Monday, August 3, 2009

El Gran Inka - North Miami Beach

This past Sunday, we packed ourselves with the strong intentions to head on out to the Children's Museum. For one reason or another, time flew by and we realized that it was already lunch time by the time when we finally made it out of the house.

Now, we (the Hubby and I) are both Peruvian and love this kind of food. So when many of our friends and family members kept talking up El Gran Inka we took note. Too bad at that time we were still living in Memphis...but that's another story.

So after our usual "what do you want to do, I dunno what do YOU want to do" game, and a call to one of our trusty friends for directions, we settled on El Gran Inka in North Miami Beach and were soon on our way.

The restaurant is in a pretty nondescript shopping center almost in front of the Oleta State park entrance. You would definitely drive by it if you didn't have some inside know the 411 us cool people have...or a handy GPS mounted inside your very cool Nissan Quest MiniVan, but again, another story....

Walking up to the restaurant, we saw how nicely decorated it was, the Lineas de Nazca painted in the outdoor seating area, the relaxing patio furniture, bright table settings. The inside looked nice too, but it looked like a place that Mia could very EASILY get into trouble, with just too many breakable looking items, so we decided on outdoor seating. Although the fans were on, it was still South Florida Hot but we were looking forward to the meal and decided to overlook this small inconvenience.

As soon as we arrived, we were warmly greeted by our waiter, I want to say his name was Jorge (but I am horrible with names so it could have been anything else), a high chair was immediately brought out and all breakable items were quickly taken away from our hurricane's path.

We ordered a Pisco Passion drink for the adults and a Chicha Morada, a Peruvian purple corn based drink, for Mia which she immediately drank up. Poor baby was thirsty. Our drinks were divine, the right combination of Passion fruit tartness and sweetness add to that the Pisco taste combination and it was a winner in my book. Plus it was cold, so that alone was great.

We ordered some Chicharron de Calamares - Fried Calamari for starters and Mia dove right in, they come with a side of Yucca fries which were nice and crispy on the outside and deliciously cream like on the inside.

I was torn as to what to order as a main course, but the Hubby was quick to make his decision, so I felt the pressure. What to get, what to get....the waiter came back to take our order.....indecision sucks....I jumped to the Conchitas a la Parmesana wich are simply prepared scallops with melted parmesan cheese on top...yuuuummm. The Hubby opted for Seco de Cabrito a la Nortena, which is a lamb stew-like concoction made with a cilantro base served with potatoes, rice and beans...yes, carb overload, but who cares?

The food was all super, the scallops were extremely fresh and Mia enjoyed them very much as well. Hubby didn't share a bite of his food, which makes me come to the conclusion that it was extremely good, plus he kept making grunting noises every time he ate a bite of his plate...our primitive way of saying: Daaaaamn this is good!!

We were thisclose to getting dessert, but were too stuffed to even try, so now we have an excuse to come back. Plus, I asked if they had any specials and they said that on Fridays they have a ceviche happy hour in, which you get a free beer with an order of any ceviche and then can stay for their 5$ pisco drinks all night long. So, now we HAVE to go back.

All in all, this was a great place with great staff, the outdoor seating area could use more fans in order to make it more bearable in the summer, as it was a great area for the tiny hurricane to eat at and even dance a bit after she ate all her yummy food.

Can't wait to go back

Oh, by the way, Mia and I made a quick visit to the restrooms and they were very clean, I didn't notice if they had a baby changing station...but since I haven't used one of those in ages I wasn't really on the look out for one.

Pros: Great food, great atmosphere, friendly service, nice outdoor seating area.
Cons: Hot outdoor area needs more ventilation

El Gran Inka on Urbanspoon


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