Cheap Eats 2007: La Granja de Oro

Machu Picchu meets Studio 54 at this endearing place where the tablecloths resemble Peruvian shawls and “Devil Woman” plays on Muzak under a disco ball.

This little restaurant sets itself apart with charm—note the Sizzleresque salad bar—and flavors that are fresh and intense. A bracing relish of corn and raw garlic tops cold mussels vinaigrette, and squid and scallops have the right texture in richly sauced cau cau de mariscos.

Main courses offer the sort of big, satisfying, reasonably priced productions—a special of steak smothered in peppers and red onions, a whole fried trout with lemon—you seldom find in midlevel American restaurants. An alfajore sandwich cookie makes a perfect ending: two tender shortbreads filled with dulce de leche that’s a dead ringer for Milk Duds.

To get the full disco effect, go on a weekend, when the Muzak gets replaced by live salsa and merengue.

Open daily for lunch and dinner.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.