Peruvian cuisine is heavy on meat and fish, and Ricardo Zarate's downtown hot spot Mo-Chica is no different. Much of what's on offer consists of stewed meats and bright ceviches, but there is hope here for a diner looking to enjoy the restaurant meat-free.
One of the staples of Peruvian food is the potato, and while many of the potato dishes at Mo-Chica involve bacon, the Papa Rellena was one of my favorites. The potato comes stuffed with tender pieces of eggplant and swathed in the flavor of olive via Peruvian olive oil.
Perhaps part of why this restaurant manages to cater to vegetarian diners fairly well is because Zarate plays with genre and brings in elements from other cuisines, particularly Italian. There's a beet and burrata salad, as well as a quinioa risotto, which is one of the heartier dishes and could easily be the grounding center of a meat-free meal here.
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A Southern Peruvian bean salad rounds out the list of vegetarian dishes, and provides a fresh, vinegary contrast to the hearty potato and grain dishes.
You can read the full review of Mo-Chica here, and check out the Undercover Vegetarian archives for more advice on eating meat-free at L.A. restaurants.
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