Pio Pio Riko

When I first went to this Peruvian chicken chain on the corner of Greenpoint & 46th street, I was amazed at some of their low prices. But that was before I discovered the catch – really high drink prices, and waitresses really pushing for you to get them.

Pio Pio Riko

Pio Pio Riko

Here it is from the outside – the huge window panes make for a nice view from the inside, but it’s a bit awkward when you’re sitting right next to them.

Corn seeds with sauce

Corn seeds with sauce

As a complimentary appetizer they serve these corn seeds (?) with a sauce that complements them quite well. I am not quite sure what the proper way to eat them is, but I just use the spoon to put the sauce on a couple, and then use my fork to pick them up. Anyway, when the waitress brings these, she immediately asks if you want to “start off with some sangria,” which I fell for once, only to realize that the drink cost more than 2 people’s actual meals combined. This time, we asked for “just water”, but guess what – they brought two bottles of Poland Spring and then charged $2 for each.


Half-chicken with rice and beans

The standard fare is obviously chicken. This “half-chicken” with rice and beans only costs $7.95, but of course the waitress was really recommending the “daily special”, which was pretty much the same thing, but literally twice as expensive.

Quarter chicken

Quarter chicken with fries and salad

This is a quarter chicken with salad & fried in lieu of the rice and beans. This combo is only $4.95 – well worth it, and quite filling (the half-chicken is a lot of food).

Green plantains

Green plantains

These green plantains ($3) were a bit of a disappointment, in that they were rather bland. The green sauce meant for the corn seeds helps though. They are quite heavy, and you definitely get a lot for three bucks – we managed to eat only about half. I should also mention that we got some free wine with the meal, but it had nothing to do with me snapping pictures of all the food – they were giving it out to all the customers at the time, which was nice.


2 responses to “Pio Pio Riko

  1. Good food, but I am surprised the prices on the menu were what they charged you. They have different prices for “different” clientele without telling you until you receive the bill. I have had a number of friends experience the same thing.

  2. Hey Mik,

    Good assessment of Pio Pio Rico. I have a few thoughts to add:

    1) The dried corn kernels are a from type of Andean corn called “Choclo.”

    2) I prefer to order the “maduros” – sweet plantains. Those regular plantains are not too tasty. The sweet plantains are very tasty, but can be quite filling and super sweet.

    3) I forget if you eat fish, Mik. If you do, and if you aren’t trying to pinch a penny, try one of the Ceviches next time. Ceviche, as you may know, is a Peruvian national specialty: fish (and/or seafood) that is “cooked” by marinating in an acidic bath of lemon, lime, onions, and spices. I’m not a ceviche expert, but its pretty good at Pio Pio, though not at the level that my mom (and some higher end restaurants) make it. You also get a ton of it.

    4) I actually haven’t experience the waitresses being so pushing with the Sangria. Maybe I have a time or two. Or maybe they have gotten more pushy recently (I haven’t been there in at least six months). However, the Sangria is MOST DEFINITELY super expensive compared to the cheapness of the rest of the menu. I’d note though, that restaurants tend to charge a bundle on beverages. Next time I might specify that you want tap water or agua del grife if you feel like trying your hand at the Spanish.

    I can’t believe its taken me this long to start reading your blog! I will continue…

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