Apart from exorbitantly expensive minuscule living quarters (bonus points if they have some the so-called pre-war charm); self entitled hipsters riding bikes with road rage; so-called artistic vermin drop-offs in crowded subways; overcrowded playgrounds with helicopter parents and baristas that serve you crap coffee with craft attitude, one of the appeals of this fair city that we call home is the variety of good food that can be found in it. And yes, we are having our cyclic existential crisis with New York City and just when you feel that the relationship is over, it throws a gift at you to make you fall in love with it all over again. For me, one of the ways of falling in love (again) with the city is taking some time off and actually enjoy it: walk around aimlessly, explore neighborhoods that are out of your way, and of course, try new food.
Last week we decided to head to Queens to meet family and enjoy some Peruvian food. The girls loved getting on the 7 train and looking out the window into the city. We got off at Jackson Heights and were really tempted to go eat in every single establishment on our way. We were meeting at Pio Pio, the Peruvian chicken rotisserie that has been Dad Vivant’s family all time favorite. As some of you know, I am not crazy about chicken, but I must say that this place prepares a deliciously moist chicken with THE green sauce, that is to die for.
The Jackson Heights location is ample with bright yellow walls, a nice change for the tight restaurants we usually frequent. Bringing a stroller here should definitely not be a problem. The bar is to the right and the tables take the rest of the space without making it look crowded, partly due to the big windows overlooking Northern Blvd., that let tons of light in.
The menu is pretty simple and straight forward: about six appetizers, with Peruvian classics like papa a la Huancaína or causa de pollo; three different salads; two different types of cebiche; four different types of chicken and, of course, dessert. They don’t have a kids menu but this doesn’t seem to be a problem as we have seen the place packed with families and little ones enjoying Pio Pio’s delicious rotisserie chicken.
We ordered a Matador Combo, a perfect to share dish that, for $36, can easily feed six people, and that offers rotisserie chicken, avocado salad, yellow rice, beans, tostones (with a delicious garlic sauce) and salchipapas (a combo of cut hot dog style sausages with French fries). To accompany that, I would recommend getting their sangría (and calling a car service after your meal) or you could try some Peruvian beers like Cusqueña or Cristal. The girls loved the chicken (not into the green sauce… yet) and the salchipapas and the grown-ups took good care of the rest of the food.
The bathrooms are downstairs. The ladies room is ample, decently clean and has four stalls. Unfortunately, they don’t have a changing table, but the vanity is pretty long and could probably work as changing space for a little one.
One of the good thing about Pio Pio is that they have locations all around the city; however, the one in Jackson Heights is our favorite. It’s a very family oriented place, with consistently good and affordable food. It’s also very popular on the weekends and we have had some long waits (completely worth it, by the way), especially when you go to celebrate someone’s birthday and they bring dessert while the whole restaurant joins the waiters singing “Que los cumplas feliz“.
Pio Pio – Jackson Heights
84-02 Northern Blvd
Jackson Heights NY 11372
Monday – Thursday: 11:00am – 11:00pm
Friday – Saturday: 11:00am – 12:00am
Sunday: 11:00am – 11:00pm