A Celebration of Peru’s Independence Day at Jarana Restaurant, American Dream Mall

by Tom Lavecchia
Jarana Restaurant

On a warm summer evening, my wife and I had the pleasure of dining at Jarana Restaurant in the American Dream Mall as they joyously celebrated Peru’s Independence Day with a fantastic live band, flowing drinks and plenty of food. From the moment we stepped inside, we were immersed in a lively atmosphere, filled with colorful decorations and the soulful sounds of Peruvian music, setting the stage for an unforgettable dining experience.

The evening commenced with an array of appetizers that left us eager for more. The aji de gallina croquetas with aji amarillo and chicken were a delightful start to our culinary journey. The creamy and slightly spicy aji amarillo sauce complemented the tender chicken, creating a perfect harmony of flavors. Alongside it, the rocoto cream offered a tangy kick that elevated the croquetas to another level of indulgence. The cebiche clasico with shrimp was a refreshing burst of oceanic flavors. The shrimp was fresh and succulent, perfectly marinated in the classic leche de tigre. The choclo and sweet potato added a sweet contrast, making it a delightful and authentic rendition of this Peruvian favorite.


Photo by Liz Clayman

For the main course, we decided to share the Lomo Saltado, a classic dish that embodies the fusion of Peruvian and Chinese cuisines that you often see across the country. The beef tenderloin was sauteed in a wok along with red onions, tomatoes, and chilis, imparting a burst of sizzling flavors. The potato wedges were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, making for a satisfying side to soak up the sauce, while the rice added a comforting touch to the whole ensemble. The portion was generous, and the dish’s presentation was nothing short of artistic, showcasing the chef’s attention to detail.

lomo saltado in NJ

Photo by Noah Fecks

No celebration is complete without exquisite cocktails, and Jarana’s bartenders certainly knew how to craft them to perfection. We indulged in the Chicha Sour, a delightful twist on the classic Pisco Sour. The blend of pisco Quebranta, chicha morada, lime, and egg white resulted in a well-balanced concoction that electrified our taste buds. The hint of chicha morada—a vibrant Andean beverage made from purple corn and fruit juices—brought a unique sweetness to the drink, making it a refreshing choice for the hot summer evening. To conclude the evening, we savored an Espresso Martini that was a true revelation. The rich coffee flavors perfectly balanced with the sweetness of the liquor, creating a delightful after-dinner treat.

Throughout the evening, the service at Jarana was impeccable. The staff members were friendly, knowledgeable, and attentive, making sure that every aspect of our dining experience was exceptional. Their passion for Peruvian cuisine was evident in the way they described each dish, and their enthusiasm added to the overall ambiance of the evening.

Cocktails in NJ

Photo by Noah Fecks

One of the highlights of the night was undoubtedly the live band playing traditional Peruvian music. Their mesmerizing melodies and rhythmic beats transported us to the streets of Lima, infusing the restaurant with an infectious energy that had everyone clapping and dancing in their seats. It was heartwarming to see fellow diners joining in the celebration, making it a true community experience.

Our celebration of Peru’s Independence Day at Jarana Restaurant in the American Dream Mall was an outstanding experience. From the vibrant atmosphere and the mouthwatering Peruvian delicacies, to the well-crafted cocktails and the captivating live band, every element contributed to a night we will cherish for a long time. If you’re looking for an authentic taste of Peru in a lively and welcoming setting, Jarana is undoubtedly the place to be. I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone seeking a delightful gastronomic adventure and a celebration of culture and joy.  Book your reservations here and get ready to enjoy authentic Peruvian cuisine in an immaculate setting.

About the Author/s

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Tom is a lifelong New Jersey resident, Rutgers and FDU alumni and the publisher of The Digest.

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