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Pio Pio - Restaurant Review

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating
User Rating 2.5 Star Rating (4 Reviews)

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Pio Pio Restaurant in Jackson Heights

Pio Pio Restaurant in Jackson Heights

Photo (c) J. Roleke

The Bottom Line

Forget everything you know about the ubiquitous pollo a la brasa, or South American rotisserie chicken. Pio Pio is not your local takeout joint, but a festive Peruvian restaurant worthy of a family occasion.

With two colorful levels, several dining areas, and a back patio, Pio Pio handles big weekend crowds of families with small kids, groups of friends, and young couples. Though the menu is simple -- just roast chicken, seafood, and sides -- the food is cooked perfectly, served promptly, and priced reasonably. And Pio Pio's green hot sauce is in a word, addictive.

Pros

  • Excellent rotisserie chicken and sides served family style
  • Fun, lively atmosphere
  • Affordable prices and quick service
  • Amazing green hot sauce
  • Great for families

Cons

  • Parking is a headache
  • Only chicken and seafood options
  • No reservations
  • Wait for a table can get long on a Saturday night
  • Only cash or American Express card, no Visa

Description

  • Pio Pio Address - 8415 Northern Blvd, Jackson Heights, NY 11372 (at 84th St) (see more locations below)
  • Hours - Daily, 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
  • Phone - 718-426-1010
  • Subway - 7 at 82nd St - Then walk north four long blocks to Northern Blvd. Turn right two short blocks. 15-20 minutes
  • Recommended Dishes- avocado salad ($6), Peruvian Combo ($20, chicken, very large fries, avocado salad)
  • Prices - Reasonable. A $26 Matador Combo can feed three to four people. $8 whole chicken, $26 seafood platter
  • Takeout - At the corner of 85th St and Northern, Pio Pio's takeout annex serves the same food for the same prices.
  • More Pio Pio Locations - 62-30 Woodhaven Blvd, Rego Park, NY, 718-458-0606; 264 Cypress Avenue, Bronx, NY, 718-401-3300
  • More - 1746 1st Ave, New York, NY, 212-426-5800; Pio Pio Salon, 702 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025 (opened in March 2007)

Guide Review - Pio Pio - Restaurant Review

The high tin ceilings, huge glass windows, and Incan murals set the tone for Pio Pio. This is a place to come for a meal, not just a chicken, and Jackson Heights knows it. Friday and Saturday nights find Pio Pio's tables full of families and friends catching up (and celebrating an improbable number of birthdays), and a line snaking out the door.

Popularity, however, doesn't mean a long wait. Everything moves along quickly, thanks to the simple menu. It's marinated, rotisserie roast chicken ($8), served whole, split down the middle. Or jalea ($16), a platter of fried seafood. A few combination meals pair chicken with sides, like the Matador Combo ($26, chicken, rice, beans, avocado salad, salchipapas, and tostones).

Chicken is the real star. It's in the restaurant's name, the sound a Peruvian chick chirps: pio, pio. You have to try the chicken with the sensational house green sauce. Just what's in the sauce is a secret, but I'll guess cumin, garlic, lime, and something that makes it a little creamy - mayonnaise? It's not an overwhelming heat, but a nice heat with a tart pucker.

Everything comes family style, and that's important. Sharing dishes is fun! If you're small in number, don't fret the big portions, just savor those leftovers. The platters of food arrive five to ten minutes after you order, another benefit of a simple menu, and a blessing for families with small kids.

Of the sides, the avocado salad ($6) is the best. Its lush slices of avocado rest on a bed of lettuce, onion, and tomatoes dressed with oil and vinegar. Salchipapas ($4) marries cut-up hot dogs with french fries -- ideal for the kids. The ceviche ($10) is more hit-and-miss.

If you're bringing friends, a pitcher of tasty sangria will spice up your feast. And you might finish with a flan and some fruit-flavored ice cream. You'll end up chirping "pio pio" with happiness.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 1 out of 5
Service was horible, Member lmartinez13

I never give reviews about restaurants but this one needed it. I was in this restaurant on 09/17/2012, celebrating my daughters 9th Birthday, the food was great but the service was horrible, it felt like we was at a speed dinner, everything was rushed the restaurant server was rude, we asked for 2 sangrias and they was on top of us ensuring we finish it faster than normal, the servers need to be patient with there customers, it felt like a race when eating dinner at this location the Waiter even demanded a tip, as I know tips are for those waiters who give good service and this waiter was not polite at all. This restaurant has forgotten that its customers are those who allowed them to open a chain of restaurants (8). They have forgotten about the customer and that’s bad………… I have been coming to this restaurant for about 4 years already but it has changed a lot its service sucked!!!!!!

8 out of 9 people found this helpful.

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