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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Latin American
Counter service

Sun–Thu 11:00am–10:00pm
Fri–Sat 11:00am–11:00pm

Features Kid-friendly, outdoor dining
Bar None
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx

Adams Morgan
1832 Columbia Rd.
Washington, DC
(202) 232-8888
Granja de Oro
Don’t sell yourself short and only get the chicken

Most of the DC area’s great places for pollo a la brasa (chicken spit-roasted over charcoal) are in the Maryland and DC suburbs. Granja de Oro is no exception—it’s in Falls Church—but it’s also in the District, on the border of Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights, making it a whole lot easier for District residents to enjoy top-notch Peruvian mixed grill.

One thing that distinguishes Granja de Oro is its commitment to go beyond the roast-chicken-with-yuca standards and delve into some serious Peruvian-style charcoal-grilled meats, including rich innards and organ meats like anticucho de corazón (skewered beef hearts), pancita (tripe), and hígado (calf’s liver, which comes pan-fried—a la plancha—rather than charcoal-grilled). In fact, they do a better job of these things than any of the Adams Morgan upmarket Peruvian restaurants. Perhaps shockingly given the storefront, which is clearly all about chicken, even the seafood—well, the ceviche anyway (weekends only)—is good and fresh. Less impressive are the standard Peruvian-Chinese fusion dishes (e.g. tallarín saltado—stir-fried noodles), and you should safely avoid the gyros, steak-and-cheese, and house salad. But you don’t need us to tell you that.

The best way to go is to get the “Parrillada Mixta Granja de Oro,” a mixed grill that easily feeds two people for about $15. The parrillada includes the canonical chicken plus marvelously tender pork chops, challengingly gamy beef skewers, and good chorizo—all of it well seasoned and herbed with oregano and such. The platter comes with okay fries and a delicious salsa, redolent of smoky hot pepper (ask for extra!), that takes things to the next level.

The Falls Church branch has live music on some nights, but otherwise, the interior of each is pretty standard—it’s hard to say “substandard” when you’re talking about a genre where “fancy” means dishware and silverware instead of plastic—but it’s made up in friendliness from the staff. Spanish is a better language of commerce than English here, but they’ll do their best even for non-hispanohablantes. Whatever your language of choice, expect to wait in line—especially at prime time—before placing your order at the counter. If you’re eating in, they’ll bring your tray out to your table when it’s ready (which is generally about four minutes later). Now that’s upscale. For pollo a la brasa, anyway.

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