Tom Filipowicz visits one of many new restaurants that have opened in Chiclayo – but this one stands out.
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I’ve mentioned several times in past entries that new restaurants are opening at a rapid pace in Chiclayo. Maribel and I try to visit as many of the new major restaurants as possible, both out of curiosity and to determine if they rate a spot on our ‘favorites’ list. Most of them we never go to again, usually not because of some glaring deficiency, but because there’s nothing, well…special about them. That changed recently when we discovered a new restaurant in our neighborhood at Av. Libertad 217 Urb. Santa Victoria.
La Cocina del Yayo opened in March of this year. It is owned and operated by the Leigh family, comprised of Eduardo, his wife Flor de Maria and their daughter Johana. Prior to opening in Chiclayo the family had a restaurant in and are natives of Guayaquil, Ecuador. As I understand it, though they dearly love Ecuador, it was the booming Peru economy that brought them to Chiclayo. And we’re glad they came because their restaurant presently ranks numero uno on our favorites list.
Why? One big reason is because it’s absolutely spotless. Everything that should be shiny is brilliant. The woodwork is clean and polished. The restrooms and supplies are well maintained. After five visits we have yet to find a single smudge on a glass or piece of silverware. Another reason is the relaxing décor, designed by Johana and her mother, and soft, soothing music (pay attention you other restaurateurs!). There is the choice of eating inside or in a rear veranda area where you can watch and be serenaded by colorful birds. The phrase ‘total dining experience’ is overused, but based on our experience it is appropriate here.
The Chiclayo office of health has apparently also been impressed and has presented the restaurant with a plaque and certificate of recognition, shown here by Jessica and Eduardo; something I have not seen displayed in many Chiclayo restaurants.
A large part of the pleasure in eating here is because of Jessica (Johana is seated at left). She is by far the most efficient and professional waitress (it seems somehow demeaning to refer to her as that) I have seen in Peru. She places everything in the proper position at the proper time with the proper motions and does it all invisibly. She is there when wanted and transparent when not. She has a charming personality and carries herself with a quiet dignity. La Cocina del Yayo would be wise to do whatever is necessary to retain her services.
The food is consistently delicious, but be prepared to wait awhile for it to arrive, because everything is cooked fresh with attention to detail. Brian and I like fetuchini en salsa de huancaina y lomo, while Maribel frequently asks for pollo en salsa de champiñones. Other favorites are chicharron de pollo and pescado, lomo saltado, and pollo a la brasa, though this last is available evenings only. On Sundays Cabrito (goat with rice and beans) are a favorite meal, and the goat at Cocina del Yayo is the most tender we have eaten.
Our handful of favorite restaurants all have at least one and usually two of the qualities we look for in a restaurant…pleasing atmosphere, quality food and good service. La Cocina del Yayo has all three.
If you’d like to experience places like this and get a taste of real daily life in northern provincial Peru, speak to Tom & Maribel via Mochica Hostess Tours