Don Ignacio in La Molina is not just another restaurant that affords hands-on experience to university students under the tutelage of industry experts, but one that has innovation and high expectations as its guiding educational principles. Don Ignacio is housed within the Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola’s (USIL) campus and offers its diners complimentary access to the college’s convenient underground parking. The tastefully decorated and air-conditioned dining room with very well trained staff exemplifies a well managed restaurant. The seasonal menu available both in English and Spanish, as well as other interesting details explained below; make Don Ignacio an excellent option to enjoy Peruvian signature cuisine, whether for a business meal or a swanky outing. Besides a la carte dining, Don Ignacio offers an executive lunchtime menu for 36 Soles and a six-course tasting menu for 149 Soles, both including taxes.
There are two features of this restaurant that I particularly liked. The first was the custom-made bread cart that is wheeled to your table with an assortment of freshly baked goods made by the young pâtissières-in-training. The artisanal breads of the day were sesame seed, whole wheat, sweet potato, baguette and campesino. My favorite is definitely the über-supple sweet potato bread.
The second outstanding feature of this restaurant, which I greatly appreciate and would love to see more frequently, is a small card placed in a silver holder in front of each diner that provides a brief description of the dish that one is about to enjoy. The card includes details like the main ingredients, the techniques employed to prepare it, the origin of the dish and even a wine pairing suggestion. It is very useful and educational!
We only sampled a select few dishes from Don Ignacio, but they were more than enough to make me want to come back for more. The Don Ignacio tiradito trio is a visually spectacular and taste-bud-jolting starter. The trio consists of fine slices of the catch of the day with aji amarillo sauce, octopus with lime and olive, and scallops in tumbo sauce. Sweetness, citrus, fragrance and heat are words that come to mind when remembering how each tiradito is unique in its own way.
Another very pleasing appetizer is the falsos anticuchos. These have the great flavors of the traditional beef heart kabobs but are prepared with beef tenderloin marinated in aji panca and vinegar, coupled with bite-sized corn and coriander (pepián) soufflés encased in filo dough with anticucho-flavored mayonnaise and native potato shoestring fries. The flavor combination in this creation is truly delicious and the presentation is impeccable.
The appetizers are quite petite, so they are great for smaller appetites. Do get your own, or more than one if you intend to share.
A fish entrée we sampled was the grilled seabass meuniere, a fish filet in a butter, lime, parsley and flour sauce, served with yellow-potato gnocchi with a mildly spicy cream sauce and huachana sausage bits. This is a substantial dish that is very evocative of Peruvian flavors.
The pastry chefs take pride in presenting interesting desserts that can be accompanied with specialty teas from Quinta Esencia as well as fresh herbs brought to your table in a beautiful presentation on a tea cart. We had a most original dessert combo consisting of red fruit salad, puff pastry-wrapped crème brulée and elderberry-filled baby donuts. Part of the berry salad comes in an edible shot-glass that is broken at the table for extra sweet and crunchy bites.
Don Ignacio not only offers a very enjoyable experience, but it also has a comprehensive and regularly updated website where one can preview the menu, find directions and make reservations. If you live around La Molina, I strongly recommend coming to support a local business and if you don’t, it is worth making the trip to encourage culinary students. Either way, it’s a win!
Restaurante Don Ignacio
What: School Restaurant – Peruvian Signature Cuisine.
Where: Calle San Ignacio de Loyola 150, La Molina
When: Monday – Friday: 12:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. – 11 p.m., Saturday & Sunday: 12:30 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Reservations: (511) 340-1530 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Complimentary covered Parking
Starters: S./ 29-33
Entrées: S./ 33-45
Desserts: S./ 16-19
Executive Menu: S./ 36
Tasting Menu: S./ 149