Miss Paiche and Mo-Chica? Chef Ricardo Zarate is back with a Peruvian pop-up

Ricardo Zarate pop-up

Ricardo Zarate, co-owner and chef of the now-closed Mo–Chica, has signed on to do a pop-up dinner series in Santa Monica. Pictured is Zarate cooking in the kitchen at Mo-Chica. 

(Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

After a short hiatus from the Los Angeles restaurant scene, Ricardo Zarate, former chef at Picca and the now-closed Paiche and Mo-Chica, is back. And he’s getting ready to launch a limited-time Peruvian pop-up called Once.

The news comes just a day after Zarate announced he had signed on as executive consulting chef at year-old restaurant Smoke.Oil.Salt. 

The new pop-up series will take place every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, beginning Aug. 6, at Santino’s Santa Monica. As of now, there is no end date for the pop-up. 

Once (pronounced on-seh, meaning 11), was inspired by Zarate’s place as the 11th child in his family. And the dinners are meant to bring back his childhood memories of Peru.


The menu will include 11 a la carte plates, meant to be shared. Exact details on the menu are slim, but some confirmed dishes include lomo saltado, ceviches and tiraditos

Guests will be able to order beer, wine and low-proof cocktails by Feisser Stone, known for his libations at Hinoki and the Bird. 

Reservations are available from 6 to 10 p.m., exclusively through the restaurant reservation service Table8. Reservations can be made up to two weeks in advance, beginning Friday. 

3021 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica,


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