Food fatigue is a terrible thing, especially for someone who loves all manner of Italian cuisine as much as I do. But, as I’ve documented in the past, sometimes a brief break from the local specialties is required, if for nothing more than to reset my taste buds to fully appreciate the cucina romana. This past week, the tonarelli tedium was hitting pretty hard, no doubt aided along by the remarkable, summery weather (okay, I’m from San Francisco, so this is like August for us), combined with the lingering absence of Italy’s spring bounty in the markets. So imagine my excitement when, on a stroll down toward Piazza del Popolo from the Villa Borghese, I encountered Lima Chicken – a Peruvian chicken joint on Via Flaminia boasting incredible smells and even more incredible prices. Having recently indulged in a Roman brunch, we did not immediately partake in the symphony of spices emanating from this little joint by the tram tracks, but did immediately make plans to return within the week.
Two nights later, my intrepid dining companion and I returned to the scene of our olfactory bliss. At 8pm, the dining room was sparsely populated, and we snagged a prime seat near the bar, and in the direct smell-path of the roasting chickens. A quick conference led to a placed order of ceviche, fried plantains, and, the house specialty – half of a roasted chicken served with salad, potatoes, and a medley of sauces. The ceviche arrived first, and we were immediately overwhelmed by the presence of lime and cilantro – two of my favorite flavors, both of which are virtually absent in traditional Italian cooking. The fish was fresh, although the texture was a bit ill-served by the rather large size of the pieces of grouper. The fried plantains came out next, and while I’ve always preferred the sweet variety of this dish, the golden disks of fruity potato (really, the best way to describe plantains) totally hit the spot, particularly when accompanied by a dab of minty sauce. Finally, the main event arrived. The eponymous Lima chicken was on our table at long last, alluring scent and all. The skin was well-flecked with spices and browned, providing us with the opportunity to indulge in one of life’s great, overlooked delicacies – crispy poultry skin. The chicken itself was a little on the dry side, but even that was not enough to drag us down from our well-seasoned high. A return voyage is imminent, to continue sampling our way through the South American pleasures.
Also, they have Inca Cola, which kinda tastes like liquid bubble gum. So…if that’s your sort of thing…
Via Flaminia, 34
36 euro for ceviche, fried plantains, half a roasted chicken with sides and two drinks