LOS ANGELES — Little Llama Peruvian Tacos opened in the midst of the pandemic. The Downtown L.A. restaurant showcases the flavors of Peru and serves them in Mexican favorites. Chef Jean Valcarcel perfected the blending of two cuisines.
"My love for Mexican food, my love for tacos, and being an Angeleno — obviously, I love Peruvian flavors and I just wanted them to come together," said Valcarcel. "It seemed like I would be the right person to make that happen."
What You Need To Know
- Little Llama Peruvian Tacos opened in Downtown L.A. during the pandemic
- Chef Jean Valcarcel perfectly blends Peruvian and Mexican cuisines
- With the famous lomo soltado, he takes marinated steak stir fry and potatoes and puts them in a taco
- Little Llama is located at 222 S Main St., Los Angeles, CA 90012
Valcarcel learned to cook with his grandmother in a small Peruvian town and brought those lessons to L.A.,where he's been studying and working as a chef for 20 years. When it came time to create his own concept with Angela Wagner, his business partner, they knew it had to be a blend of Peruvian and Mexican.
“The flavors of Peru in a really accessible format like tacos, burritos, or tostadas — a vehicle for you to try Peruvian food for the first time,” said Valcarcel.
Whether you’ve had Peruvian dishes before or not, Wagner says Little Llama brings the chef’s unique perspective and high-end plating to a fast, casual experience with bright colors and décor.
"It’s so fun," she said. "The flavors are so fresh. You take one bite, and there is so much going on. It really excites people, and we wanted to create an environment that echoed that."
Since this brand-new restaurant came during the pandemic, Wagner says they experienced many struggles to get here but hopes they can welcome customers outdoors and come together through food.
“All of the challenges we were already facing, like being new business owners and being a new restaurant, there’s a whole other storm thrown at us,” she said.
But while tacos may be popular across L.A., none are quite like these. Take the famous lomo soltado, for example. The chef takes marinated steak stir fry and potatoes and puts them in a taco.
“Lomo means steak, and saltado is the motion of stir fry in a wok,” said Valcarcel.
Party with a blow-up llama while trying a taco, tostada, burrito, and more at Little Llama located at 222 S Main St. Los Angeles, CA 90012.
CORRECTION: A previous version of the video in the article contained an incorrect address. The error has been corrected. (October 29, 2020)