Chef picks with Ratio’s Javier Uriarte

Javier Uriarte has been part of the Cola food scene for nearly a decade now, working at several area restaurants, including Garabaldi’s, Cola’s, and Motor Supply Company Bistro. Since opening Ratio in late 2020, the restaurant’s received rave reviews (5/5 on Facebook and 4.8 on Yelp) for its Peruvian-inspired tapas.

We love to see local businesses collaborate. So, when we saw The War Mouth + Ratio were working together on a four-course Sunday Family Meal with curated cocktails, we decided to catch up with chef Uriarte and talk about Ratio and his favorite Cola dishes.


The tomato pie empanadas highlight Peruvian-southern cuisine in one small dish. | Photo by @Ratiorestaurant

If someone is visiting Ratio for the first time, what’s something on the menu they must try?

I always recommend two first. If they like fish, definitely try our ceviche. It’s a Peruvian staple! I am very proud of the way we have simplified but not cut any flavors from something you can find in Peru. Second, I also always tell them to try the Empanadas! They vary on what it is inside, so there are options for everyone throughout the year. My mother showed me how to make them, so I feel honored to have a dish that represents her in a way.

What’s one other dish from a Columbia area restaurant and chef that you’d tell your friends to try?

I don’t go out often, but I do frequent Terra and Bodhi Thai in Lexington. At Terra, I’m always looking for their fish dish. Every time I go, it’s usually different, coming from Peru, I always enjoy a good piece of fish and or seafood. I recommend checking whatever fish dish they have available that night to friends and family. Chef Mike and the team are talented and can always count on a solid meal.

I know Bodhi Thai isn’t in Columbia, but that is gotta be my favorite restaurant overall!

I often enjoy their duck confit there. It’s crispy yet very moist and tender. Plus, chef Nivit does an outstanding job at every dish, so it makes it difficult to pick one.

How has the reception been since opening Ratio and introducing more Peruvian-inspired dishes to the Cola food scene?

I’m not sure how our dishes here at Ratio have influenced the Cola food scene, but I hope that Ratio is a place that is recognized for pushing new ideas and new diversity to the city for other cultures’ cuisine to come forward and do a nice sit-down restaurant.

As far as Columbia enjoying our Peruvian-inspired dishes, they have been received very well! I can honestly say that has surprised me because of the time we opened to the location. Fortunately, everyone around us in the Northeast has been good at supporting us. As well as a lot of guests from all over Columbia coming in and checking us out (even if it is a bit of a drive), we are always trying our very best to push the boundaries and improve as we continue to serve our city.

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