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Jun 13, 2007 01:45 PM

Pollo Campero, Sunset and Western, Update

Found myself starving before opening the concessions stand for our theatre group in Hollywood and knew that if I didn't get some dead flesh in me I was liable to o.d. on chocolate chip cookies so I picked up a two piece (leg and thigh) meal which came with a side of coleslaw so vile I will not speak of it. I added a side of (soppy but flavorful in that greaseball way) fried bananas. Yes. I am an asshole to order fried bananas on a chocolate cookie avoidance mission. The buzz on Campero has so died down, I forgot it was a fried, rather than grilled (ala Pollo Loco) product. I haven't eaten KFC in many moons but in the realm of taste and sensory memory this gnarly, gristly, grease soaked stuff was reminiscent of the Colonel, only with more chili powder and salt. And my 2 pieces of chicken, green regurgitation that will be not be named, gushy bananas and a beverage cost over 9 bucks.
I attempt to appropriately channel my eating disorder at

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  1. That location must suck, because I go to the one in San Bernandino and the chicken rocks, not greasy at all like KFC.

    1 Reply
    1. re: irishkevbo

      The Olympic and Union one is good, too, not greasy, either. Their plantains weren't at all greasy, either. The chicken doesn't remind me of KFC as much as the fried chicken Albertson's sells in their deli, only less greasy and much less salty. I enjoy Pollo Campero, but only on occasion. It's a good product.

    2. Was there buzz on this place? Seems like it just showed up one day; they're apparently the KFC of Central America. I try every fried chicken joint that shows up in Hollywood, tried this one too. Agreed, it's nothing extraordinary. I think they're trading mostly on the brand loyalty and taste preferences of the many Salvadorenos in the area. On the other hand, if you're starting with a good, fresh bird, fried chicken is hard to mess up; the only risk is overcooking, you don't even need a good batter if it comes out of the oil at the right time. And hey c'mon, complaining that fried chicken is greasy is like complaining that bacon is salty. And have you EVER had a good side order at a fast-food fried chicken place? It doesn't happen. I always order two legs with a side of leg and skip the formalities.

      Next time you're in my neighborhood and want fast, cooked chicken flesh, try just going 2-3 doors down and get the chicken teriyaki or katsu at Ono Hawaiian (chain). Head further east down the street (Sunset) and get the chicken and mojos at Shakey's; I haven't had a bad batch yet, but you'll have to wait for them to make it fresh because hardly anyone orders fried chicken at a pizza joint. Or head further east past the 5-point intersection and go to Pioneer and ask if they've got a fresh batch. They keep stuff under the lamp, so watch out; they might sell you a dessicated piece or two. I never get takeout there for that reason (sitting down I can always take back a bad piece and get an exchange). Oh, and at Pioneer, you better like eating a lot of their seasoned batter as it seems to make up 75% of the visible mass you see on your plate; but I think the batter is why people who like Pioneer chicken do so. Of course, if you've got time on your hands go to Roscoe's, it's good but it's not fast (and you'll spend a lot more money). Also, you can head up to Pollo Dorado on Hollywood and Edgemont, a Mexican grilled chicken joint run by Koreans, very L.A. Good stuff, fast service, but they can overcook a bit (I think they cook for the dark meat rather than the light). They usu. run out of chickens by 6:30 p.m.-ish and then shut up so if you're shopping later than that, don't bother.

      1. Gee, LM, don't hold back. I take it you didn't like the place?

        Some of my companions in Guatemala insited on Pollo Campero. It had two saving graces: 1. ladies selling hot fresh homemade tortillas out front and 2. the chicken salads. Just load the salad into the tortillas and away you go.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

          A couple of our friends visit Guatemala frequently, and they tell us that on the home trip the most common carry-on item is a box from Pollo Campero. When they found out it was coming here, they told us we simply had to try it, though we haven't yet. I may have to be the guinea pig here...

          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

            I've got to pop in here and say that I'm a big fan of Campero in Guatemala (never tried it in America). My family hails from what they affectionately call the "fried chicken triangle" in Illinois farmland and, although I don't eat fried chicken but maybe once or twice a year, I am picky about my choices. Popeyes, waaaay south of the Mason-Dixon (I find it's greasy here up North), and Campero in Guatemala are two of my favorites.

          2. I couldn't get enough of it when I first tried it some years ago, at the Olympic and Union location. Never cared for the sides, though. Recently I tried it again just to see if I'd still like it, got it at the Glendale Galleria food court. And did not like it. Seems like they took the oomph that was in the spices out. And I agree, it was quite greasy. Not in the KFC grease all over way, but lots of oil flowing out after the first bite. Maybe lots of fat was left on the chicken.

            1 Reply
            1. re: slacker

              I had Glendale Galleria Pollo Campero and Union/Olympic Pollo Campero in the same week and the stuff at Glendale Galleria was not only no where near as good but the seasoning tasted a lot different.

              The branch at Union/Olympic is really good (and they have a salsa bar.)


            2. I agree. I tried Pollo Campero a while back and it was unremarkable slightly spicy fried chicken with institutional sides. Horrid salsa, beans were OK but nothing here to come back for really.