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The Llama Inn is a Peruvian restaurant with shareable dishes and South American-influenced cocktails. They serve Anticuchos, which are skewered meats and a popular street food. Try them, they’re delicious here. You can also share a Peruvian rotisserie chicken ($42) which is one of Llama Inn’s highlights. On the downside, the spot can get a bit loud when crowded.
Behind the windows on this triangular lot, the Llama Inn is something different. There are skewered beef hearts under a red mash of salsa that rattles with the heat of rocoto peppers. Bites of goat neck, thickly seared and braised until tender, are dark under a glaze that gets its mouthwatering tang from chicha, a beer brewed from Andean corn. Together with a fresh cilantro sauce, it makes the goat so compulsively good that we were all clamoring for the last forkful. Chilly and firm pieces of fluke ceviche, starting to go opaque in the acid of a smoky dashi, are wonderful to eat with soft bits of fried sweet plantain and crisp chips of green plantain.
The warm, open space channels a classic Peruvian corner bar. Natural wood furniture, tiled floors and steal beams decorate the room, and there’s a bar that’s great for coffee or dessert. Think traditional fluke ceviche, served tart with lime, dashi, plantains, sweet garlic, red onion and cilantro, as well as savory duck sausage with farro, butternut squash, beer, cumin and spinach. Adventurous eaters might opt for beef heart with garlic and rocoto salsa and queso helado for dessert.
You’ll probably want at least three people to do justice to those platters, but Llama Inn needn’t be a feast-only destination; excellent cocktails, many that plumb the hidden depths of pisco, the national grape-brandy spirit, make the bar a destination in its own right. (The Peruvian grilled-meat skewers called anticuchos are ideal bar snacks — try the fermented-soybean-slathered chicken thigh or the char siu pork.)
The food is Peruvian, or at least Peruvian-inspired, and it’s all highly tasty. It’s a place to get adventurous, if you want, with beef heart skewers and goat’s neck, but it’s also a people pleaser of a restaurant, with some roast chicken and ceviche ready and waiting. We actually ate our way through the menu with some friends who grew up in Peru, and while no one thought it was exactly an authentic taste of home, everyone agreed the food all tasted good. By the way, if you’re looking to take a trip to somewhere with amazing restaurants, go to Lima ASAP. In two days, we had four of the best meals we’ve ever had.