Peruvian restaurant showcases traditional family recipes

The owners, Alejandra Saavedra and Ursula Valdizan of La Carreta represent the family-owned restaurant (Photo by Ari Davis.)
The owners, Alejandra Saavedra and Ursula Valdizan of La Carreta represent the family-owned restaurant (Photo by Ari Davis.)

Fresh ingredients and authentic recipes have helped make the family-owned La Carreta restaurant in Orem overcome typical business trials and be successful for the past 18 years.

“We’ve continued business because La Carreta has something for everyone, no matter where you’re from,” said owner Jorge Valdizan. “It helps that the Latino community is growing here, but there are many people who love Peruvian food.”

Upon entering the restaurant, the space is open and inviting, with tasteful decorations that represent Peruvian culture. Service is friendly and attentive, and every customer is treated like family. Many restaurants stereotype college students as bad tippers and, in turn, provide bad service, but La Carreta acts professionally and seems to love college students.

Peruvian cuisine uses many influences from the indigenous Inca but also incorporates foods from places like Spain, China, Germany and Italy that were introduced by immigrants. About half of the dishes are served with fries and rice, typical of Peruvian cuisine, and run from $6.99 to $12.99 per entrée.

“We specialize in seafood, steak and chicken dishes but offer many vegetarian options as well,” Valdizan said. “All of our dishes are prepared fresh, and we use authentic and personal recipes.”

First-time tasters of Peruvian food should stick to the house specials, which include beef, chicken and seafood dishes. A must-try is the Ceviche, a lemon-marinated raw fish served with lettuce, potato and yucca. Most dishes are not spicy, but for those who like a little kick, there are a few options.

“I had no previous knowledge of Peruvian food before eating at La Carreta,” said Michael Milkanin, a music dance theatre major. “But the decor and the service were impressive, and the food was very appetizing.”

The restaurant also provides imported drinks from the Andes region, such as Inca Kola and Chicha Morada, and unique desserts such as a burrito cheesecake and lucuma ice cream.

“We provide dishes that are typical of the authentic cuisine and culture, but everything can be enjoyed by anyone wanting to try different international options,” Jorge Valdizan said.

The restaurant caters weddings, quinceañeras and other events and has a large room set apart for private parties. La Carreta also presents live music from the Andes region on the first Friday and Saturday of each month.

“The food is likely to be very different than anything you’ve ever tried before,” said Christopher McNeill, a computer science major. “If you’re getting tired of the same food all the time in Provo, this is the place to try.”

La Carreta is located at 340 E. 1200 South in Orem and is open from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. (weekdays closed between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.).

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