211 - Peruvian Crowd Pleasers

For thirteen solid years, the unstoppable Doña Luz Barreto and her family have been offering generous servings of Peruvian staples to Canadians and Latinos alike at their St. Clair West location. “Doña Luz,” says her son Luis, who does the lion’s share of cooking at the restaurant, “never wants to retire. She prefers to cook!” He tells me she’s got more energy than he does and often flies back to Peru to see what’s new and exciting in their home country’s culinary repertoire.

parahuela soupBack in Toronto, Luis whips up some wonderfully aromatic fare, including his terrific take on the Peruvian coastal favourite, the Parihuela or seafood soup. One serving is quite ample for most, so bring your appetites because you get a deep soup bowl full of golden red broth flavoured with seafood, onions, tomato and fresh herbs. Rich and robust, Luis piles calamari rings, clams, shrimp and lots of mussels into the dish; this really is a soup that eats like a proverbial meal! For those that like a little heat in their broth, you can ask for the aji or hot sauce. Just remember, a little dab will do you - even heat seekers usually find this chili sauce flame-inducing.

If you need to quench the fire, ask for one of house signature cocktails, the Pisco Sour. There’s some debate as to who can lay claim to this famed drink- the Peruvians say it’s theirs as do the Chileans. Geopolitical drink debates aside, La Cocina de Doña Luz makes a lip-smacking version with pisco (a type of grape brandy), lemon juice, sugar, and crushed ice. Think upscale slushy with a citrus twist and you’ve got a refreshing, not-to-sweet national cocktail that’s patio perfect with or without the beach!

La Cocina de Doña Luz
807 St Clair West
Toronto, ON
(416) 652-7430