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El Chalan was the first Peruvian restaurant in the DC metropolitan area, and continues to be one of the most recognized in the area, and has received multiple favorable reviews. Located on 1924 I Street, El Chalan serves up delicious Peruvian fare every day of the week. Our most known dishes are the lomo saltado, causa, and ceviche. The pisco sours are also very popular.

About Pedro and Elsa Espinoza

El Chalan Restaurant was founded in 1975 by Pedro and Elsa Espinoza. The Espinoza's immigrated from their native land, Peru, in the late 1960's with a dream to provide a better life for themselves and their family. They quickly acculturated to the customs and traditions of their new land but missed very much their native cuisine. After, a few years in the DC metropolitan area they opened a carry-out in Arlington, Virginia. They initially sold traditional American food such as hot dogs, hamburgers, and fries during the week and Peruvian food was served only on the weekends. Soon, there was increasing demand for the Peruvian menu, and they converted the carry-out to a restaurant and changed the name from Washington Lee Carry-out to El Chalan Restaurant.

Business Hours

  • Monday - Friday: 11:30 AM - 10:00 PM
  • Saturday: 1:00 PM - 10:00 PM

Editorial Reviews

El Chalan
Tom Sietsema, Washington Post | October 15, 2006

Can't get to Lima? Your best alternative is a meal at the cramped, noisy, engaging El Chalan. The underground restaurant with the low ceilings and religious art has been pouring pisco sours and peeling potatoes -- which go into seemingly every other dish -- for a quarter-century, a small miracle in the here-today-gone-tomorrow restaurant business.



  • Attire: Casual
  • Parking: Street Parking
  • Average Price ( Per Person ): Under $20
  • Family Restaurant: Yes
  • Alcoholic Beverages: Full Bar, Specialty: Pisco
  • Carry Out: Yes
  • Outside Seating: No
  • Wheelchair Accessible: No
  • Has TV: No
  • Takes Reservations: Yes
  • Cuisine: Peruvian
  • Credit Cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express

Restaurant ID: 299

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