Lomo Saltado Burritos y Más: Three Delicious Peruvian-Mexican Taquerías to Try in L.A.

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Do you love tacos? Do you also love Peruvian food? Well, at Pablito’s Tacos, Little LLama Tacos, and Inca Maya Tacos, these two culinary worlds are colliding in the best way possible. 

While Peruvian fusion restaurants are not new to the Los Angeles food scene, Peruvian Mexican fusion is a more recent trend booming across the city. Over the last couple of years, several establishments have taken the initiative to bring Peruvian Mexican fusion dishes into the mainstream scene through casual dining experiences, from food trucks to food stands to brick-and-mortar restaurants.

All over the city, you can enjoy classic Peruvian dishes like the popular lomo saltado, a pollo a la brasa plate, ceviche mixto, or any kind of taquería-style food. Still, now these three establishments have managed to merge two popular cuisines that deliciously blend well together.

And yes, they all have lomo saltado burritos.

Danny Rodgriguez of Pablito’s Tacos. Photo by Angela Burgos for L.A. TACO.
Peruvian-inspired pizza at Pablito's Tacos.
Peruvian-inspired pizza at Pablito’s Tacos. Photo by Angela Burgos for L.A. TACO.

Pablito’s Tacos

5600 Vineland Ave, North Hollywood, CA 91601

Pablito’s Tacos is a well-known business with a background just as rich as their many popular tacos. Pablito’s Tacos is owned by Danny Rodgriguez and started as a Peruvian fast-casual food truck nearly six years ago. The idea to merge two great culinary genres into one fusion sub-genre has allowed the Pablito’s brand to grow beyond tacos into other food categories such as Pablito’s pizza, Pablito’s chicken, and more to come. Rodriguez was born in Lima, Peru, and moved to the states at the age of ten, carrying a love and passion for Peruvian food instilled in him at a young age.

“Maybe you won’t try a Lomo Saltado, but you will try a taco, and maybe next time you will try a Peruvian-infused taco. Once you give it a shot – I know I got you.”

The effort to make Peruvian food more mainstream in Los Angeles by combining traditional Peruvian and Mexican food elements is a genius idea that people love. Pablito’s Tacos takes a lot of pride in their Taco fusion options— they have a Lomo Saltado taco, a Chicharrón taco (Peruvian-style roasted pork that is flash-fried, creating a tender and crispy texture), a Pollos a la Brasa taco, and even a veggie taco made with nopales and shitake mushrooms prepared as a lomo saltado. All of their signature taco meats are accompanied by Tijuana-style handmade tortillas. Pablito’s Tacos is located in North Hollywood (in the parking lot of Circus Liquor), where they also offer Peruvian-inspired Pablito’s Pizza. These Peruvian flavors include their Lomo Saltado pizza and La Verde. This Tallaríin Verde-inspired pizza features Peruvian pesto, tomato slices, milanesa, and house-made crema de rocoto (a dried Peruvian chile).

“Maybe you won’t try a Lomo Saltado, but you will try a taco, and maybe next time you will try a Peruvian-infused taco. Once you give it a shot – I know I got you.”

According to Rodriguez, the inspiration behind Pablito’s Tacos came from a simple question, “What happens if I take the elements of popular tacos and add a Peruvian touch to them?” What followed was an immediate boom that has resulted in them being able to open nearly five locations in less than a year. Rodriguez believed in the potential of Peruvian Mexican fusion early on as he pushed for the concept, and his efforts to bring Peruvian food into the mainstream are not unnoticed. With plans to expand Pablito’s Tacos even further, Rodriguez understands the hesitation behind fusion food, especially when it comes to traditional Peruvian dishes. 

“If you feel strongly about an idea, don’t let anyone deter you from making your idea a reality. If  you feel strongly about it, there is nobody that is going to be more passionate than you.”

Little Llama's Executive Chef Jean Valcarcel. Photo by Angela Burgess for L.A. TACO.
Little Llama’s Executive Chef Jean Valcarcel. Photo by Angela Burgos for L.A. TACO.
A plate of Little Llama tacos.
A plate of Little Llama tacos.

Little Llama Tacos 

222 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

“The concept is basically everything I love–my Peruvian heritage and tacos….”

Little Llama Tacos, a Peruvian-Mexican fusion casual restaurant, is located in DTLA. Little Llama is the beloved creation of Executive Chef Jean Valcarcel, which started as a pop-up experience at Smorsburg LA nearly four years ago. It has expanded its menu and reputation. At Little Llama Tacos, you can order anything from burritos to tostada tostadas to an assortment of tacos.

Valcarcel was born and raised in Callo, a seaside city in the Lima Metropolitan area of Peru, and has lived in Los Angeles for over 20 years. After completing the culinary program at Los Angeles Trade Technical College, Valcarcel ventured into different culinary projects before developing and debuting the concept behind Little Llama Tacos in 2016. The inspiration for the idea comes from his desire to combine the traditional recipes he learned to cook from his grandmother back in Peru with more well-known dishes in the states. 

“I wanted to translate Peruvian flavors into something more accessible to an Angelino, like in a taco, a tostada, or a burrito..”

Valcarcel understands that traditional Peruvian plates can sometimes be intimidating to try for the first time because of their size. He believes that trying a lomo saltado taco may feel like less of a commitment.

“The concept is basically everything I love–my Peruvian heritage and tacos….”

A look into the menu at Little Llama reveals a carefully curated mosaic of delicious flavors that makes Peruvian Mexican Fusion a one-of-a-kind culinary experience. The must-try items include the Lomo Saltado taco made with seared beef, smashed Yukon gold potatoes, tomatoes, and Aji Peruano nestled atop a hand-pressed corn tortilla. Other taco options on the menu include a shiitake mushroom saltado taco, an Ina Kola-braised carnitas taco, a Pomegranate-glazed pork belly taco, and a pollo a La Brasa taco. Their popular tostada options include the shrimp ceviche tostada, which features shrimp ceviche in aji amarillo leche de tigre, house-made guacamole with toasted cumin, and a mango jalapeno red onion salsa on a two blue corn tostada shells. These items can be enjoyed alongside their aji verde, aji Huacatay, and creamy huancaina sauce.

Little Llama is also debuting a line of all housemade Peruvian-Mexican fusion mixed drinks and cocktails, including Micheladas with a homemade Peruvian-infused mix and a sparkling maracuya sangría, and a chicha morada rosa sangría.

“The most important thing I want to do is take the flavors of my heritage further. I want Peruvian food to be known everywhere and hopefully for Little Llama tacos to be like the gateway.”

The Peruvian-inspired flavors at Little LLama Tacos are unlike anything you would get at any other Peruvian restaurant while still maintaining the core values of care and passion that go into traditional Peruvian cooking.

Inca Chicharrón. Photo via
Inca Chicharrón taco. Photo via Inca Maya Tacos.

Inca Maya Tacos 

15303 Sherman Way

Inca Maya Tacos is another Peruvian Mexican fusion establishment that is bringing together delicious combinations of classic Peruvian and Mexican dishes to North Hollywood. Inca Maya Tacos is a family-run business headed by married couple Florencia Oropeza and Felipe Oswaldo Amaris, and they opened in 2021. While the company may be celebrating its first anniversary, the owners are not new to the Peruvian food business, with nearly 15 years of experience in the Peruvian food industry. 

“There are established restaurants that bring fusion. What makes a fusion stand out is to know 100% the Mexican side and 100% the Peruvian side to know how to cook these foods. We are blending both traditional styles of cooking.” 

The menu at Inca Maya Tacos is composed of classic Peruvian plates such as lomo saltado, tallarín saltado, arroz chaufa, and classic Mexican taquería options such as tacos de asada and burritos. The fusion aspect comes in the variations of dishes and meats available. One can order a classic asada taco or opt for Lomo Saltado or Chicharrón frito (Peruvian-style fried pork) taco or burrito. Inca Maya utilizes hand-made tortillas made from yellow corn. Additionally, like any other Peruvian restaurant, they also make their blend of aji verde that can (and should be) enjoyed alongside any dish. 

Inca Maya also brings the Peruvian wok-frying cooking style to the forefront of their audience. By their food in this style right in front of their clients, they allow people to experience the traditional Peruvian cooking style in a way that is special and not always accessible.

The inspiration for Inca Inca Maya Tacos is not solely centered on creating delicious food but also on creating a business that cares and gives back to its staff and clients. The couple decided to go off on their own as a team in the food industry to be able to spend more time with their children and create jobs for others. With a seven-person staff, the couple understands the hardships that recent immigrants often face when looking for work, so they are dedicated to running their business with familiar values. This effort is being translated into their customer relations. 

“Our inspiration is to create these jobs and bring something new to the public. This is a chain where we can give people jobs, and we offer the public something new to try,” stated Oropeza.

Within a year of being open, Inca Maya Tacos has garnered a positive response from the surrounding community, resulting in many regular and happy clients.

“For us, it’s not just about selling food. We have sincerely gained many friends who trust us as much as we trust them.”

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