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Aug 15, 2008 10:22 PM

Fonzie's Peruvian Chicken

One of the best rotisserie chickens I've ever had: lemony, dripping with juice, well-spiced and with the best fries--crisp and from Peruvian potatoes. Along with a delicious rocoto sauce (we think) to dip the fries--since they were out of huancaina sauce: fresh cheese mixed with aji amarillo (a hot yellow pepper), iceberg salad with good dressing and three sodas (and one alfajor for the one person who wanted it). Dinner for three, $17.84.

Fonzie's Peruvian Chicken
2556 Telegraph Ave--upstairs in the old food court with Fondue Fred
Berkeley, CA 94704

Going back soon for the huancaina or the chicken sandwich or the salchipapa: sliced hot dog over french fries.

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  1. Aaay ... sounds like a great find Mr. R.

    I haven't found a really great Peruvian chicken yet. Lookinf forward to more reports ... and giving it a try myself.

    I read elsewhere that chicken sandwich is $3.50.

    Googling around is seems like they plan to have delivery to the local area. There was an ad for a delivery person ... they would provide the bicycle.

    How was the alfajor?

    Fonzie's Peruvian Chicken
    2556 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704

    4 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      Since I don't like caramelly things, I didn't try it but the report was good but not as good as the alfajor lady who sells at the Alemany farmers' market. Or perhaps I should say that it was different, as she is Chilean and these are Peruvian. The alfajor eater, who has spent time in South America, says there is intense debate about this but her tastes run to Chilean.

      The chicken was seriously good and, again from report, as good as that in Lima. My mouth wants the hot dog bad but my stomach is holding a coup against it.

      I wouldn't want delivery. It would damage the taste of the food, esp the fries and ruin the Peruvian experience: the ambiance (or lack of it or odd bit of it) is reportedly genuine.

      1. re: rccola

        Actually the alfajor eater's tastes run Peruvian. The single best alfajores she ever found were in Lima, at La Casa del Alfajor ( She does like the Chilean alfajores from the lady at the Alemany flea market but (sorry, Chilenos) not as much as those from Peru. But definitely more (lo siento, Mi Buenos Aires Querido) than the classic Argentine version.

        Also at Fonzie's: helado de lucuma! I plan on trying it next time. Mmm, lucuma. They also have chicha morada and Inka Cola. There is no "mmm" for Inka Cola from me, however. More like OH GOD INSTANT BLINDNESS FROM INSULIN SHOCK

        And yes, don't go for delivery. Go enjoy the full Fonzie's experience.

        1. re: salome_st_john

          note that Mitchell's also has lucuma ice cream! :-)

      2. re: rworange

        Have you tried the rotisserie chicken at Inka's? Outstanding, with the best yellow pepper sauce ever!

        Inkas Restaurant
        3299 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

      3. What color was the sauce? I think Peruvian chicken usually comes with a green, spicy-herbal sauce called aji; rocoto sauce is red.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Cicely

          Both rocoto and aji peppers can be red, orange, yellow, or green, and aji can also be purple.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            "Aji" just means chili pepper and can be any type or color.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              I guess that's true in Peru (where they sometimes say "aji rocoto"), but around here it normally means Capsicum baccatum.

        2. just got back from trying Fonzie's Peruvian Chicken. we walked in about 7:45pm or so - nobody else was in there ....... we ordered the Combination No. 3 - whole chicken with fries and salad - $12.49 Also ordered the Chicha Morada beverage. (purple corn & pineaple drink) Loved the french fries - crispy outside and creamy insides - a very generous plate. Service was OK - well meaning but not too together. Brought the fries and chicken but not the sauces and forgot the salad that was supposed to come with this combination meal. It came relatively quickly after we asked for the salad. It was chilled iceberg with cucumber slices and shredded carrot with some lime for squeezing over. The sauces were OK - creamy with the huancaina sauce showing a bit of heat - the rocoto sauce being more herbal with less heat. I was expecting more heat or something. The main disappointment was the chicken - unlike rccola's - no hint of lemon or spice and definitely not dripping with juice. The white meat was quite dry - as was the dark meat- now that I think of it. they're pretty small and weren't too busy - hope they can work on their consistency. ..... the chicha morada was canned - not bad - maybe a bit sweet?

          4 Replies
          1. re: gordon wing

            That's too bad about the chicken - I wonder if the difference was that when we went, the whole place was full and there was a group ahead of us who had placed an order for what must have been a party. Something like 10 full chicken/fries/salad combos. So they had put the chickens in just before we got there, giving us the requisite "chicken will be ready in 10-15 minutes" when we arrived. Which, of course, meant 40-60 minutes. Our chicken was really freshly rotisseried so perhaps that was part of the reason it was so flavorful and ridiculously juicy? Either way, it's too bad that happened, and I agree - at least the chicken should be consistent. It would make sense after all.

            Or maybe they should just change the name to Fonzie's Peruvian Fries. Because the fries, right? The fries. Oh God, the fries.

            I want to go back to figure out which sauce is which, because I think there are three. Clearly, I should go back and eat more fries. I mean sauces.

            And as regards the service and ambiance, I think I should have said that you should go in to "enjoy" the "experience." I mean, I liked it but I think that's because it honestly reminded me of some great memories of my trip to Lima.

            1. re: salome_st_john

              when I was in Peru I hoped to try the roast chicken but never found time to do so ...... was looking forward to what you had experienced. The ambiance and informal service would not have registered if the chicken had been more interesting. onward ......

              1. re: gordon wing

                I'm really sorry you had a bad experience. That chicken must have sat for quite a while. I guess the place is best when busy. Honest, our chicken was drippingly delicious.

              2. re: salome_st_john

                My experience with service in Peruvian restaurants is that "leisurely" (or as you put it, 10-15 minutes is more like 40-60 minutes) would be putting it mildly. Since I've had that experience in at least three Peruvian restaurants I've come to believe that's "authentic" -- true?

            2. I went to Fonzie's sometime last week and, like the OP, had a very positive experience. I ordered the combo #3 and took it to go. I waited for a few minutes for the chicken to be read, but it was definitely juicy, and the skin was crispy and well-seasoned. The fries were also delicious-between them and the sauces I couldn't get enough. The sauces are on the bland side; they may have a mayo/sour cream based. Either way, I still enjoyed them. The salad was lackluster, consisting of iceberg lettuce, a few veggies, and a lime, but that's not what I wanted to eat anyway. Will definitely go back again. I also hope this place gets more business.

              2 Replies
              1. re: potatochips

                Weird that you found the sauces bland! I was just coming by here to report that I went by yesterday with friends specifically for fries and sauces, and we found all of them terrifically flavorful. Best of all, I know what each one is.

                Fonzie's Peruvian Chicken has three sauces that I know of. Or three sauces that I tried yesterday, anyway. I don't think they're mayo/sour cream based, at least not if they're made according to more "traditional" recipes. They are:

                Huancaina (yellow) - probably the most well known; the thickest of the sauces; cheese and milk-based and brightly colored/flavored with aji amarillo

                Huacatay (green) - this was the sauce the OP had and was unsure of; thinner/looser than huancaina but also made with milk and I think some cheese, as well as some spice (maybe aji amarillo but maybe a different pepper); spicier than huancaina

                Rocoto (red) - consistency somewhere in the middle of the other two; definitely spicier; made with the rocoto pepper; also had (to me) more of a "dressing" flavor (hard to explain - I couldn't put my finger on the mix of herbs but it kept tasting sort of familiar and then the heat would kick in)

                The best part was that while all of us loved the sauces, there were three of us, and each had his/her favorite sauce. They complement the fries so well.

                And reading how you couldn't get enough of the fries makes me wish I had a whole new order of them, even now. Sigh.

                1. re: salome_st_john

                  Sadly, Fonzie's is no more. It's now some other Peruvian restaurant with a larger menu that did not interest me nearly as much as Fonzie's limited but enjoyable offerings. Ce la vie.