Coya Peruvian in San Diego: Del Mar’s Best Kept Secret

If you want to wow your family or friends with unforgettable flavors, take them on a gourmet trip to Peru at Coya Peruvian Secret. Peruvian cuisine is a blending of Latin American flavors with influences from the local Japanese, Chinese, and Spanish immigrant populations, all of which play out on the Coya menu nicely (the word “coya” translates as princess in the Inca language).

Coya Peruvian Secret

We love Peruvian food – it is hearty, comforting and has a unique flavor palate. And offering authentic flavors, Coya Peruvian Secret is undoubtedly a gem among Peruvian restaurants in San Diego. In this blog is my full review of Coya!

The name is no accident – Coya Peruvian Secret is easy to miss. You can walk right through it without realizing you’re in a restaurant.

Coya Peruvian Secret

Located in a cozy cottage, under an awning of trailing vines, Coya has a wonderful old world vibes. The decor is vibrant and plush; the food is exotic, and after two glasses of champagne, you’ll never want to leave.

You might never have been to Peru, but Coya rustic patio and secret courtyard surrounded with vines and hot pink bougainvilleas will make you feel like you were dining in Spain or the coast of Italy.

Coya Peruvian Secret
Coya Peruvian Secret

The food at Coya shows a great imagination, precision and a wonderful harmony of flavors. The menu is fresh, bold and soulful with sizable portions.

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs and Ahi Tuna Tartare

Coya serves up traditional Peruvian deliciousness with all the flavors of Lima (like lomo saltado, ceviche and lamb stew) with the rest being a fusion of flavors and ingredients. Expect the traditional Peruvian presentation, beginning with slices of roasted sweet potato. There are also kernels of the Andean white corn choclo plus a serving of Peruvian corn nuts (called cancha). These garnishes bring obvious differences in flavor and texture: starchy sweetness, nuggety chew, and a different crunch.

Red Wine Braised Octopus and Chacala Mussels

Coya took us on a culinary journey through the vibrant flavors of Peru. We sampled several dishes and we loved all of them! For starters, we had the Red Wine Braised Octopus, the Ahi Tuna Tartare, and the Chalaca Mussels. Each appetizer dish had that perfect mix of acidity, texture and refreshing zest that came in generous portions!

Red Wine Braised Octopus
Ahi Tuna Tartare

For the main dish we loved their Short Rib braised in red wine served with roasted yams and dried cherries. If you’ve never had Peruvian short ribs before, you’re in for a treat! Coya wine braised short ribs will change your life. Flavorful, soft, fall-off-the-bone meat marinated in red wine sauce. The depth of flavour and the richness of this dish is just amazing.

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

We also tried the Peruvian classics: lomito saltado made with a filet mignon, perfectly seasoned, and mixed with onions, tomatoes, fries, and served with garlic rice. The creamy white wine based rocoto sauce was outstanding.

Lomito Saltado

Their classic Lomito Saltado is the sort of food you will find at fine dining restaurants and quality steakhouses and those “elegant” places will charge you top dollar for a plate like this. That’s why we love the rustic and casual approach at Coya when a plate filled with high quality fillet mignon cuts is only at a fraction of the cost of its upscale counterparts. For only $28, you get a huge portion of Lomito Saltado. The dish was such a generous portion that we had left-overs for lunch the day after!

We also loved their mixed seafood dinner (Macho) which included pan-seared sea bass, scallops, mussels, shrimp, prawns, and calamari served with garlic rice. It was so good, we finished it down to the last grain of rice! 

Macho Seafood Platter

The dessert was one of the highlights of our visit. The cuatro leches was a new take on the traditional tres leches … it’s a must-try! It was denser than traditional tres leches we have had in the past but that seemed to make it even better.

Cuatro Leches

The menu is fairly broad in scope with vegetarian and gluten-free notations for each dish, offering something for everyone. The food is exotic and the outdoor patio is a fun place to enjoy great people-watching in Del Mar.

Coya Peruvian Secret

If you are seeking cozy colorful vibes for a magical date or family gathering Coya Peruvian Secret offers authentic flavors, warm ambiance, and exceptional service.

***Thank you to Coya Peruvian Secret for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.

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By inAra

Hi there! I’m May, a girl who loves to wander and wonder! I’m from Saigon, based in Los Angeles, but my current location is anywhere and everywhere. Travel, Photography, Tea Time, Picnic, Home Decor and Event Planning are a few of my favorite things.

inArabymay is a travel and lifestyle blog inspired by beautiful destinations, by color and nature, and by wonderful people that I’ve met on my journey.

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