From Peru to Portland: Andina Serves up Authentic Cuisine in the Pearl

THE NEIGHBORHOOD: The Pearl District

THE PLACE: It all started with a a Peruvian chemistry teacher and a Peace Corps volunteer from Portland. After John S. Platt and Doris Rodriguez de Platt fell in love in Peru, they moved their family to John’s hometown of Portland. Decades later, they collaborated with their son Peter to to open Andina, a restaurant that honors Peruvian cuisine and culture.

Today, Andina serves traditional Peruvian food such as la cocina criolla: cuisine with a combination of European, African, and indigenous influences. They also practice a modern style of cooking originally called Novoandina. It’s focused around a revival of pre-Hispanic ingredients that were lost during colonization.

The most popular dish on the menu is a family recipe from Doris’ hometown, Cajamarca. Seco a la norteña is a slow-cooked lamb shank doused in a rich cilantro-black beer sauce, Northern Peruvian style. “It melts in your mouth,” Doris says.

FUN FACT: When Andina first opened, it was difficult for Peter to find all the Peruvian ingredients he needed. So the first year after they opened, he would drive between Eugene and halfway to Seattle “ransacking” all the different Latino food stores to find Peruvian ingredients. (He eventually connected with a food broker and a Peruvian farmer).

QUOTABLE:

“Unfortunately, the impression a lot of people have of Latin American cooking here is the States is (that) it’s mom and pop, it’s a taco joint, it’s street food … but what you’ll find is a lot of these cuisines are extremely varied and extremely sophisticated in their own way.” —Peter Platt, co-owner, Andina

CHECK IT OUT: If you’re on a budget, Andina’s happy hour is a great way to sample several dishes at once. Don’t miss the Peruvian artwork adorning each wall