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Which Pollo Rico is the best?

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I've lived in DC for over 4 years and still haven't tried Peruvian Chicken. I need to rectify this! Which one is the best? I have a car and I am willing to drive for crispy skin.

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  1. I can tell you that I've rarely had a piece of chicken with crispy skin at the El Pollo Rico in Clarendon. I don't go there for crispy skin, I go for the tender and nicely seasoned chicken. I think I've more consistently had crispy skin chicken at Crisp and Juicy on Lee Highway near Kirkwood Road in Arlington.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MikeR

      I'll add one data point to this report. I tried the Super Pollo on Wilson Boulevard (near George Mason Drive) in Arlington yesterday and had chicken with crispy skin. It was very powerfully marinated, though, much more pronounced taste of the marinade than I've had at the now closed Ballston and new Barcroft (Harris Teeter shopping center) Super Pollos. Maybe this one chicken had been in the bath all weekend. It was quite tender and juicy, things that make the most difference to me, but I wouldn't want to taste that strong marinade all the time. I'll give it another try in a couple of weeks and see if it's still the same.

      Yuca seems to be a major deciding point around here about where to go for chicken. Super Pollo indeed has it, but I've never had any there that's come fresh out of the fryer and I've never really cared for it there. I prefer the French fries at El Pollo Rico to most of the yuca that I've had at the other chicken places. The yuca I've liked best came from the Mediterranean tinged place that was short-lived at the former Joe's Pizza location at Bailey's Crossroads (now Nataly's - never tried it). Their yuca was always freshly fried, hot, crispy on the outside, tender on the inside. Their chicken was pretty good, but I preferred El Pollo Rico.

      1. re: MikeR

        I have always preferred Super Pollo because of the sides (and they take visa and better parking). The garbanzos are delicious and spicy. I like the fried rice as well. But at the new one down Wilson they had a new one, spinach! It was like spinach with potatoes and was delicious. My wife didn't even bother with the chicken last time, she just ate the spinach.

    2. I think your best bet is to go to El Pollo Rico (this is the name of the restaurant, not the style) on N. Kenmore St. in Arlington. It is very close in... can be a little tricky to find as it is a very tiny street that looks more like an alley than a regular street. Can be accesssed most easily off Wilson Blvd. If possible, visiting around 6pm or so is optimal (but not necessary), as they should be pulling chicken off the spits at this time. If you see a line, thet's a good sign. Always stellar for me.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Steve

        And the lines move fast at EPR - so don't let them put you off (there's really only one choice to be made and that's how much chicken; quarter, half or whole).

        EPR doesn't do Yucca, though, which causes it to take a hit. For something extremely close to the Peruvian style, with excellent Yucca and other great dishes (plus a friendly staff) try Caribbean Grill in N. Arlington (5183 N Lee Hwy). When going, ask for fried yucca and hope they have to cook a new batch - and watch what they cook it in!

      2. I think if you're going to come all they way out to Arlington to eat peruvian chicken you might as well try both Super Pollo (the Wilson Blvd location) and El Pollo Rico. They are the two best in my opinion and are maybe a mile from each other if that. I'd get a quarter chicken at each place and eat them side by side. Get yucca and fried rice or white rice at Super Pollo and pass on the cole slaw at El Pollo Rico.

        To my taste Super Pollo's chicken is marginally tastier but it's also a little saltier. Both are good for sure. Super Pollo also has better "green sauce." The frozen fries at EPR are actually pretty decent.

        3 Replies
        1. re: CoconutMilk

          What are the addresses for these two joints? Part of the problem is I know Peruvian Chicken exists in Arlington....I just don't know where...

          1. re: Flaxen_Vixen

            www.411.com is your friend:

            El Pollo Rico
            932 N. Kenmore St. Arlington, VA

            1. re: Flaxen_Vixen

              I believe that the El Pollo Rico tastes better in Arlington than in Wheaton. I also think that the original Crisp 'n Juicy on Lee Highway is better than the others. This is not a preference for Northern VA since I am also a fan of Don Pollo's on Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda although much of this is because of the very good sides. El Pollo Rico has succulent chicken and mediocre sides-at absolute best. Still, if you are only going for Peruvian chicken I think this should be your first choice.