Destino—spiced corn nuts down the hatch, pisco sours on the way

By Marla Simon

You come for the Pisco sour, but after a couple, you’re hungry (that’s what these tart Peruvian cocktails do). To soothe the deep rumblings: plates of South and Central American-inspired dishes, sized for sharing. After the first round of para picar (literally “for picking”)—spiced corn nuts down the hatch, ceviche and empanadas on the way.

Large chunks of snapper tango with red onion, aji limo pepper, and fresh lime juice in the ceviche la la Peruana, one of three varieties inspired by Peru, Mexico, and the Caribbean. A tamal de alcachofa arrives snuggled in a banana leaf, the interior filled with soft masa, dense bites of artichoke and Peruvian lima bean, and creamy piquillo pepper reduction. Red snapper tacos de pescados are wrapped in palm-sized grilled flour tortillas, a julienne of sweet mango balancing the heat of the Serrano pepper and Caribbean jerk spice. Vellum-wrapped package of alfajores (dulce de leche sandwich cookies) are for enjoying on the ride home.

the crowd

A well-dressed couple on date night look up from their iPhones long enough to gaze romantically over a plate of empanadas before they start texting anew. Tipsy, 30-something women gossip over cocktails and tapas, attempting to flirt with the only uncoupled man in the room—their waiter.

side dish

notes from the kitchen
How good are those drinks? Destino co-owner Guillermo Toro-Lira unearthed an original recipe for Pisco Punch, circa 1920. We give it an A for taste—and him an A for effort.

on the stereo
Peru's Spanish and West African influences meld in Afro-Peruvian pop.

Medium to loud, rising as the evening kicks in.


Dinner: Sun–Thu 5 PM–10 PM; Fri–Sat 5 PM–11 PM

price range

$8 (tamal de alcachofa) to $24 (churrasqueria platter)