Pollo Inka
754 N High Point Rd - Madison, WI 53717 - 608-833-4287
Hours: Monday - Saturday 11:00 AM - 9:00 PM. Sunday: 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM



About Us (Review - Wisconsin State Journal - Sunday, February 14, 2010)

At Pollo Inka - Peppy Peruvian Flavors and Exotic Tastes

Polla Inka is a Peruvian Cuisine restaurant located on Madison's west side.

  • Location: 745 N. High Point Road (corner of Old Sauk)
  • Phone: (608)833-4287
  • Hours: Monday through Saturday 11 AM to 9 PM - Sunday 11 AM to 8 PM.
  • Specialties: Peruvian cuisine
  • Prices: Appetizers $5 to $11; soups $5 to $13; entrees $4 to $24
  • Smoking: No
  • Noise level: Moderate
  • Credit cards: Accepted
  • Accessibility: Yes
  • Reservations: Not accepted

Excellent seafood paella is just one of the many attractions; good service and modest prices. The hyperbole on the menu of the new Pollo Inka Peruvian restaurant can provide great entertainment.

The claim about its rotisserie chicken: "This bird will have you tweeting in ecstasy." They also offer "A restorative aphrodisiac soup from the sea that will capture you with its addictive flavor."

A potato-cheese appetizer is no less than "A gift from Peru to the world," whereas a fried yucca appetizer promises "to give happiness to the soul and joy to the palate."

The thing is, though, that some things on the menu of Madison's second Peruvian restaurant live up to the florid descriptions.

The Peruvian seafood paella ($15.95) is easily the best I've ever had, especially considering that it was served in Wisconsin in January.

Quarter Chicken - Lunch Special There was a big mix of seafood, all of it fresh and tender. And then there was the rice — so often crunchy and dry in paella — that was infused with a fish-and-white-wine consomme with aromatic spices and zinged up with a peppery Creole sauce.

Another well-executed entree was a shredded chicken casserole ($9.95) with succulent white and dark meat and an interesting combination of Peruvian mirasol peppers, boiled potatoes, Parmesan cheese, sliced hard-boiled eggs, black olives and ground walnuts that added salty crunch.

The tilapia ($7.95), cooked in Spanish-Incan style, is another winner; it arrived heaped with sliced onions and red peppers that were soft, with a great balance of sweet-and-sour Creole sauce. The fork-tender fish tasted buttery with a hint of crunch on the crust.

The roasted chicken ($4 for a quarter chicken), said to induce "tweeting in ecstasy" on the menu, was juicy and tender, but while it was marinated in 15 "secret" ingredients, it tasted like any other Trio Causitas Antano good rotisserie chicken. No tweeting, I'm afraid.

The appetizers, salads and soups are a good way to explore the intriguing taste combos found in Peruvian food.

The most intriguing surprise was tamalito verdes ($6.95), which was ground Peruvian corn, like a masa but bright green because it was blended with cilantro, stuffed with shredded chicken and served with the red onion Creole sauce.

Also on the "What on Earth is that?" list were three small, bright gold cylinders of mashed potatoes, which took their color from the yellow Suspiro Inka peppers they were blended with, and a crisp bite from the addition of lemon, stuffed with crab meat and topped with beautifully grilled shrimp, with olive and "golf" sauces (a mix of mayo and ketchup).

The avocado salad ($5.95) in a vinaigrette was fine, but something you could find at thousands of other restaurants. The chicken-vegetable soup of the day ($4.95) would also fit that description, though its strong, clear broth and tender ingredients made it special.

A dessert that should not be missed is Suspiro Inka ($4.95), an ethereal mixture of guanabana, a tropical fruit with a custard-like texture and a strawberry-pineapple flavor, Chantilly cream and meringue, a traditional Creole dessert that could have come from the kitchen of a top French pastry chef.

Peruvian cuisine is considered one of the most diverse in the world and competes with the top popular cuisines in the planet such as the French, Chinese and Italian cuisine.

Avocado Salad In January 2004, The Economist said that "Peru can lay claim to one of the world's dozen or so great cuisines", while at the Fourth International Summit of Gastronomy Madrid Fusión 2006, regarded as the world's most important gastronomic forum, held in Spain between January 17th and 19th, Lima was declared the "Gastronomic Capital of the Americas". As of the late 20th century and the early 21st century, Peruvian cuisine has become widely regarded by professionals and the international media as "the best of Latin America."

Thanks to its pre-Inkas and Inka heritage and to Spanish, Basque, African, Sino-Cantonese, Japanese, Arabic and finally Italian, French and British immigration (mainly throughout the 19th century), Peruvian cuisine combines the flavors of four continents. With the eclectic variety of traditional dishes, the Peruvian culinary arts are in constant evolution, and impossible to list in their entirety. Suffice it to mention that along the Peruvian coast alone there are more than two thousand different types of soups, and that there are more than 250 traditional desserts.

Cultivation of ancient plants

Some plants that were cultivated by the ancient societies of Peru have now been rediscovered by modern Peruvians and are carefully studied by scientists. Due to the characteristics of its land and climate and due to the nutritional quality of its products, some Peruvian plants will play a vital role in the nutrition of the future: this is true for quinoa, which is an excellent source of essential amino acids, and kañiwa which appear to be and are prepared like cereals but are not cereals. Root vegetables such as maca and real cereals like kiwicha are also plants nutritionists are researching today.

Arroz con Mariscos/Peruvian Paella For many of Peru's inhabitants, these foodstocks allow for adequate nutrition even though living standards are poor. The abandoning of many of these staples during the Spanish domination and republican eras has brought down nutritional levels in the country.

Some of these foodstocks have been used since 1985 by NASA for astronaut food, like quinoa, kiwicha and maca.

Peruvian cuisine is often made spicy by means of ají pepper, a basic ingredient. Some Peruvian chili peppers are not spicy but serve to give taste and color to dishes. Rice often accompanies dishes in Peruvian cuisine, and the regional sources of foods and traditions give rise to countless varieties of preparation and dishes.

Fine Peruvian cuisine emphasizes the mix of colors and ingredients, in a dynamically growing restaurateur industry and trends led by young and talented chefs.

Cuisine of the Coast

Ceviche MixtoThe cuisine of the coast can be said to have five strong influences: Japanese, the Moorish, the African, the Chinese and the local native.

The Pacific Ocean is the principal source of aquatic resources for Peru. Peru is one of the world's top two producers and exporters of unusually high-protein fishmeal for use in livestock/aquaculture feed. Its richness in fish and other aquatic life is enormous, and many oceanic plant and animal species can only be found in Peru. As important as the Pacific is to Peru's biodiversity, freshwater biomes such as the Amazon River and Lake Titicaca also play a large role in the ecological make-up of the country.

Every coastal region, being distinct in flora and fauna populations, adapts its cuisine in accordance to the resources available in its waters.

Ceviche, with its many different variations (pure, combination, or mixed with fish and shellfish) is a good example of this regional adaptation. Ceviche is found in almost all Peruvian restaurants Chocolate Mousse Cake specialized in this country's world renowned fish and seafood. Lima alone holds thousands of them, from the simple to very fancy ones. Typically served with camote, or sweet potato.

The chupe de camarones (shrimp cioppino) is one of the most popular dishes of Peruvian coastal cuisine. It is made from a thick freshwater shrimp (crayfish) stock soup, potatoes, milk and chili pepper. Regarded as typical from Arequipa, Chupe de Camarones is regularly found in Peruvian restaurants specialized in Arequipan cuisine.

Contact Us: Pollo Inka Peruvian Restaurant
745 N High Point Rd - Madison, WI 53717
Phone: 608-833-4287
E-Mail: ipgroup@live.com Pollo Inka on FaceBook

Website by: Jim's Photos © 2010