Mo-chica is a vibrant, urban restaurant serving Chef Ricardo Zarate’s modern interpretations on traditional Peruvian comfort food.
Originally built in an assuming location in downtown Los Angeles, the restaurant’s humble setting proved a stark contrast for the innovative cuisine served. Chef Ricardo Zarate, a good-humored Lima native who trained at some of London’s most celebrated restaurants for 12 years, opened Mo-chica in the summer of 2009 as his first solo endeavor. The restaurant immediately received recognition from both local and national audiences, including the selective palate of a French-born restaurateur, Stephane Bombet. The pair instantly bonded, became partners, and—along with other investors—developed Picca—a lively, modern Peruvian canteen located just outside Beverly Hills.
Both Mo-Chica and Picca, since their inceptions, were listed in LA Weekly’s 99 Essential Restaurants, curated by Jonathan Gold. In 2011, Los Angeles Magazine named Picca one of the ten Best New Restaurants in L.A. and Food & Wine Magazine awarded Zarate as “Best New Chef, People’s Choice.” In 2012, GQ Magazine’s Alan Richman cited Picca as one of the “Ten Best New Restaurants in America,” and recognized the Artichoke with Huacatay Aioli and Aji Amarillo Butter as one of his “5 Best Dishes of the Year.” Additionally, Zarate is currently the face of Coca-Cola in Peru, further establishing his status as a culinary ambassador.
Fueled by the unprecedented momentum of the restaurants’ successes, Zarate resurfaced his dream for Mo-chica—one he wasn’t able to fully materialize with the original location due to limited resources. The chef, alongside partner Stephane Bombet, found a larger space downtown that could embody the original vision. Thus, the new Mo-chica was born in May 2012—a large, industrial-esque restaurant with vibrant-hued walls tagged with graffiti (thanks to local artist Kozem), whimsical touches; an urban-artsy space serving modern takes on traditional Peruvian comfort food.