notch, including Toshi Onizuka, an extremely talented guitarist who plays mostly Spanish flamenco music (he actually played at my wedding so I will personally attest that he is great!). Whether you get dinner, tapas, or just drinks and dessert, you won’t leave disappointed.
If you have a full meal at Andina, you will most likely be stuffed by the time the dessert menu is handed out, but don’t pass it up! They have an incredible selection of housemade cakes, cannolis, flan and cookies, all with a Peruvian twist. They also offer a daily special trio of crème brûlées each with different flavors, such as pear, mocha, chai, or cinnamon. Everything is unique and outstanding and will make you eager for your own trip to Peru, or at the very least, your next trip back to Andina.
What to Get:
- Alfajores Cookies: A traditional Peruvian dessert consisting of manjar blanco, an incredible caramel spread, sandwiched between two shortbread cookies, with a hint of lime and topped with powdered sugar. They are a little messy and somewhat difficult to split, plus they are so good you won’t want to share, so definitely order your own!
- Chocolate Andino: Rich brownie made with quinoa flour served with dark chocolate ganache, caramel and candied pineapple
- Mojito de Piña: Delicious fruity but not too sweet cocktail of pineapple rum, lime juice, fresh basil and cane sugar. It’s even served with a little straw-like slice of sugar cane!
- Hours: 7 days: 11:30am – 2:30pm; Sun-Thurs: 4pm – 11pm; Fri-Sat: 5pm – 10:30pm
- Snag a Table Early: Andina gets quite crowded on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Try going after the Happy Hour/dinner rush, or make reservations by calling or checking out Open Table.
- Delicious Lunch and Dinner Available