Where did I dine at my first week back after returning from Peru? Why a Peruvian restaurant of course. Although each and every one of my trips abroad has always included some fantastic meals, it had been a while since I had visited a country where I truly just ADORED the cuisine. Sadly, the more upscale Peruvian restaurant that I got to dine at two times in a month has long since been closed and apparently there was another Peruvian restaurant in Pittsburgh’s downtown that also closed last year before I could get a chance to eat there. Thankfully though, one Peruvian restaurant remains, Chicken Latino, which is located in the Strip District.
I’ve been dining at Chicken Latino for a long time although it had been a couple of years since I had last eaten there. I was somewhat lukewarm about my last visit (the quality and taste of the food was so so), but thankfully my meal there a few weeks ago made me feel that things were back to culinary normal once more. Chicken Latino’s specialty is Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken (yes, the Peruvians love their chicken along with potatoes and guinea pig). The chicken is marinated in their “secret” seasoning mix, prepared fresh in the Peruvian-style brick oven and comes out perfecto.
Chicken options come in 1/4 chicken, 1/2 chicken, and whole chicken sizes. You also have the choice of either ordering just the chicken or having it come with either rice and beans or fries and cole slaw. I went with the 1/4 chicken with rice and beans ($6.99). D (naturally) went with the 1/2 chicken with rice and beans ($10.50). While normally I prefer white meat (no bones to contend with), the taste of the rotisserie chicken makes “sawing” away worth it. The chicken has a delicious taste to it. And rice and beans, well it’s plain comida but it’s definitely comfort comida. It could take one back to any Latin America experience.
Even though we didn’t need either, we also ordered a side of the fried sweet plantains , $3.50 (no matter how many times I make them myself, they’re just not the same as what my Costa Rican host mom would make or what you find in Latin restaurants) and crispy yucca ($4.50) which came in the form of fries. If you’re not familiar, yucca is a vegetable in Latin America that prior to peeling and cooking, is a rather scary looking thing (the skin is rough and uneven), but once it has been cooked and is tender, it’s quite delicious. It tastes and inside looks very much like a potato (it’s also a starch).
And because one can never have “enough” Peru, I also ordered a Chicha Morada to drink ($2.50) which is a purple corn drink. I was slightly disappointed that it wasn’t made fresh but c’est la vie. It still tasted good.
Chicken Latino also serves American-style and Tex-Mex dishes although truthfully, stick with the Peruvian fare. If you’re dining at a place like that, go with the special and authentic foods, not items you could get anywhere. On the weekends they also offer other Peruvian dishes like lomo saltado and ceviche.
Besides the uniqueness because let’s face it, in a city like Pittsburgh, Peruvian fare isn’t all too common, Chicken Latino’s prices are just the best. You get large portions of great tasting food at low prices. Chicken Latino is truly one of Pittsburgh’s best ethnic eateries.
155 21st Street Pittsburgh, PA