A new Peruvian restaurant, Llama Kid, opened in Austin last fall, first as a ghost kitchen business, and then as a physical restaurant. The restaurant, from co-owner chef Diego Ysrael Sanchez, is found at 4620 East Cesar Chavez Street in the Govalle neighborhood as of December 2021.
Through Llama Kid, Sanchez aims to recreate what he ate while growing up in his native Peru, using cooking techniques he picked up during his culinary career and using local, Texas ingredients, as he explains to Eater. He applies what he describes as a “modernistic spin” to Peruvian cuisine.
On the menu, this means an array of simple cebiches — citrus-marinated raw fish — such as the nikkei with ahi tuna, sesame seeds, and daikon; the mixto with fried calamari, fluke, shrimp, and octopus; and a vegan version with cauliflower, pickled mushrooms, and sweet potatoes.
Then there are entrees like lomo saltado (stir-fried beef or chicken, with a vegan iteration too), pollo a la brasa (rotisserie chicken with fried potatoes), and arroz chaufa (fried rice with beef or chicken), alongside sides like fried yucca and rice.
As for drinks, there are two non-alcoholic beverages available: the chica morada (a purple corn-star anise-pineapple rind-apples libation) and the maracuya sour with passionfruit and agave. Cocktails will be added later as the liquor permit is still pending.
Sanchez came to Austin to work as the opening executive chef of downtown Greek fine-dining restaurant Simi Estiatorio. It opened in May 2021, but he left in August to pursue his own restaurant.
Since Sanchez moved to America in 1999 from Peru, he has worked with a variety of well-known chefs including Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Marc Forgione, and Peruvian chef Diego Muñez. He mostly worked in New York and had spent some time at the city’s now-closed La Mar Cebicheria under chef Gaston Acurio. Right before coming to Austin, he worked at Bahamas luxury resort Baha Mar.
Sanchez first opened Llama Kid as a virtual restaurant operating out of the Austin location of national dark kitchen brand Cloud Kitchen up in North Loop in September 2021. Then, he closed the business temporarily in November, and relocated and reopened it as a physical restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining areas in early December.
Llama Kid’s hours are from noon to 9 p.m. daily. There are both dine-in and takeout services available, as well as third-party deliveries through Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Grubhub, as well as catering.