In Lynnwood: The perfect potato – and much more | Arts & Appetite

By Maria A. Montalvo | May 31, 2019
Courtesy of: Maria A. Montalvo The options are delicious and plentiful at Rinconcito Peruano in Lynnwood.

Peruvian cuisine is known for its potatoes. After all, more than 4,000 varieties of native potatoes grow in the Andean highlands of Peru, Boliva, and Ecuador.

But Rinconcito Peruano (loosely translated as “the little Peruvian corner”), a restaurant right here along Highway 99, proves that food from Peru should be known for much, much more.

Ceviche and seafood, fantastic sauces and meats, and even a little spice demonstrate the multilayered flavors that are still approachable for any palette.

Three of us met for dinner just before closing time on a Tuesday night, and yet most tables were filled in this small restaurant with colorful tablecloths and Peruvian flags on the wall.

The servings are very generous, so although I could have easily eaten any of our dishes by myself, it was nice to be able to share and try different things. My goddaughter says she has a second stomach for really good food, and it is important to note that I love potatoes enough to wish for a second stomach myself.

For an appetizer, we shared the Causa Rellena ($10), a delightful cold starter of seasoned mashed potatoes stuffed with either chicken or tuna – we tried the chicken, and it is basically a chicken salad in a potato terrine.

I loved the creamy potatoes, and the chicken was so flavorful it balanced the potatoes well.

It was a hard appetizer decision, mind you, since one of the other starters is a dish I grew up eating and loving, the Papa Rellena ($7). In this iteration of a Peruvian potato, the mashed potatoes are formed in the shape of a ball, stuffed with beef, and pan-fried golden brown.

Truly, one of the world’s most perfect foods.

Next time, I will definitely try the Papa a la Huancaina ($7), potatoes with a spicy cream and cheese sauce. The Yuca Frita appetizer ($6) is also an option (fried yucca root) that is super crunchy and salty, which I have had many a time at other South American restaurants and look forward to trying it at Rinconcito.

The Choclo con Queso, Peruvian corn boiled and served with queso fresco, is enticing, as is the Leche de Tigre (a version of ceviche).

So many options!

The problem with such a great variety of appetizers, though, is that the main dishes are both incredibly tasty and large. Ceviche was a must, so after some debate, we chose the Ceviche Mixto ($18), a huge bowl of fresh fish, octopus, calamari, and shrimp, all marinated in lime juice and garlic.

This ceviche is accompanied by sweet potato, a unique change from chips. Each piece/type of seafood stood out with their own flavors and were perfectly “cooked” by the lime juice.

And as we discussed, that it was the best fish in ceviche we have had in a while, we then tried the Chaufa de Mariscos ($15), a Peruvian fried rice dish that was like nothing I have ever had.

The fried rice had the familiar texture, but the flavors were so different, with onions and vegetables and seafood prepared with Peruvian seasonings. Honestly, a really great plate of food, and I would say it could not be matched, but … there’s the Pollo Saltado (the chicken version of the dish typically made with beef) ($14).

It has rice and french fries (cannot go through the main course without a potato), served with chicken sautéed in onions, tomatoes, garlic, and spices.

The sauce/broth that results tastes phenomenal with the rice and the fries. If only I did have a second stomach ...

Did I mention they serve a signature Peruvian breakfast on Sundays? We already have our next visit on the calendar.

Rinconcito Peruano is at 18904 Highway 99, Lynnwood (just south of 188th Street SW), and is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. More information:


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