Sometimes I get caught up in all the new restaurant openings and buzz distraction that I feel the need to pay a visit to an old friend. Andina has moved way beyond hype and garnered enough experience to call itself a classic on the Portland scene.
The inspiration behind this Peruvian restaurant was to bring the owners love and culture of their native Peru to their new found home in Oregon. Food, friends, and family are important here and it shows. With a percentage of the waitstaff there for as long as I’ve been darkening their doorway, you can know that the food is not the only thing taken well care of.
However, do yourself a favor, skip the entrées and experience Andina tapas style. The tapas, or entradas, are where these chefs really shine. Bring a date or a group of friends, plop yourselves down on the bar side and get ready for a wonderful gastronomic experience.
Tapas standouts include:
Tortilla De Patata y Alioli De Aji Amarillo – A spanish-style potato fritatta with an Amarillo aioli that will satisfy any soul-food cravings.
Anticucho De Pulpo – Delicious grilled octopus with rocoto and a caper chimichurri, resting on a bed of mashed potatoes.
De Pescado “5 Elementos” – A cebiche (traditional Peruvian dish) of fresh, raw, fish “cooked” in key lime juice with cilantro, onions, hot peppers, and salt. The fish selections vary daily, so ask what the catch of the day is when you order.
Jamón Serrano – A simple plate of Serrano ham, aged 12 months. Mmm, ham…
Pimiento Piquillo Relleno – Similar to the yucca favorite, only featuring a piquillo pepper stuffed with cheese, quinoa, and Serrano ham.
The cocktails shaken at Andina are also stellar. Treat yourself to the Sacsayhuaman (sounds like sexy woman), one of the best drinks I’ve had. Made with habañero infused vodka and mixed with a passion fruit purée and cane sugar, served in a sugar rimmed glass and topped with a cilantro leaf garnish. Sweet and spicy! $9
Runner-up is the Margarita Del Sol. This libation consists of 1800 Silver Tequila, lime juice, sugar, and shaken with a splash of tart hibiscus nectar. The kicker is that it’s topped off with a juicy “espuma de mango”, otherwise known as mango nectar foam. $9
If you have room for dessert, try their Canutos de Quinoa y Maracuya. These are crisp quinoa studded cannolis stuffed with passionfruit mousse, and served with mango-lemongrass sorbet and caramel. $7.50
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the bread basket that is served before meals. Their bread is served with 3 chili dipping sauces: a purée of passionfruit, habañero peanut, and a green jalapeño sauce. All bringing either a little heat or a little sweet to your palette. I could literally eat just this for dinner.
With the rain and the cool moving in, there’s no better place to transport yourself than Andina, located in Portland’s Pearl District. Cozy up to the fireplace and enjoy a flavorful tapas dinner with friends or that special someone. Most nights feature live music as well!
Tapas plates are served in small, medium, and large sizes. With prices at $8.50, $16, and $29, respectively. Bring a group, head to the bar, and pass and share.
Happy hour is from 4-6 everyday for those more budget conscience. Or simply order drinks and enjoy the wonderful, and free, bread basket with chili sauces. This foodie definitely approves.
1314 NW Glisan St
To view an interactive map of the Pearl District, click here!