Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Machu Picchu Restaurant

One of the things I miss a lot about the Bay Area is the Peruvian restaurants. There was one in Oakland I used to eat lunch at quite often and a couple we went to in San Francisco quite often. In fact, Limón was one of our favorite places to eat right before we moved. Anyhow, I have been constantly on the lookout for one in Indy, and had found Machu Picchu online quite awhile ago. I thought it was much further away from my house than it actually is, so it took me longer than it should have to get there. (It is located near Lafayette Square).
Hubby and made the trek the other day for lunch and I am really glad I did. And wow, how nice it is to see so many different ethnic restaurants on the Westside. (Hey, I don’t get over there much). We walked in and were greeted warmly by our server and given the rather extensive menu to peruse. I was really craving some of the things I used to get at the other places, and was happy to see many of them on the menu, as well as a decent ceviche list.

It was only lunch, and we ordered too much, but I couldn’t help it. We started with the papa rellena which was deep fried mashed potatoes stuffed with seasoned ground beef, olives and boiled egg and served with a little basic salad on the side made up of iceberg and super thinly sliced red onion and tomatoes in a vinegary dressing. The first bite of the papa rellena led hubby to say it reminded him of a sloppy joe, but the more you ate, and when you added some of the salad with it (particularly the red onions), it was a great flavor combination. The olives and the egg made the textures more interesting and the flavor different enough. But you really need to put some of those tasty onions on top. It was big, too, and more than enough to share.

They also brought bread to the table, slices of white bread which wasn’t all that exciting by itself, but the slightly spicy creamy sauce served with it was quite interesting. I am pretty sure the sauce was the Huancaina sauce which is a type of creamy cheese sauce with typically made with white cheese and chili peppers and other seasonings.

We then also shared the Ceviche Mixto, which was all the types of seafood offered (fish, shrimp, mussels, octopus, and squid) marinated in lime juice. It had lots of shaved red onions over the top (I really like all the red onions in this food). First of all it was huge, and enough to share for about 4 people. It was definitely quite tangy, which I like, although if you just ate this on its own, it might be a little much. They were also served with the fried large corn kernels (sort of like less greasy cornuts) and I enjoyed these as well. However, I can’t really recommend the squid, octopus or mussels (actually, there was just one large mussel in there) because they were too rubbery and tough. But the fish and the shrimp were really good. Unfortunately, while there are lots of combinations of different seafood, fish and shrimp isn’t one of the combinations. But you can get them individually (and maybe if you asked, they would do a fish/shrimp combo). That would be ideal. You can see though why so many ceviches are served with other things, like say avocado, my favorite, mixed in to cut the tartness of the lime juice. Anyway, it is worth ordering, but stick with the shrimp or fish (the fish probably being the better of the two).

We also had the lomo saltado which is sautéed beef with more of those red onions, only this time cooked, along with tomatoes, cilantro, and French fries served with rice on the side. This is one of the interesting things I find in Peruvian food. There is a tendency to serve both rice and French fries with dishes. I have found this true in pretty much all of the Peruvian restaurants in which I have been. In this case, the fries here were actually mixed in with the beef, almost like another ingredient in a stir fry. I am not sure exactly what the seasonings used are, but it has a certain flavor that I have found common throughout all Peruvian places. And it is so tasty, and different from anything else. The beef was cut into thin strips and sautéed, so it was a little more done than I normally like, but still quite good. And it balanced out the tartness of the ceviche. I was torn between this dish and the bistek encebollado which is a whole steak served with similar accoutrements. I think I may try the other one next time and see which one I like better. But I would happily get everything I had this time again (with the changes to the ceviche I mentioned). Like I said though, we ordered too much and we walked out with enough food left over for an entire second meal, but it was well worth it.

The interior is quite large, and the people quite nice, and although they clearly spoke Spanish as their main language (along with literally every other customer in the joint), had no trouble explaining a few things to me. Our drinks were refilled without asking and we were checked on frequently. They don’t serve beer and wine however, so it will probably stay a lunch place for me, although they do serve dinner as well.

According to the menu their specialty is “Inca Chicken and Seafood” and the menu had quite an extensive listing of seafood as well as rotisserie chicken and several “platos tipicos” (classic entrees) that were made with chicken. I am interested to go back and give some of the other things a try. For now though, I am just happy to have found Peruvian that is within reach!

Machu Picchu Restaurant
5356 West 38th Street
Indy 46254
(No website I could find)


  1. I've been a couple of times and have had a very good meal each time. They used to also own a Machu Picchu in Castleton but unfortunately they closed it a couple of years ago. Regarding the no-alcohol, bring your own. They are more than happy to provide glasses if you bring a bottle of wine. In my opinion, this is even better (and cheaper) than having to order off of a wine list.

  2. Thanks Jon!
    I meant to ask if you could BYOB but I forgot. It may just get on the dinner rotation yet!

  3. We used to go to a place in San Francisco called Fresca. It wasn't as good as Limon but it was less than 10 minutes from where we lived. We miss it very much.

    We've been to Machu Picchu a couple of times as it's also less than 10 minutes from where we live. It has never lived up to our expectations and a lot of the seafood they serve is frozen. So much for the ceviche!

    We really miss the various ceviche dishes, the potato dishes and the wonderful Chinese influenced Peruvian dishes from Fresca.

    But I have to say Machu Picchu was never bad. So maybe we'll try it again.

    Thanks for reminding us that it is there.

    -Disgruntled Foodie

  4. Machu Picchu is on my "Lafayette Road Ethnic Food Corridor" Google map: http://bit.ly/lafrdethnicfoodcorridor

  5. The sauce with the bread is called "Aji" and is meant to be dipped into with buttered bread. It is essentially peppers, egg, oil, cilantro and green onions. You can get some to go (I love it on sandwiches) but mind you it gets hotter every day you store it