Lima offers gourmet dining experience with Peruvian flair

Lima offers gourmet dining experience with Peruvian flair

Lima offers gourmet dining experience with Peruvian flair
Chef John Marquez’s menu at Lima includes hearty sandwiches and slow-cooked meats. (Richard Eber photo)

Richard Eber, Taste and TellCONCORD, CA (Jan. 26, 2023) — Tower Grille, Ravioli’s, EJ Phair and Yum Squared are among the casualties of COVID-19 and high rents among non-franchise restaurants surrounding Concord’s Todos Santos Plaza.

The Peruvian restaurant Lima has ended up being the sole survivor. After almost closing a couple years ago, it has emerged to be one of the best places to dine in the region.

Under the tutelage of chef/co-owner John Marquez, Lima serves a growing clientele of Latinos, returning and first-time customers.

My recent dining experience began with a pisco sour made from Peruvian liquor, egg whites, fresh lime juice, simple syrup and angostura bitters. This prepped me to try their delicious carnitas sliders stuffed with salsa and sweet potatoes. These items and other favorites can be economically procured at Happy Hour, 2:30-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

Not missing a beat, I searched the menu for my next course. Fortunately, Chef Marquez came by my table to offer his advice. After six years at the helm, he remains enthusiastic about improving the dining experience at Lima’s.

With a background that included graduating from culinary school, the Danville native learned the trade from famed chef Gaston Acurio in Peru. After apprenticing with Kevin Gin at Bridges and famed Michelin recipient Thomas Keller of the French Laundry in Yountville, Marquez worked for nine years at the Artisan Bistro in Lafayette.

Since opening Lima in 2016, his expertise has made it a gourmet destination.

Getting the menu right

Crafting a menu of Peruvian delicacies, Marquez has had to keep his prices down to attract a middle-class clientele from Concord. This includes a long list of marinated ceviche dishes sourced from Pacific Harvest of San Juan Bautista. Lima’s Basque-inspired seafood paella and spicy fish stew are other marine offerings on the menu.

Over the years, I’ve sampled their beef tenderloin stir-fry (Lomo Saltado), classic Peruvian roasted chicken and shredded chicken stew cooked in a mild white sauce. Wanting something different this time, I ordered the braised lamb shank (Seco de Cordero) cooked in a subtle cilantro-beer broth. Utilizing American grown lamb provided a non-gamey alternative to the more common New Zealand product.

As Peru is famed for their beef, Lima does not disappoint with beef heart, empanadas, a “poor man’s” 12-oz ribeye or prime rib served at holiday dinners. Their El Sanguchon (“grand”) sandwich stuffed with grilled sirloin, plantains, fried eggs and anticucho sauce is an excellent value on the lunch menu.

In this competitive time period, Lima has several other sandwich specials featuring chicken, pork and a Wagyu burger with French fries along with a soft drink for less than $20.

Even though Lima’s menu is rather small, I never get bored with their different ways to prepare the Peruvian mainstay of potatoes. I am especially fond of the Papa Rellena featuring a smashed potato filled with ribeye, olives and a hard-boiled egg served with criolla salsa.

Lima has a reasonably priced wine list, often including some $25 bottles. For a few bucks more, I recently tried a Gloria Ferrer 2012 Sonoma pinot noir that paired well with our Peruvian dishes.

Strong foundation

In all, one can’t be anything but impressed by what Marquez has accomplished. With a strong foundation of customers and key staff that has remained with him from the beginning, he hopes to add a few homestyle dishes in the future.

“Being everything in a small business, from chef, to plumber and accountant, Lima keeps me engaged and involved all of the time,” Marquez explains.

Located at 2151 Salvio St. in Concord, Lima is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday-Sunday. Reservations are especially recommended for the weekends. For more information, call 925-925-309-7774 or visit

Contact Richard Eber at ­

Rich Eber
Rich Eber

Rich Eber is a local journalist and long time resident of Concord.  His diverse topics covered go from politics to gourmet food.  He can be reached at