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  D'Candela - fantastic Peruvian food
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  • D'Candela - fantastic Peruvian food

    Post #1 - February 17th, 2011, 9:16 pm
    Post #1 - February 17th, 2011, 9:16 pm Post #1 - February 17th, 2011, 9:16 pm
    I am fortunate to live in a city and a neighborhood loaded with excellent South American food. On that venerable list, the Peruvian restaurant D'Candela stands out to me at the very top.

    The rotisserie chicken has been justifiably lauded on these forums, and when ordering I indeed find it hard to stray from the juicy, charcoal roasted bird that bursts with flavor. But the terrific offerings don't end with the chicken. Shrimp soup is rich with coconut cream and a well-developed stock, then finished with just-cooked peas, a balancing acid snap, and textural interest in the form of silky eggs cooked in at the last minute. Maduros are crispy at the edges and luscious in the middle - the best I've ever had. A hearty stuffed potato appetizer has buttery mashed spuds surrounded by a light egg batter, and that all encases the classic and delicious combo of meat, olives, raisins and hard boiled eggs. I'm just scratching the surface of D' Candela's menu here.

    With friendly staff, byob status, and an often very jovial Peruvian crowd mixed with families as well as young, attractive people getting ready for a night on the town, D'Candela is as good for a night out with a big group as it is for a simple weekday lunch in a quiet setting.

    Here is the main thread, which is full of praise even if not loaded with as many posts as I'd expect. I suspect there are LTHers who, like me, sometimes take this kind of food for granted because we're so abundantly blessed with it here.

    It has also been lauded recently on a Top 10 Dishes of the Year list.

    And in this discussion about lunch options in the neighborhood.

    The terrific aji served free with every meal is discussed here.

    Rather surprisingly, we have no South American restaurants on our GNR list. To me, D'Candela is just the kind of best in class, family run establishment that deserves the award.

    D'Candela Restaurant
    4053 N Kedzie Ave
    Chicago, IL 60618
    (773) 478-0819
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #2 - July 1st, 2013, 10:06 am
    Post #2 - July 1st, 2013, 10:06 am Post #2 - July 1st, 2013, 10:06 am
    I took my sister to D'Candela last Saturday for dinner. She had never had Peruvian food, and I was anxious to get back since my recent trip to Peru. It was quite busy at 9 PM on Saturday. Most of the tables in the nicer dining room were full and you could smell the rotisserie chicken still cooking when you walked in. We ordered the Tallarin A La Huancaina Con Bistec with breaded meat and the half chicken. I've had the Tallarin before, and it's consistently good. The spaghetti has a creamy consistency, and the cheese/pepper sauce is mild. It has a very strong black pepper flavor. I'm not sure how authentic this dish is because I never saw it at any restaurants in Peru, but I do like it a lot. The breaded bistec is a pounded thin steak and deep fried. It's lightly crispy. It's not meant to be tender per se, but it's not tough. The chicken was great. The meat was really tender and juicy, even the breast meat. The skin didn't have crisp, but it was flavorful and not too salty. You could taste the charcoal flavor too. Comparing this to Norky's and Roky's in Peru, I would say it's closer to Norky's. Their spicy aji sauce is the true star though. Spicy and creamy, but well balanced. Food was great, and with their newish dining room, it's a place I can take company to as well.
  • Post #3 - July 28th, 2013, 2:51 pm
    Post #3 - July 28th, 2013, 2:51 pm Post #3 - July 28th, 2013, 2:51 pm
    D'Candela is one of those go-to places that never disappoints. We go there about once a month and the chicken is so consistently good that you only have to worry about whether it will be great or just really, really good. And the value (a whole chicken with two sides for under $15!) is unbelievable. The savory chicken, sweet caramel-y maduros and spicy aji make one of Chicago's perfect bites.
  • Post #4 - August 7th, 2013, 11:22 am
    Post #4 - August 7th, 2013, 11:22 am Post #4 - August 7th, 2013, 11:22 am
    I wholeheartedly endorse D'Candela as one great neighborhood restaurant.
  • Post #5 - August 9th, 2013, 9:20 am
    Post #5 - August 9th, 2013, 9:20 am Post #5 - August 9th, 2013, 9:20 am
    The chicken is still the star at D'Candela, but don't forget some of their other choices. Last night, we were warned we had to wait 20 minutes for it, but what a worthwhile wait! We enjoyed their excellent papa relleno and ceviche mixto as the chicken cooked, and when it came, it was fresh, hot, and delicious. D'Candela is a warm neighborhood place; it's inexpensive and BYOB. Several dishes are outstanding and many are excellent. The jalea, the cordero (lamb) stew, the fried rice are all very, very good. The menu is big, but it's hard not to order that amazing chicken. I do miss the gratis chicken soup, now replaced by rolls, but the place is still a winner. I definitely support renewal of D'Candela's as a GNR.