I finally got to check out Andina while I was visiting Portland back in November. Andina had been on my list of places to try for some time now as I had read great things about them and had never tried Peruvian food before. We went for their Happy Hour, which is between 4 to 6 pm daily. Happy Hour was perfect for us as I wanted smaller portions so that I would have the opportunity to order more items to try. The Happy Hour menu consisted of drink specials as well as a few of their most popular tapas at discounted prices.
I ordered a glass of wine while my friend C wanted to try their Sangria ($5 per glass; $19 per pitcher). The Sangria came in either a red or white version. My friend C chose the red version. I had a taste of it and thought it was delicious. In fact, I wished I had ordered it instead of wine. This Sangria was one of the best ones that I’ve tasted. I like this version much better than the one I tried at Toro Bravo. I thought this version was fruity, well-balanced, not overly sweet, and did not tasty boozy at all. I found the version that I had at Toro Bravo to be too boozy for my liking.
To start, we were served a basket of fresh bread along with a trio of exotic ajíes (chili-pepper dipping sauces). The one on the left was the ají de huacatay, a mild peanut sauce mixed with a herb from the marigold family. I thought it tasted just ok as I mainly tasted the peanut and couldn’t taste much of the herb. It reminded me of Thai sauces that I’ve had in the past. The middle was the ají de maracuya, a slightly tart, spicy passionfruit sauce made from passionfruit puree and habanero. This was by far our favourite out of the trio. Not only did we have it with our bread, we used it liberally as a condiment for most of our dishes until the last drop was gone. The sauce on the right, which was similar in appearance to a chimichurri sauce or salsa verde, was actually a jalapen0-cilantro sauce.
We were then each given a complimentary amuse bouche consisting of a piece of Sashimi-style Tuna topped with a Tamarind-Cocoto Pepper Vinaigrette along with slices of avocado. I enjoyed the contrasting textures and flavours – the sweet and spicy vinaigrette against the creaminess of the avocado. This was the perfect bite to start off our evening.
Our first dish was a small order of the Anticucho de Pollo (Happy Hour menu – $5 for small, $10 for medium, $20 for large; regular Tapas/Entradas menu – $10 for small, $19 for medium, $36 for large) This dish consisted of marinated chicken kebobs that were served with a spicy salsa de rocoto. The chicken skewers were tender and tasty and I enjoyed the accompanying spicy rocoto salsa. In addition to chicken kebobs, Andina also offers other varieties of Anticucho (kebob) such as marinated beef heart and grilled octopus.
Our second dish, which was also part of the Happy Hour Menu, was the Tiradito de Betarraga (Happy Hour menu – $7; regular Tapas/Entradas menu – $12) . This dish consisted of roasted red and golden beets that were served with an ají verde al batán, pickled vegetables and sesame oil. The ají verde al batán was a green chile sauce made of jalapeno, leek, mint, cilantro and lime. The pickled vegetables consisted of cucumber, jicama and shiitake mushrooms. For a roasted beet salad, the presentation was certainly impressive and I enjoyed the contrasting textures and flavours.
Next came a small order of the Pimiento Piquillo Relleno ($10 for small; $19 for medium; $36 for large). The Pimiento Piquillo Relleno consisted of sweet piquillo peppers stuffed with nutty quinoa, cheese and Serrano ham. Again, the presentation was very impressive and unique.
Lastly, based on our server’s suggestion we tried a small order of the Causa de Mixta Nikkei ($10 for small; $19 for medium; $36 for large). A Causa is a “traditional timbale of lime-scented potato puree that is layered with assorted fillings and served with avocado.” There are three different variations of Causa at Andina. We chose the Mixta Nikkei, which consisted of a lime-scented Yukon Gold potato cake that was layered with crab salad and spicy tuna and then topped with crispy breaded prawn along with sliced avocado. This was my favourite dish of the evening.
Even though the portions were not overly large, they were actually quite filling. By the time we were done all the dishes, we were stuffed and didn’t actually have room for dessert. I loved the creative and colorful presentation of the various dishes. Kudos to our server for steering us in the right direction and recommending the most popular dishes that reflected a good cross section of the tapas menu. While the food to me didn’t really have a wow factor, it was very tasty and the ingredients were very fresh. I really enjoyed the interesting combination of flavours and sauces.
1314 NW Glisan St