Restaurant of the Week: KiKiRyKi

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KiKiRyKi, 344 S. Indian Hill Blvd. (at Arrow Highway), Claremont

That dull, gray shopping plaza at Indian Hill and Arrow was updated into a more colorful, eye-catching design in 2013, but even before that, it had a couple of intriguing eateries, among them KiKiRyKi, which I tried at the urging of a friend who’s a fiend for the place.

It’s Claremont’s other Peruvian restaurant, the finer one being Inka Trails on Foothill near Towne. That place has atmosphere and is a bit pricey. KiKiRyKi is cheaper and you order at the counter, but the food seems practically as good.

Before you ask, I don’t know what the deal is with the upper-lower name, which reminds me of Sarah Jessica Parker’s character in “L.A. Story” — you remember, SanDeE* (“capital S, small A, small N, capital D, small E, capital E, star”). Just as confusing, you walk up to the entrance under the sign and a small sign tells you to use the entrance to the left, which is under a sign reading Pollos.

Well, they do specialize in rotisserie chicken, but we skipped it. I had the Lomo Saltado ($9.99, below) and an Inka Kola in a can ($1.75). My friend got the Tallarin Saltado (also $9.99) and, to split, a fish ceviche ($11.99).

The ceviche was dressed in lime, cilantro and slivered onion, with a hunk of sweet potato on the side. Simple and tasty. Our lomo dishes were beef with chunks of tomato and onion, mine served on papas fritas (french fries), with rice on the side, the other with spaghetti. Mine was quite good. The sole disappointment was the dry rice, but as it was on the side I just left it. The Inka Kola was pleasantly unnatural, tasting like a Fanta soda crossed with bubble gum.

People on Yelp like the place too but, alas, none explain its name. In fact, Yelp calls it Pollos Kikiryki.

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  • http://diversitown.blogspot.com meg

    I don’t think they’ve always had lomo saltado (which is a nostalgia dish for me). The last time I was in there, it was pretty much just pollo dorado (roasted chicken), which was perfectly fine but no better than anywhere else.

    I’ll definitely go back and try the lomo saltado. Thanks for alerting me to this!

  • Scott in R.C.

    Nice “L.A. Story” reference! You didn’t mention if they had the “half double decaffeinated half-caf, with a twist of lemon” available.

    “I’ll have a twist of lemon.”

    Thanks for the great reviews!

  • http://www.myspace.com/the_ron Ronald Scott

    I go for the chicken and rice…the chicken is every bit as good as Juan Pollo or El Pollo Loco if not better and the green sauce that comes with it is very spicy…you better have plenty to drink while having it. KiKiRyKi has been there for close to 6-7 years and does very well.

  • Heather

    Hi,

    In Spanish the cry of a chicken is not cock-a-doodle-doo, it’s….kikiriki. Thus, the name of the restaurant is the cry of the chicken. So it looks like the restaurant just spelled it differently. I hope that helped.

    :o)

    [Thank you! I guess this means KiKiRyKi is a cousin to Chino's Cock-a-Doodle restaurant... -- DA]

  • LindaB

    Hi David…I was browsing through your “restaurant of the week” section and I wanted to suggest a couple of restaurants you have not spotlighted as yet (at least I don’t think you have).

    I noticed you reviewed the Back Abbey after they had been open barely a couple of weeks and my hat is off to them to have fared so well in your review. I hope you go back a second time in six months or so to see how they have settled in and how much of that variety of beers will have changed and what food (and prices) stay on the menu. At some point..usually by the third time the first inventory needs to be replenished…new restaurants will finetune their menus according to profit margins and, if they are wise, customer preference. A new owner needs to remember startup costs will take years to recoup and regular customers are a restaurant’s life blood.

    Now to get to my suggestions for review…sorry for the tangent above….I like China Gate in Upland…it’s been there over 20 years..same owners..and it has NEVER disappointed picky little me.

    In Claremont I give high marks to Saca’s. Once again they have been around many years..same owners..same good food.

    I personally am a big fan of restaurants doing what they do WELL. These two places are run by folks who know what their food should taste like and they take the time and effort to make sure it is always good. There are so many places who try to blow you away with hype..I would rather be blown away by consistently good food made by people who take PRIDE in sharing what they do best…

    Thanks for letting me give you my 2 cents…Linda

    [Linda, thanks for your comments. I've eaten at and enjoyed both Saca's and China Gate over the years but you're right, I haven't formally reviewed either. I'm usually writing about new places I've tried rather than the old standbys. I did, however, write a post titled "Where are the great Chinese restaurants of the Inland Valley?" that noted my opinion that China Gate is a little tired. It's still reliable, it's just that it could use some updating. One man's opinion. -- DA]

  • LindaB

    Thanks for your response David. If I may make one comment: I had takeout from China Gate last night for dinner…and leftovers tonight. It was really really good.

    Now I know restaurants tend to get somewhat stale after awhile but good restaurants regroup and refocus especially during tough times. While a lesser establishment will downgrade food to cheaper brands and smaller portions a good restaurant will go back to paying closer attention to detail and NOT cut back on food quality. If you are in the mood for Chinese give China Gate a fresh look. You may be in for a treat. I have no vested interest in this restaurant except I enjoy their food, the service there is always exceptional and the prices are right.

    [Glad you enjoy it. There are a handful of more authentic Chinese restaurants in the Inland Valley, notably two or three in Chino Hills, contrasted with the good but somewhat Americanized cuisine at China Gate, to be more specific about my criticism. -- DA]

  • Jessy Graham

    I am Peruvian, and I have to say the chicken here is the best, so good, that even when customer service is not great…is improving now, is the only place where I can eat it. There is no other Peruvian restaurant that offers “pollo a brasa” same way as in Peru!, the spicy sauce is delicious…and the fries…!!!!