Restaurant dining in Long Beach has changed quite a bit since the last Dateline Dining.

The dining experience has changed at Aji Peruvian Cuisine on Fourth Street, but the food is still unique and good, reflecting the cuisine of Peru emphasizing fresh fish and high-quality beef.

Now, dining is outside in the back, in a former parking lot. And menus can be viewed with a QR code on your phone. The tables in the former parking lot are 8-10 feet apart.

“We want people to feel safe, and have a good time,” owner Mitto Barriga said.

Barriga said they have lots of regulars for “good food, good times and friends."

About The Food

Barriga said customers’ “blockbuster” favorite is the Lomita Saltado ($25) — sautéed beef tenderloin, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, hand cut fries and steamed rice. The high-quality beef comes as perfectly grilled tender chunks. It’s a big portion and the tomatoes are soft and flavorful. The fries are as good as any in the city: crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Tallarrines Verdes ($14) is creamy pesto, basil and spinach. Add a panko-breaded beef tenderloin for $8. Another good choice is the Pescado a lo Macho, which is grilled grouper, shrimp, calamari, octopus, spicy sofrito (tomatoes and spices) and steamed rice.

Barriga describes his burgers as “killer” and the Perucha Burger ($15) There are several kinds of Ceviche. I’d recommend the Ceviche Mercado ($17) — sea bass, octopus, shrimp, fried yucca, Leche de Tigre and rocoto. The Leche de Tigre is supposed to be spicy and it is, which works great with the tender sea bass, the shrimp and calamari. It’s a very generous portion.  

A good appetizer choice is Papa Rellena de Carne: potato mash stuffed with sirloin steak, raisins, onions, eggs, and cilantro, topped with Salsa Crio.

Desserts

Owner Barriga said he will be adding new desserts by the end of the year but until there’s Chilean subtropical ice cream, flan and Picarones, which are squash-yam doughnuts with cinnamon and a chancaca syrup, a warm sweet syrup made from sugarcane. It’s accompanied by sweet potato fries.

Beverages

 A beverage highlight is the Chicha morada ($3.50), a refreshing non-alcoholic combination of Peruvian Purple corn beverage, pineapple, oranges, lime juice, cinnamon and cloves.

Wines come from New Zealand, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Argentina, and California. Wines by the glass at $10 Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Red Blends, Chardonnay, Rose, Riesling, Cava. Beers include a Cuzquena Lager bottled beer from Peru, Bikini Blonde Ale from Maui Brewing and Dark Oatmeal Stout Nitro.

Important To Know

Aji Peruvian Food is at 2308 E. Fourth St., opening at 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Sundays. The phone number is 562-439-8545 and the website is www.ajiperuviancuisine.com. They’re pet friendly and parking is on the street.

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