The Best Peruvian Restaurants Around Charlotte
A diverse community is always welcome, especially if you love good food. Here in Charlotte, South American neighbors – Peru and Colombia – have gifted our local neighborhoods with delicious rotisserie chicken, empanadas, baked pastries and seafood creations. A continent’s worth of flavor is right down the road and these local staples are where you need to start.
by Charlie Leonard
Neighborhood: Plaza Midwood
Meaning “sun street” in English, Calle Sol aims to bring a beach-like atmosphere to your dining experience. The menu is inspired by the chefs’ extensive training in Tampa and Miami, two hotspots of Latin American cooking, which means you’ll find Cuban-style pressed sandwiches alongside Peruvian ceviches and Chino-Latino classics like chaufa, lomo saltado and tallerin. Pair your dish with one of their rum cocktails to complete your coastal retreat.
Named after Peru’s most famous attraction, Machu Picchu brings the same type of iconic recognition to their traditional Peruvian fare. Every one of their 50 dishes, including their rotisserie chicken and their ají de gallina – a creamy Peruvian stew – is made with fresh ingredients and features imported Peruvian spices for the most authentic flavors possible. Just like Machu Picchu high up in the Andes Mountains, this restaurant offers a taste of Incan culture that’s stood the test of time.
Mochica serves healthier versions of classic Peruvian favorites from their Concord and Pineville locations. Order their all-natural, Peruvian pollo a la brasa or one of their house favorites like the lomo saltado or the bistec a la pobre beef entrees.
Neighborhoods: Dilworth, Blakeney
This unassuming spot promises plates filled with flavor, keeping regulars coming back for more. Pio Pio offers many Peruvian favorites like rotisserie chicken, carne asada and arroz chaufa (Peruvian fried rice) alongside traditional sides, sauces and dessert offerings. Stop by for lunch or dinner, or have them cater your next event.
Located inside the historic Morrison House in Uptown’s Fourth Ward neighborhood, Poplar has quickly become one of Charlotte’s best tapas restaurants. Created by chef Bruno Macciavello – the mastermind behind Viva Chicken and Yunta Nikkei – the Peruvian-inspired menu is full of small bites with big flavors. Try the Ceviche a la Bruno – a shrimp ceviche with onions, peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice and a side of pita bread.
It’s impossible to talk about Peruvian food in Charlotte without mentioning Viva Chicken. In just under a decade, chefs Bruno Macciavello and Randy Garcia have grown their Peruvian fast-casual concept from a small shop in Elizabeth to a multi-state empire (including nine restaurants in the greater Charlotte area). The name of the game here is pollo a la brasa, a specialty Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken that comes with fresh sides and colorful dipping sauces. In an area that’s already obsessed with chicken restaurants, Viva Chicken fits in perfectly.
Neighborhood: South End
From Viva Chicken chefs Bruno Macciavello and Randy Garcia comes Yunta Nikkei, a Peruvian-Japanese fusion concept in the trendy South End neighborhood. Blending “yunta” – which means “friend” in the native, ancient language of the Incan Empire – and “nikkei” – a 100-year-old cuisine inspired by Peruvian relations with Japan – the restaurant features vibrant dishes crafted from precise techniques. Alongside the food menu is a unique cocktail program that includes Peru’s national liquor, Pisco – a brandy made from grapes.