Friday, March 21, 2014

Andina Restaurant in Portland

My husband and I decided to try out Andina after hearing so many amazing reviews.  Andina is not a inexpensive restaurant, so we went for our anniversary dinner.

Andina is located in the trendy part of Portland called The Pearl District.  Andina opened in 2003 and serves gourmet Peruvian food.  The restaurant was founded by Peter Platt.  Peter's mother was from Peru and his father was an Oregonian.  The restaurant seem to be a perfect blend of Peruvian food with a NW flair.

We made reservations (a MUST) and went on a Friday night.  The place was pretty packed.  We were a few minutes early, so we took a seat in the bar to wait for our table.  I was excited that they had some unique cocktails.  I am going to start this review of the cocktails we tried throughout the evening.

First off I tried the SACSAYHUAMÁN.  It is a blend of habanero vodka and passion fruit puree.  It was very tasty.  Perfect blend of sweet and spicy.

Next, I ordered the RON-YKI-ÓN.  It is ginger rum with grapefruit and lime juices.  I did not care for this coacktail. I can not pinpoint exactly what I didn't like, but I didn't finish it.  That is not to say you wouldn't like it, just not a preferred drink for me.

 Lastly, I tried the MOJITO DE PIÑA.  It was pineapple rum, shaken with crushed pineapple, lime juice, fresh basil and cane sugar.  I loved this drink, however it was difficult to drink out of the straw.  I would love to see this as more of a blended drink.

My husband ordered a GOLPE DE ESTADO, which was a chocolate milkshake spiked with spiced rum.  As you can see by the photo, he quite enjoyed it.

Next, on to the appetizers.  My husband received a bread basket and he said the bread was very good.  The bread is NOT gluten free.

The bread came with a trio of dipping sauces to try.  They were not all GF, so I let my husband have at those.

For me, they suggested an appetizer of fried yucca.  It is served with a dipping sauce.  It was good, and I enjoyed the sauce, but I would love to see them offer a good GF bread, like New Cascadia

We love veggies, so we also ordered ESPÁRRAGOS PERUANOS, which is grilled asparagus brushed with chimichurri.  It was delicious.  The asparagus was a perfect tender-crisp.

We also ordered QUESOS ARTESANOS CON MEMBRILLO, whis was three artisan cheeses with quince jam and cancha.  The cheeses were all amazing and the cancha is a special type of toasted corn.  Instead of popping into popcorn, they puff up and you end up with....corn nuts. They blow away the packaged corn nuts that you can buy.  They were fresh and tasty.

For my entree, I decided to go with something very different from what I would normally order.  I ordered CARAPULCRA CON PUERCO.  It is Cascade Natural pork loin stuffed with Fontal cheese, pan-roasted to order atop wild boar-potato carapulcra,  seasoned with ají panca, peanuts and Moonstruck Fortunato No. 4 Peruvian chocolate, served with a red wine-poached pear.  The entree was $24.00.

It was a flavor explosion in my mouth.  So many different and strong flavors that somehow all went together.  My husband was suprised by my choice, and I was nervous, but I really enjoyed it.  We ate so many appetizers, I did end up taking half of it home.  Honestly I felt it tasted better the next day.  I feel like the flavors blended better.

My husband ordered SECO A LA NORTEÑA.  An old family recipe—lamb shank slow-cooked in the Northern Peruvian style, in a rich cilantro-black beer sauce, served with a classic guiso de frijoles, garlic rice and salsa criolla.  This entree was $25.00.  My husband liked this very much.  Less fancy names for this meal would be lamb shank with beans and rice.  My husband ate every bite, despite all of our appetizers.

I love me some dessert, so I ordered a trio of truffles to go. These truffles are $2.50 each, but they gave them to us as an anniversary gift, which I thought was a nice touch.  The flavors were:
CUSCO yellow hot pepper and spiced citrus peel
CAPULI dark chocolate ganache infused with anise
LORETO essence of passionfruit and apricots in milk chocolate
All of the truffles were delicious. The flavors were so unique and I really enjoyed them.

Overall, it was a great experience.  All of the food was so unique with great flavors.  I love trying new things.  When I booked our reservation, I let them know that it was our anniversary, so every staff member we encountered wished us a happy anniversary, which was a nice touch.  It was an extremely busy place on a Friday night.  I definitely recommend making reservations as much in advance as possible.

We will be returning to Andina in the future for special occasions.  It is a high end restaurant and would be a great place to take out of town friends if you want to impress them.  However the best part is, they are very knowledgeable regarding gluten free issues.  As sensitive as I am, I did not get sick at all.

You can view more information about Andina here.  They have an interesting history.  The website is well laid out with tons of information.

You can make your reservations via their website, the OpenTable app on your smart phone or by calling  503-228-9535

They are located at :
1314 NW Glisan St
Portland, OR 97209

Click here for directions

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