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Don Pedro’s

Neighbourhood: Exchange
114 Market Ave
Phone: 204-956-7465
Entrees: $11-$25

(2014 review)

Down-tempo electronica sounds as servers lead patrons through a spacious cantina decorated with kitschy Latin-American souvenirs, sombreros, colourful masks and Corona paraphernalia. Behind the bar counter, two dozen tequila bottles, all different brands, gleam off neon signs. A festive vibe resonates.

At the bar, patrons pull up stools and sip on sangria and margaritas. Fresh strawberries, pineapple or mango blend with tequila. In another corner, servers speak informally and passionately about the culinary details of the new menu, updated last December by Chef Diego Rios. Rios, trained in Peru in Latin American culinary arts, has added tastes of Argentina, Peru, and Colombia onto the menu.

He constructed three sauces to layer flavours: chimichurri, red pepper chimichurri and Amarillo pepper sauce. Both chimichurris inject grilled meat with citrusy undertones. Amarillo pepper, considered part of the Peruvian condiment trinity, adds sweetness. These sauces, used alone or combined into a fiery hodgepodge, infuse dishes with authentic Latin American flair.

All three are present in Lomo Saltado, a Peruvian dish made of sautéed veggies and beef tenderloin slices over a bed of rice and french fries. The red pepper chimichurri adds a pleasant jolt to the pork chuleta, a breaded pork cutlet topped with pico de gallo. This dish evokes pleasant tension between citrus and savoury, which make up the foundation of this cuisine. Don Pedro’s Mixed Grill builds on this palate by contrasting sour-orange pork belly, tender chorizo and grilled steak strips

The tastes of Mexico remain Don Pedro’s main draw. Baja burritos, packed tight and covered with heaps of meat and oozing sauce, are  best devoured with utensils on hand. Buttery avocados serve as a counterpoint to salty breaded white fish in the fish tacos.

Rios has created refined comfort food, taking queues from familiar tex-mex fare and a cross section of Pan-Latin American tastes.

Don Pedro’s is open Tuesday to Friday 11:00-10:00, and Saturday 4:00 – 10:00


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