Takatis: Wood-Fired Pollo and Peruvian Flavor in Van Nuys

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Restaurant Sign Los Angeles

Downtown’s California Plaza was the last place I expected to find a business card promoting a Peruvian restaurant in distant Van Nuys, but Starry Kitchen co-owner Nguyen Tran is a vocal supporter of the San Fernando Valley, and isn’t shy about spreading the word about favorite spots from his hood like Takatis. The Trans also spend a good amount of their spare time exploring L.A.’s international dining options, so I felt confident in following his handout.


Restaurant Sign Los Angeles
The restaurant resides along bustling Van Nuys Boulevard and has housed a rotisserie chicken purveyor for 30 years. Before Lima native Elart Coello planted Takatis in the strip mall corner three years ago, the space housed Pin Pollo. Now, Coello is the main man and sister Sonia runs the front of house at Takatis, which includes a glass front, refurbished wood counters, wood tables, and a wood-burning rotisserie.

Peruvian Food Los Angeles
Since the oven and stacked wood feature so prominently, of course we had to order chicken on both visits. The Peruvian bird costs $9.99 for 1/2 Chicken w/2 sides and $5.99 for 1/4 Chicken w/2 Sides. The wood-burning rotisserie melts away the chicken’s excess fat, imparts a smoky quality to the skin, and leaves the meat with a pronounced pink hue. Takatis offers diners a choice of two sides, which could include sliced camote (sweet potato) and yucca fries (cassava), which are starchy, but not dry, with creamy cores. On my return visit, platano frito (fried plantain) was mild, and landed just short of caramelization.

Peruvian Food Los Angeles
Anticuchos ($7.99) consist of tender marinated beef heart, skewered and seared on a grill, served with chunks of potato and hominy-like choclo-on-the-cob, plated on a bed of lettuce.

Peruvian Sauces Los Angeles
With our meal, we received squeeze bottles of green aji, a green chile sauce that achieves that color with the help of huacatay (black mint), rocoto, a spicy red pepper that resembles a bell.; and aji amarillo, crafted from a mild yellow Peruvian pepper.

Sandwich Los Angeles
Sanguchon ($6.99) is a beast of a Peruvian sandwich that contains chunks of rotisserie chicken, iceberg lettuce, tomato, fried yams, egg, cheese, crispy fries (papitas al hilo) and “house sauce” (primarily mayo and ketchup). The cumulative flavor was pretty satisfying. Unfortunately, neither the yams or fries were actually crispy, and the sandwich, complete with soft bread, lacked textural contrast.

Peruvian Food Los Angeles
Peru has a sizable Chinese population, which translates to dishes like Arroz Chaufa ($10.99), fried rice with “Chinese onions” (aka scallions) and a choice of chicken, beef or mariscos, which are each wok-fired with soy sauce. We opted for the last option, and the arroz chaufa avoided greasy pitfalls while contributing tender calamari, octopus and shrimp.

Peruvian Drink Los Angeles
To drink, Takatis features two traditional Peruvian beverages swirling in dispensers by the counter, including Maracuya, sweet, tangy and quite yellow passion fruit drink; and Chicha Morada, made from fermented purple corn and spices like cinnamon.

Takatis isn’t as ambitious, stylish or varied as Peruvian restaurants over Mulholland ridge like Mo-chica and Picca, but the Coellos have carved out a nice pollo-centric niche in Van Nuys.

Address: 6470 Van Nuys Boulevard, Van Nuys, CA 91401

Takatis: Wood-Fired Pollo and Peruvian Flavor in Van Nuys

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Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

joshua,

– i just finished reading your write up!
i usually dont comment and its not because
i have nothing to say, but because i know
ill spend too much time deciding which words
to use 😉 i think its great you were able to piece
together a bit of the past in regards to the takatis
location; it stands out. thanks for the support; super
cool. we are having friends and family night sometime late
this month, ill send you more info. hopefully you can make it.

best of luck,

elart coello

p.s.- think ill make my way down to the starry kitchen this week,
owe the trans a visit :]

Elart, thanks for commenting. I’m happy to see you appreciate my review. I certainly enjoyed my experiences at Takatis.

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