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Mar 15, 2007 01:29 AM

El Pollo Inka

I heard it was good.

It's a family chain.

Which is best?

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    1. re: elmomonster

      Agreed, the Lawndale branch seems to be the best (haven't tried the westside branch).

      El Pollo Inka has great lunch specials, a real steal at about $7. They start you off with rolls and a nice bowl of Chicken Cilantro Soup, the portions are very generous, and they have this green sauce that is just amazing. If anyone has a recipe for that sauce, please pass it along.

      I usually opt for the Vanitas Saltada (sp?). Its a stir fry of beef, green beans, tomatos, and onion. Tip: The leftovers make for a delicious breakfast scramble.

      1. re: B Minus

        The Westside branch closed a couple of years ago. I didn't like the Westside branch at all, haven't tried the Lawndale branch... it kind of put me off, especially since there were a LOT of Peruvian restaurants where I used to live (East Valley).

        That sauce is called salsa de ají and contains chiles de ají (yellow or green, substitute serranos if you don't have ají peppers or ají amarillo paste out of a jar), lettuce, saltine crackers, oil (olive or canola), S&P and then thin with water if necessary. Further details can probably be found with a search of the Home Cooking board.

      2. re: elmomonster

        I also think the Lawndale branch (on Hawthorne Blvd.) of El Pollo Inka is best. I heard that the Lawndale branch is the only El Pollo Inka location that is allowed to roast its chickens over wood.

        1. re: Norm Man

          Wow - that has to make a huge difference. I've eaten at their other places in West LA, Hermosa/Redondo, and Gardena. I like their food, but I prefer El Rocoto on Artesia (just a little further down the street from the Gardena restaurant). Maybe the Lawndale location would change my mind...

      3. The Westside branch closed about a year ago.

        1. I'm a big fan of Peruvian food and my ultimate favorite is Inka Mamas in Lake Forest.

          I go there at almost every week. It's very authentic and are very consistent. Unlike a couple of Inka Grills I've tried in OC.
          Their empanadas are amazing and it comes with this tangy lime dipping sauce. I usually go and get the cerviche (lime marinated seafood), and the Tallarin Verde con Bisteck Apanado – (Spaghetti pasta in a spicy green spinach and basil sauce – served under a piece of pounded top sirloin steak, covered in garlic, lightly breaded, then pan friend to Mama’s satisfaction


          I have not been to El Pollo Inka but I'd like to try that one too.

          1 Reply
          1. re: karynx78

            Next time you go to Inka Mamas, please order some food for me too. This description makes me so hungry. Yum. :-)

            I think I've been to an Inka Grill in Costa Mesa, near the Lab. It was pretty good-- decent salads-- but not mindblowing. This Inka Mamas place sounds way better.

            This is the first time I've heard of El Pollo Inka.

          2. Let me be the first to say that Pollo Inka sucks! I'm no expert, but I am from Peru and all I can say is that if you've only had food from this restaurant you haven't had Peruvian. I don't know where you live, but if you're around the LA area you should definitely try Los Balcones del Peru in Hollywood, by far the best around. Start with the anticuchos or the Papa a la Huancaina, and for the main course try the (always popular) Lomo Saltado, or their Choros a la Chalaca. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it...and it's past 10pm. Only my grandma's cooking comes closest...and that's frakkin saying something! This place is awesome. They unfortunately don't have Cuzqueña beer (at least the last time I went they didn't) but Cristal works just as well.
            You can also try Mario's on Melrose. The place is jam packed every time I go but its obvious why. Try their Saltado de Mariscos.

            12 Replies
            1. re: onigiriyumyum

              forgot the addresses:

              Los Balcones del Perú
              1360 N. Vine Street
              Hollywood, California
              (323) 871-9600

              5786 Melrose Ave
              Los Angeles, CA 90038
              (323) 466-4181

              1. re: onigiriyumyum

                Is Los Balcones del Peru a hole-in-the-wall near the 101 freeway? I think I've driven by the place, and thought of checking it out. I know nothing about Peruvian food, but I trust your opinion.

                1. re: katkoupai

                  hehehe, its always those hole-in-the-wall places that have the best food. If you're ever in the SFV you should also try Machu Picchu in Van Nuys. Now talk about a hole-in-wall, jees! The food is good...not the best, but definitely worth a try.

                  6465 Van Nuys Blvd
                  Van Nuys, CA 91401
                  (818) 997-3394

                  okay, i've had enough...I'm getting hungry and its too late to eat.

                    1. re: onigiriyumyum

                      Also (am I a broken record yet?) Las Quenas on Sherman Way and Bellaire in NoHo... and last I checked, they had both light and dark Cusqueña.

                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                        ABSOLUTELY! How could I forget Las Quenas...good times Ubergeek.

                  1. re: onigiriyumyum

                    I love Marios. It has never let me down. But Los Balcones, I tried for the first time recently, and the potatoes were too dry, it wasn't quite as juicy. I've had it once before in catering and thought I would dismiss the shortcomings because it was a catering order, but I'd wait at Marios for thirty minutes any day before going to Los Balcones again. I just might give it one more chance before making this law, but that was the sentiment I was left with.

                    1. re: MarikoDeVille

                      have you tried the anticuchos at Los Balcones? pretty tasty, gotta tell ya! But yes, I would wait at Mario's any day.

                      1. re: onigiriyumyum

                        I found Mario's to be a little too oily for me... I prefer El Rocoto in Gardena. Among alot of dishes that I've enjoyed there is their dessert - kind of like an alfajore but much bigger, with the dolce de leche having a different but equally satisfying texture... I can't remember the name - do you know what it is called?

                        1. re: bulavinaka

                          like an alfajor huh? hmm. the only thing i can think of is a slice of Pionono maybe? its like a roll of manjar blanco or dulce de leche and a thin cake...maybe not.
                          see: http://bocaditosyreposteria.wordpress...
                          I'd suggest having the Lucuma ice cream for those of you who have yet to try it. It's a little textury but very decilicious.

                            1. re: onigiriyumyum

                              Thanks for the tips... like the ice cream you mention, that's what I like about Peruvian food in general - lots of different interpretations and combinations that result in amazing food! I know a Chilean couple who strongly feel that Peru has the tastiest food in South America. I think we can all concur...

                    2. I just went to the Torrance location for the first time a couple of weeks ago. All I can say is, WOW! I ordered the Lomo Saltado with the fries cooked well done (on rec from the waiter) and a bowl of the chicken cilantro soup. I was one happy girl. The service was wonderful and that Aji! Aiiiiiiii!!! I ate the whole bottle (well, my dining companion did get some) and the waiter had to bring another!! Holy crap, I would swim in that if it would not burn my eyes!! The plantains were awesome as well. I will definitely be back when I am in the area. Just great!