You may be forgiven if you don’t immediately think of Peruvian cooking when you think of a scintillating night out with outstanding indigenous cuisine. And in Portland? However, put these preconceptions aside and join the crowds at Andina (1314 NW Glisan St., 503/228-9535, www.andinarestaurant.com , 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. and 4–11 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.–midnight Fri.–Sat., 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. and 5–9:30 p.m. Sun., $18–27); the restaurant’s take on South American cooking is unexpectedly delicious. The many small plates are rich in vegetarian choices—like quinoa-stuffed piquillo peppers—and can make a meal. Alternately, go for traditional Peruvian such as lamb shanks braised in black beer, or a new cuisine hybrid like quinoa-crusted diver scallops with wilted spinach and potato- parsnip puree.
A popular drinks and dinner spot in the Pearl District  is ¡Oba! (555 NW 12th Ave., 503/228-6161, www.obarestaurant.com , 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m. and 5–10 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 5–10 p.m. Sun., $19–39), an outpost of Nuevo Latino cooking, representing the cuisines of Cuba, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. However, this isn’t a fusion restaurant where two continents’ worth of cooking traditions gets whirred in a blender: Cooking is creative but authentic, and the flavors are admirably pure and strong. In addition to its selection of Latin specialties, the menu always features a série régionale, a focus on a regional cuisine that changes monthly. Because Oba is also one of Portland ’s favorite cocktail and small-plates scenes, with a boisterous bar that draws in the Pearl District’s beautiful young sophisticates, it’s possible to forget that it’s also a showcase of excellent cuisine.