Somehow, for the past 2 years (about how long they have been in business), I have managed to completely miss Pollo El Rey at Northeast Plaza.  Admittedly, it is tucked deep in a back corner, invisible not only from the street, but from most of the parking lot as well.

Pollo El Rey

After a few mediocre experiences with Peruvian food in the past, I had tended to avoid it. Lately, I’ve been re-visiting it and discovering that I’ve been missing out on some pretty spectacular flavors.

Pollo a la brasa

Pollo El Rey focuses on the most common dish in Peru – pollo a la brasa – spit-roasted chicken, cooked over wood (but not smoked). The chicken is heavily seasoned with black pepper, achiote, huacatay (Peruvian black mint), aji amarillo paste (yellow chili), garlic and lemon.

Ovens

If you’re a fan of roasted chicken (I could eat it every day), it’s worth a trip here – they have 3 ovens dedicated to it… Plus the papas fritas with Huancaina (white cheese, aji amarillo, oil, salt, evaporated milk, etc.) sauce are “groin-grabbingly good” (c.f.: Homer Simpson, food critic).

Chicha morada

Chicha morada makes a perfect companion drink to the pollo (and no, it’s not the chicha fermented with human spit). Chicha morada is made from purple maize and pineapple skin, boiled with cinnamon and clove and served cold.

Pollo El Rey
3337 Buford Hwy NE
Atlanta, GA 30329
(404) 327-8819

Pollo El Rey on Urbanspoon

I probably shouldn’t let this out, but Pollo El Rey is located next to a Goodwill Store. A quick stroll after lunch netted me 3 mint condition cookbooks: Mark Bittman’s The Minimalist Cooks at Home, and Jeff Smith’s The Frugal Gourmet’s Culinary Handbook and The Frugal Gourmet Cooks Three Ancient Cuisines – all out of print,  for a grand total of $7.50!

Cookbooks

4 thoughts on “Pollo El Rey

  1. I don’t know if that is considered the most common. Really in a house, you won’t be eating pollo a la brasa a lot…..maybe bread and olives. If poor financially, papa a la haucaina is good because of the potatoes w/sauce served over a bed of lettuce, one black olive, and quartered egg. Tallarin is common if poorer since it’s noodles flavored as you wish.

    Beef heart anticuchos are the most common street food at night.

    Ceviche would be the national dish. It’s the first food that would pop into one’s head if mentioning Peruvian food.

    I can’t believe you’ve had less than spectacular Peruvian food. My favorites are cau cau, lomo saltado, aji de gsllina, ceviche. May I ask what you tried.

  2. Correct – “most common” was probably an overstatement. As for poor experiences – most of them were probably 10 years ago. I don’t remember the names of the dishes, but I do remember a flavourless fish stew (Machu Picchu) and exorbitant pricing for a small, bland lunch (Contigo Peru & Machu Picchu).

  3. Per your recommendation, I went by this place for lunch last Friday. I ended up splitting a whole chicken, fries and a chicha morada with a friend…all for only $18. Very good all around…I will definitely go back.

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