In an almost mythic hero’s journey, Lima-born chef John Marquez has brought traditional Peruvian cuisine—served in an elevated style—to Todos Santos Plaza in Concord. Working under America’s most celebrated chefs, including Thomas Keller and Daniel Patterson, in Las Vegas, New York City, and San Francisco, Marquez climbed to the highest levels before returning to the East Bay in 2009 to open the stylish Artisan Bistro in Lafayette. This past November, after apprenticing at two of the Peruvian capital’s most celebrated restaurants, Marquez opened a simple and stunning eatery that serves classic dishes, such as pristine, flash-marinated ceviche with sweet potato and heirloom corn, and spicy skewered beef heart—its sweet meat mild and firm. On our visit, we also enjoyed a silky lamb shank and a shredded chicken stew enriched with parmesan and colorful ají amarillo. In short, Lima is an ambitious venture with a casual vibe, vibrant cuisine, and a very devoted chef.
2151 Salvio St., Concord, (925) 309-7774, limaconcord.com. Lunch and dinner daily.