Chef Carlos Altamirano, owner and operator of Mochica in Potrero Hill, Piqueos in Bernal Heights, La Costanera in Montara, Parada in Walnut Creek, and Sanguchon food trucks that serve the Bay Area, has opened his sixth concept in the Altamirano Restaurant Group: Paradita Eatery, a fast-casual concept serving modern Peruvian street food in the bustling Public Market Emeryville. “Paradita” means “little market” in Peruvian Spanish slang—a nod to the eatery’s sister restaurant, Parada. At Paradita, Chef Altamirano continues his deep commitment to finding high-quality and responsibly sourced ingredients and preserving the authenticity of Peru’s most treasured dishes, all while adding his signature modern twist.
“Paradita embodies the welcoming, cheerful and authentic spirit of a street market, which is an integral part of daily life in Peru,” says Chef Altamirano. “Fast-casual Peruvian food is a relatively new concept, but we are excited to lead the charge and expand our offerings in the Bay Area.”
Located in a highly visible corner location at the front entrance of the Public Market, Paradita offers casual, open seating throughout the restaurant in plain view of the kitchen, as well as outdoor tables and indoor bar seating. Ordered by guests at the counter and served on compostable serving ware, the menu offers a selection of organic salads, classic Peruvian sandwiches, empanadas, grilled anticuchos (meat skewers), pollo a la brasa (traditional Peruvian rotisserie chicken), a variety of rice bowls, an assortment of delectable sides and, for dessert, alfajores, the popular Latin-American artisanal cookies. The restaurant also offers pre-paid pick-up and delivery options, as well as a complete catering menu.
The five hearty rice bowls on the Paradita menu are sure to be a hit, with a selection including Ají de Gallina (stewed chicken in Peruvian ají amarillo pepper and cheese sauce with potato, Botija olive and egg; $12.75), Lomito al Jugo (stir-fried beef tenderloin with tomatoes, onions, cilantro and soy sauce, topped with French fries; $13.50) and Veggies Salteado (seasonal roasted vegetable medley topped with French fries; $11.50), all served with with Basmati rice and roasted vegetables. Sandwich highlights include the Fried Crispy Chicken sandwich (crispy chicken marinated in ají amarillo, lemon and sea salt, coleslaw, rocoto pepper crema and cilantro; $9.25) and Pan Con Chicarron (sliced roasted pork loin, fried yams, marinated onions in lime juice and rocoto crema; $9.75). The two salads offered are Quinoa Salad (toasted quinoa, mixed greens, tomatoes, choclo, green apple, queso fresco, passion fruit vinaigrette; $9) and Caesar Salad Carlitos (garlic butter croutons, Caesar-ají amarillo anchovy dressing), both of which may be accompanied by a chicken or pork belly skewer for an additional $4.25.
A signature menu item for Chef Altamirano is his famous Pollo a la Brasa, a half or whole rotisserie chicken marinated in Peruvian seasonings ($13.50 or $23.50), served with French fries and two sauces, huancaina and chimichurri. Another classic Peruvian street food, anticuchos (skewers), are available three ways at Paradita: chicken ($10.50), pork belly ($12.50), or corazon ($11.50), served with a grilled Yukon gold potato wedge (two skewers per order). Grab-and-go items range from Cancha (roasted and lightly sweetened Peruvian corn; $3.25) to Alfajores, rich dulce de leche-filled shortbread cookies topped with powdered sugar ($2.25).
Over the years, Chef Altamirano has developed a reputation for creating unforgettable dishes using innovative techniques while cooking with only the finest and freshest ingredients. Continuing in that tradition, the ingredients at Paradita are fresh, high-quality and sourced from well-respected local farms or farmer’s markets. Mary’s Organic Free-Range chickens are used exclusively in the rotisserie, alongside seasonally rotating proteins sourced from Marin Sun Farms and other local, sustainable suppliers. In addition, in 2010, Chef Altamirano founded Alta Farm in Half Moon Bay, Calif., a single-acre plot dedicated solely to producing the spicy rocoto variety of pepper, a foundational ingredient in Peruvian cuisine. Previously available only as a frozen import from South America, the rocoto pepper, grown from seeds brought in directly from Peru, is used liberally at Paradita.
Paradita’s beverage program features pisco, the traditional spirit of Peru. From classic pisco sours to chilcanos made with seasonally rotating variations ($9), the artisan craft cocktails are vibrant and refreshing. In addition, the restaurant offers traditional sangria ($8) and non-alcoholic Peruvian beverages such as chicha morada and maracuya punch ($3.50). The wine and beer programs consist of a carefully curated selection of food-friendly California and South American wines served by the glass and a host of bottled and draft beers on tap that were chosen specifically to complement modern Peruvian cuisine.
Designed by ASD | SKY and Crome Architecture, and inspired by Chef Altamirano's vision, the interior of Paradita is bright and inviting. Featuring a high ceiling and mix of steel and recycled and reclaimed oak furniture from Berkeley’s The Wooden Duck, with pops of vibrant colors throughout, the intimate atmosphere is further accentuated by several custom pieces by Bay Area artists Letty Samonte and Bridget Moser.
Paradita, located at 5959 Shellmound Street in Emeryville, California, is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Complimentary parking is available at Public Market Emeryville.