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“Diamond in the rough ... literally. A+++”

Restaurant El Refugio de Mamaine
Ranked #3 of 26 Restaurants in Chincha Alta
Cuisines: Peruvian
Description: El Carmen is best found via the Pan Americana at around km 205. There is a small sign for Hacienda San Jose there. The Restaurant is about 5km down the straight road, and signposted clearly.
Restaurant details
Description: El Carmen is best found via the Pan Americana at around km 205. There is a small sign for Hacienda San Jose there. The Restaurant is about 5km down the straight road, and signposted clearly.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
33 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Diamond in the rough ... literally. A+++”
Reviewed October 26, 2013

Thanks again to TripAdvisor, we avoided the overpriced hotel food and found this restaurant. Be warned, this place may be closing at 5:30pm as lunch is the important meal in Peru. We took the cab from our hotel to El Carmen to El Guayabo. Chincha is principally a farming community so don't expect the town to be anything what it is: no building higher than 2 storeys and everyone living in humble conditions.
You can't miss the restaurant, it's the central building that isn't humble abode. When you go inside, you see all these photos of Mamaine and what we assumed were famous people. There was this glass case full of awards. The menu is a one-pager that says I'm a diner type establishment. We were the only customers there because we arrived just before closing on a weekday.
I know we ordered a Carapulcra (pork stew with potatoes and spices that comes with these absolutely addictive noodles), a Mamaine special and something else. I just picked three things on the menu and hoped for the best. The "especial" I picked turned out to be a trio of stews which happened to be portions of the other two dishes we ordered. Needless to say, I didn't have to taste my family's dishes ... I had them on my plate already.
I have no idea what Mamaine puts in those dishes but they were absolutely delicious. It felt like these were simple dishes but they were damn tasty. I could eat those noodles all day. I'm getting hungry just writing this review.
If you are near this restaurant, say in Chincha, ... ask your tour guide if you can be taken here for lunch instead of whatever they have planned. Bribe them if you have to. This was one of proudest discoveries on the trip (thanks to internet research and wi-fi).
They don't have burgers or pizza. Any tour guide or hotel staff will warn you that this is really local type food. The adventurous will be rewarded with some damn fine and delectable food. I have no idea where else on the planet to find this type of food; I think I will be searching everywhere to find something even remotely similar ... just to have it again.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Nekkura
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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130 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    36
    58
    23
    8
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Oakland, California
Level Contributor
34 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Good Old Soul Food--Peruvian Style”
Reviewed December 15, 2011

This time I got a chance to meet the owner Mamaine Cottito personally. She is very personable and knows how to treat customers. I was even treated to some Afro-Peruvian drumming and dance entertainment by youth from the the surrounding community of Guayabo.

I would highly recommend the dish frijoles negros con seco (black beans, rice, and beef). This is a classic Afro-Peruvian dish and it's very tasty. If you like spicy food, be sure to ad some ají (a Peruvian chili pepper). My mouth is getting watery writing this review. Bye.

  • Visited November 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank BillSmith510
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakland, California
Level Contributor
34 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Peruvian “Soul Food””
Reviewed November 3, 2011

This Afro-Peruvian restaurant known as El Refugio de Mamaine is located in the Guayabo section of El Carmen in Perú's province of Chincha, the hub of Afro-Peruvian culture. Peruvian “Soul Food” has its roots in the southern department of Ica where African slaves were brought to work the plantations. Their dishes are prepared with ancient recipes that only black women have saved since the time of slavery.

I thought it was interesting how, despite my black skin in a predominately black community, the owner/manager spotted me as a traveler and welcomed me. I didn't get a chance to meet Mamaine, for whom the restaurant is named as she was too busy entertaining other visitors.

Visited December 2010
Helpful?
1 Thank BillSmith510
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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