Mi Comida Restaurante Latino: A Taste of Peru and Ecuador in West Phoenix
We spin the globe and search for other-worldly spots to expand our eating horizons around the Valley.
|The Seco de Pollo (aka chicken stew) at Mi Comida.|
4221 W Bell Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85053
Closed Mondays, 11 a.m. - 9 p.m Tuesdays - Saturdays, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Sundays.
I recently took a trip to Washington, D.C. and ordered take-out roasted chicken with a spicy Aji Verde sauce from a hole-in-the-wall Peruvian restaurant. I've been pining for more Peruvian food ever since.
Upon returning at home, I did some searching and found more South American restaurants than I had anticipated. El Chullo recently opened near Central Phoenix and there are a bunch of places peppered throughout the East Valley.
I decided to head West to Mi Comida Restaurante Latino, a small 6-8 table restaurant in a strip mall just East of 43rd Avenue on Bell serving mostly Peruvian and Ecuadorian fare, but also items from Bolivia and Venezuela.
|Mi Comida Restaurante Latino serves homestyle Peruvian, Ecuadorian and other Latin American fare. |
The counter area at Mi Comida is papered in Best of awards from years past (including a Best Latin American Restaurant from Phoenix New Times in 2011). Ecuador tapestries line one wall. There's a curio cabinet with flags and trinkets on another. Carved wall hangings and Peruvian plaques flank the wooden table and chairs. The decor feels as if you're visiting a traveling relative's home...which doesn't feel far from the truth.
On the weekday I visited, an older gentleman served as host and waitstaff. Nothing was happening too quickly, but that was okay. The place was full, and no one (including myself) seemed to be in a big hurry.
|The Arepa con Queso (left) and Empanada con Puerco.|
The menu is expansive featuring dishes from Peru and Ecuador; Often the same dish is offered both ways.
Upon sitting down we were given a bowl of warm tortilla chips paired with a ramekin of fresh salsa that was so light and delicious, we downed it entirely before we had even placed our order.
My dining companions and I started off our meal with Peruvian Ceviche de Pescado ($10.95) -- a light and refreshing salad with chunks of whitefish, onions, cilantro and celery in a lime-y marinade. All were served over romaine leaves and topped with a roasted sweet potato slice and white potato (both cold). On the side, some Yuca and corn on the cob (both warm). The salad was refreshing and light; a perfect meal for a warm Arizona day.
Next, we sampled an Empanada con Puerco and a Arepa con Queso (each $2.15). The former had a light and flakey crust with some unexpected sweetness and heat. My fellow diner described the arepa as a "light and fluffy grilled cheese sandwich in the best possible way."
|The Ecuadorian Churrasco.|
The Ecuadorian Churrasco ($11.95) was a sum of its parts. The steak itself was a size-y piece of seasoned meat. Alone, it was nothing special, but it's all about the accompaniment: a fried egg, sweet plantains, tomato, French fries, avocado and rice. Eaten all together, it's magic.
The Seco de Pollo ($7.39) is a chicken stew served with yellow rice and roasted plantains. The meat was a little tough, but the sauce had great flavor and I'm a sucker for anything paired with a sweet plantain.
The menu is vast. We'll head back to try the tamales or one of the many fish entrees (grilled, fried or wrapped in banana leaves). I was also intrigued by the Sanduche de Puerco (Pork Sandwich) served with yuca fries.
Mi Comida has a high chair and there are plenty of menu items that are child-friendly (see the fluffy grilled cheese above).