100 Best Restaurants 2012: La Limeña

From soulful bistros to high-gloss steakhouses, there's lots of good eating in DC, Maryland, and Virginia


The area’s Peruvian culture is growing, and more Peruvian restaurants are popping up in Virginia and Maryland. This modest storefront is a soulful spot with vibrant, generous cooking and a familial feeling.

Owner Emma Perez is gradually transforming her strip-mall hole in the wall into the low-key Peruvian bistro she has long dreamed of running. The result is a place where sophisticated and casual mix comfortably, where you can opt for elegant surf (a stunning tiradito, its slices of marinated raw fish fanned atop vivid yellow-pepper purée) or homey, hearty turf (a juicy strip steak topped with a fried egg and flanked by potatoes and oiled rice).

What to get: Anticuchos, skewered, marinated beef hearts; ceviche garnished with soft sweet potatoes and salty fried corn kernels; causa, squares of soft-cooked potato stuffed with chicken salad and avocado; fried whole trout with sliced garlic; aji de gallina, shredded chicken mixed with egg, olives, garlic, and white wine, served over rice; papa rellena, lightly fried potato stuffed with seasoned meat.

Open daily for lunch and dinner. Inexpensive.

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