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« Carpe Diem Owner to Open Tapas Restaurant in New Canaan | Main | Chocopologie Caf√© to Open in Stamford »
Sunday
Jul222012

Fiesta Atlantic: Authentic Peruvian Fare in Stamford

I’ve enjoyed food from many different countries over the years but funny enough, never from Peru. So with three friends in tow, I decided to try Fiesta Atlantic, a Peruvian restaurant in Stamford. Having eaten Venezuelan and Mexican, I expected a fusion of both. It turns out Peruvian food is indeed a melting pot of different cultures but surprisingly, the food is notable for its Italian and Chinese influences. In the 18th century, Lima was the financial center of a vast Spanish Viceroyalty. Chinese laborers and Italian settlers washed up on its South Pacific shores bringing their own spices and cooking techniques.

The restaurant has a warm unfussy atmosphere with dark red walls, wood floors and hard-to-pinpoint spices wafting through the air.  The meal got off to a great start when Italian bread came served with a mysterious yellow/green dip that proved to be irresistible, bordering on addicting. As we perused the affordable lunch menu (many items were priced at $8), we played a guessing game to see what was in the sauce known as aji.  Was there avocado? Nope. How about mustard powder? Nope.  There was lettuce, cucumbers, onions, garlic powder and, providing the color and the kick, egg yolks and jalapenos. Amazing to think such mild ingredients can pull together and pack a powerfully tasty punch.  The egg yolk addition is reminiscent of aioli harkening to those Italian roots. 

While my companions played it safe and ordered seltzers, I started my meal off with a Chicha Morrada, a mild, chai-like drink consisting of Peruvian purple corn and a hint of cinnamon. It is true to its description and quite purple but satisfying and not overly sweet.

The meal began with Mixed-Seafood Ceviche, Peru’s signature dish of fish and/or shellfish that is marinated and ultimately cooked by lime juice. We could have ordered mild or spicy but opted for medium. The hefty dish came loaded with generous amounts of seafood including clams, mussels, crab and ringlets of tender calamari. Corn nuts added crunch and yucca a starchy bite reminiscent of boiled potatoes.

We needed to pull over another table to accommodate the generous sized entrees that arrived. Pollo a La Brasa was half a cooked chicken that was mildly spiced and, like the calamari, cooked to perfection. It was juicy and tender. Sides of crisp fries and sweet fried plantains rounded out the dish nicely. Lomo Saltado is a popular choice and we ordered ours with steak which came with sauteed onions, peppers and tomatoes and the restaurants ‘secret’ Peruvian seasonings. Chaufas is Peruvian’s answer to fried rice and like its Chinese cousin, tasted of sesame oil and soy sauce. 

Seafood Soup, was a special that day and was so large four of us couldn’t even finish it.  I’d venture to say that there were equal amounts of seafood to broth and both were delicious with the fish and shellfish cooked to the point where they remained plump, tender and tasty. The tomato broth was lightly spiced and complimented the delicate flavors of the seafood.

All’s well that ends well as we capped off our meal with Alfajores, linzer-type cookies which had a thin layer of caramel sandwiched between buttery, flakey shortbread cookies. Apparently Austrians made it to the shores of Peru as well.

Fiesta Atlantic has two sister restaurants. Fiesta Cove, 323 Shippan Avenue in Stamford and Fiesta Limena 330 Connecticut Avenue, Norwalk.  All three restaurants offer similar menus. Follow the restaurants on Twitter @fiestaperufood to get daily specials and see their Facebook pages or websites for additional information 

Fiesta Atlantic  83 Atlantic Street  Stamford, CT 06901  (203) 323-4300

Monday- Sunday noon-10pm

Fiesta Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Reader Comments (5)

Check your address and phone. Fiesta is on Atlantic across from Town Center and just doors away from another authentic peruvian, Chavin. And they make a mean Pisco Sour

July 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLou

Lou-You are oh so right. Address has been changed to the Atlantic location.

July 22, 2012 | Registered CommenterStephanie Webster

Fiesta over near the beach location is the BEST !!!

July 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterILoveAJI

The lomo saltado was the stand-out for me on a recent visit. A perfect hearty dish for a fall/winter appetite.

July 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy Kundrat

Working downtown Fiesta Atlantic is my Peruvian choice. I learned of Fiesta one summer while stumbling over Fiesta Cove. Both are equally as delicious, but Fiesta Cove did change my palette forever. I love Peruvian food after that first experience! Definitely beats Chavin, but Mi Ranchito on Hope just reopened and I am anxious to try it...again!

July 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCraig

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