When chef-owner Francesca Ruiz shuttered the cult-favorite lunch buffet at her Peruvian restaurant, Los Cabos, due to COVID-19-related concerns in spring 2020, she anticipated the worst. Thankfully, demand for her distinctive, takeout-friendly family recipes ensured the 33-year-old business survived the pandemic’s most difficult days. Some of those dishes were inspired by immigrants—from Africa, China, and Europe—who helped shape Peruvian cuisine over the centuries. Sopa a la criolla is a Creole-inspired soup loaded with sirloin steak and angel hair pasta, while lomo saltado is a Chinese-style steak, onion, and tomato stir-fry served on a bed of french fries. Both are excellent choices at the loungy, red-walled restaurant, which Ruiz runs with the help of her sister Nelly Castillo. But the object of our true affection is the ceviche mixto, a medley of fresh seafood, red onion, and chunks of sweet potato tossed in a bright, ají-chile-spiked lime dressing. As pandemic restrictions are lifted across the state, the siblings—who are natives of Lima, Peru—want to educate more first-time patrons about their homeland’s cuisine in the now-open dining room. If that sounds like you, don’t wait to discover these Peruvian classics.

Los Cabos owner Francesca Ruiz (right) and her sister Nelly Castillo. Photo by Patricia Kaowthumrong