2012 was a great year for the restaurant scene in Calgary. There were tons of new restaurants opening up around town and Peruvian cuisine had made its stamp. I heard about Pio Peruvian’s date night through their Facebook post over a month ago and was super excited to pay them a visit. Every Wednesday night after 5pm they offer a special for couples. For $20, you get to choose 2 of their chicken combos, complimentary soup and unlimited salad. This was perfect for hubby and I and we finally got to pay them a visit. We arrived around 6pm and found the restaurant to be relatively quiet. The decor is simple and it feels homey.
After reading through their menu I noticed they had a house made passion fruit drink, Jugo de Maracuya $2.49. I love passion fruit so I had to try it. I wished I lived in a warmer climate so it was readily available all the time. The drink was really good – loaded with passion fruit flavor and not overly sweet. They also sell it by the jug which I recommend ordering if you’re with a group of people.
The soup of the day was a seafood soup. It consisted of mussels, clams and noodles in a light broth. It was a great start to the meal.
The unlimited salad was refreshing tossed in a lime vinaigrette. I wished there were more beets – I love the sweet earthiness of them.
I decided on the Pio Con Salchipapa (quarter of a chicken with a side of fries and sausage). The chicken was super moist, juicy and packed with flavor. It arrived with 2 dipping sauces, a cilantro salsa verde and the creamy huancaina sauce. The cilantro salsa verde was fresh and complimented the chicken very well. The creamy huancaina sauce was great with the fries and didn’t taste heavy despite being creamy. The side of fries and sausage were amazing good – yes it’s just fries and sausage – but the fries were fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside and fried to golden perfection! The sausage was beefy and juicy – what a great combination!
Hubby ordered the Pio Con Patacones (quarter of a chicken with thick plantain cakes). The plantain cakes were equally as delicious. They were crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. I’ve never had plantains before and expected them to be quite sweet like bananas but they were surprisingly savory with just a hint of sweetness. He really enjoyed them.
We ended our meal with a dessert to share, the Tres Leche Cake $4.99. If you’ve never heard of this cake before it literally translates to “three milks cake”. The cake is usually quite light and spongy. Once baked, an entire can of evaporated and condensed milk is poured over it and allowed to soak until its all absorbed. Then it’s topped with sweetened whipped cream. Pio’s version was spot on. Milky, creamy yet light and it had just the right amount of sweetness.
Overall, we had an excellent meal. The service was great and everyone was friendly. If you haven’t tried Pio Peruvian Rotisserie Chicken yet – do it soon! It’s a great introduction to Peruvian cuisine.