Steps behind Vancouver’s famous steam clock sits Silvestre Gusto Latino, a family owned gem in the heart of Gastown. Run by Peruvians, it is one of the few restaurants in Vancouver that serves authentic South American cuisine. Its interior is modest: the open kitchen overlooks small two-seat tables and the walls are a bright orange. Don’t be fooled by Silvestre’s unassuming interior; its menu offerings are anything but humble.
Aji de Gallina and Lomo Saltado are some of the classic Peruvian dishes that Silvestre is known for. Aji de Gallina is pulled chicken infused with spicy aji sauce and garlic. Topped with Parmesan cheese, this dish has a unique, nutty flavour. The Lomo Saltado, a beef stir-fry, is a more familiar dish for those not well acquainted with South American cooking. Sirloin steak is first marinated in aji Amarillo, vinegar, and cilantro; the steak is then served over French fries, sautéed onions, and white rice. Both dishes are simple, yet delicious, and sure to hit the spot.
On a sweeter note, Silvestre’s dessert case is irresistible to any sugar lover. From Arroz con Leche (rice pudding) to Alfajores (cookie sandwiches with caramel filling), Silvestre showcases a variety of decadent treats. As the desserts are conveniently located beside the till, you may have to exert some willpower while paying for your dinner.
Silvestre does not label itself as a fusion restaurant; it is the closest you will get in Vancouver to flavours otherwise found only in Peru. Next time you are in Gastown, consider Silvestre Gusto Latino. The entrées range from $20 to $25 and the price is well worth it. This unassuming, tiny joint is a rarity in Vancouver. It is truly one of a kind.
Silvestre Gusto Latino
317 Water Street