Every so often we like to talk about a place to go spend your hard earned money on that special someone. The proverbial dinner and a movie date idea seems so cliché at times, however we do want to go out and enjoy some delicious food without having to put the effort in to create it. I’m sure a lot of people can relate. This gem of a restaurant, nestled in the Elmhurst neighborhood of Providence, is a wonderful place to come enjoy some Latin cuisine with a fun and relaxed atmosphere. The restaurant we are writing about is Los Andes.
To start, this place is usually packed as it is no secret to the Providence local so make sure to try and call ahead a week in advance (maybe two sometimes) in order to ensure a reservation. One of the cool things about this place is even though the building is rather unassuming on the outside, the inside is very nicely executed. There is also free valet when you pull up, which makes it feel that much more special for a date night. Upon entering you will shuffle past the bar towards the host where you will be seated promptly. This is a public service announcement, there is a fish tank behind the bar, do not stop to enjoy just yet as you will get to enjoy it the entire evening, so stay on task. Back to more important things: the ambience is perfect for a date as the lights are dimmed, wine bottles serve as décor on the walls and the service is on point. Once you’ve been seated you have a few important decisions to make that will determine the rest of your date. Sounds very serious but we take what we eat seriously.
There are a couple appetizers that we highly recommend trying. The Ceviche Martini is citrus infused deliciousness (not a word, I know) full of muscles, fish, shrimp and squid. To continue along the trend of foods that once swam in the sea, we love the calamari. Now just about every restaurant these days has a version of calamari (especially in Rhode Island) and a lot of times it is over breaded and under sauced. Los Andes took their own spin on this dish and added in peppercinis, jalapenos, Peruvian corn, and a mozzarella cheese of some sort (we don’t really know what it is, it’s perfect for this dish though). There is a vinegar citrus sauce that is drizzled over the mixture of squid and the aforementioned ingredients and when they are combined it equals pure awesomeness. So if you have decided to take our recommendation you will be thoroughly pleased with your date thus far but it is not over yet.
Onto the entrees! So no matter what you order on the menu, you will be served way too much food so plan on taking some left overs home. My wife’s favorite dish here is the Bisteca la Pobre which translates to a plate filled with Peruvian rice, french fries, fried plantains and a thin slab of steak topped with two over easy eggs. This dish is simple but absolutely delicious (unfortunately not pictured in this post). Even though that is my wife’s favorite dish, she is one of those people that once she finds something she likes, she will not change…ever. So I end up being the guinea pig at most restaurants and she gets to taste what I am having and that is totally fine with me (for anyone that knows what I am talking about, I salute you). Here are a few other dishes that we highly recommend: Bisteca Andina (if you like steak bathing a red wine reduction with choclo, mushrooms and sundried tomatoes served with grilled vegetables and mashed potatoes, then this is your dish), Pescado A Lo Macho (a seafood concoction containing muscles, clams, calamari, shrimp, and the fish of the day swimming in a cusquena beer vegetable reduction with a side of white rice), and last but not least the Lechon Al Horno (slow roasted pork covered layered atop a bed of grilled vegetable rice topped with a very pretty sliced radish and a little mixed guacamole). These are all equally great choices that provide wonderful flavors and textures.
One thing to note about this place is that we have never made it to dessert as the portion sizes are incredibly generous. When you do make it over to Los Andes, let us know what the desserts tastes like, if you can make it that far.