vibrant + healthy Peruvian fare
written by the Offline team | photos by @thegreenteablog
What: Authentic, Peruvian-style chicken and other South American specialties.
When: 11a-9p every day
Why we love them:
- Their rotisserie chicken—which is cooked in an authentic, handmade charcoal oven imported directly from Peru—makes the grocery store stuff look sad.
- Despite the name, they have drool-worthy options for plant-lovers and meat-eaters alike, with vibrant salads, colorful wraps, and bona fide sides.
- One of the co-founders immigrated from Peru years ago, so you know they know their stuff.
- Everything’s made from scratch starting at 6am on the daily.
Viva Chicken 101
Forget the sad, dry rotisserie chickens sitting under hot lamps at your local grocer. This is fresh, flavorful Peruvian-style chicken (AKA Pollo a la brasa), cooked in an authentic, handmade charcoal oven imported directly from Peru.
But don’t be fooled by the name—Viva Chicken is a favorite amongst plant-lovers and meat-eaters alike. Beyond their traditional charcoal-roasted chicken, they’ve got a sizable menu full of vibrant salads, colorful wraps, and bona fide sides. Everything’s made from scratch starting at 6am on the daily and the offerings are surprisingly light and healthy.
Their co-founder immigrated from Peru years ago, bringing with him family recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. Boasting a ton of global influence, Peruvian food takes distinct flavors from Africa, Spain, Italy, and China, combining them into something entirely new, yet still familiar. Crispy yucca fries, succulent rotisserie chicken, creamy sauces with a kick–all of Peru’s greatest hits are on the docket at Viva.
It’s a great grab ’n go gem, but there’s also plenty of indoor and patio seating should you want to sit and stay awhile. Their North Hills spot (located right next to JcPenny) is an airy space with warm wood, quiet house music, and uber hospitable staff.
Get ready for a little taste of Lima, right here in Oak City.
What to order
Start with the Basics
Unsure of what to order? B-b-bird is the word. While there are loads of other options, Rotisserie Chicken, Pollo a la Brasa, is the real star of the show here. It’s smokey, juicy, and perfectly seasoned thanks to their skilled-spit masters who roast fresh, all-natural chickens every hour with a secret blend of herbs and spices.
The Pollo a la Brasa is the clear frontrunner here, but the Arroz Chaufa is a close second as one of Viva’s most classic and popular items. It’s a traditional dish that flaunts Peru’s Asian influences by combining fried rice, red pepper, green onion, egg, ginger, and Peruvian soy sauce into a hearty (and delicious!) heap.
Or Try a Familiar Dish with a Peruvian Twist
If a fork and knife feel like too much work (no judgment, we’ve all had those days), opt for one of their signature wraps or salads.
The Limena Chopped Salad, featuring jalapeno bacon, crispy chickpeas and solterito (think exotic succotash with Peruvian corn, edamame and queso fresco), has a devoted fan following for good reason: it’s healthy, yes, but also unique enough to keep co-workers, and their sad desk lunches, incredibly jealous.
On the handheld side, we’ve got the Naked Peruvian Wrap (plus a bunch of other options but this is our fave). Stuffed with organic quinoa, fresh veggies, queso fresco, rocoto mayo, and avocado, this baby is MASSIVE, vibrant, and flavorful. Feel free to add chicken if you’re looking for an extra protein boost.
And Remember That Eating Healthy Has Never Tasted So Good
Under the weather? Their chicken soup, Sopa de pollo, is chock full of cilantro-infused rice, rotisserie chicken, and perfectly-cooked veggies, swimming in a rich, homemade broth. It’ll fill you up and cure what ails you. Trust us, we speak from experience.
Also worth shouting out is their Quinoa Stuffed Avocado. It’s an entire avocado (do we really need to keep going here?), stuffed with organic quinoa and drizzled with rocoto mayo and balsamic vinaigrette. You’ll get all your healthy fats, whole grains, and protein in one gorgeous and de-lish dish.
Step Away from the Pepsi and Sip on Something More Exotic
Sure, you could get a sweet tea but when in Rome, right? Viva makes three signature sips on the daily: herbal limeade, passion fruit juice, and Chicha Morada, a surprisingly fall-flavored drink made with Peruvian purple corn, cinnamon, clove, pineapple, apple, and limes. Pick your vibe, all three are as colorful as they are distinct.
Don’t Skimp on Sauces or Forget About Sides
They might be an afterthought at some places, but here, sauce is a must-have. There are three types (aptly named Red, Yellow, and Green), which range from mild to hot. Try ‘em, mix ‘em, dip everything you can in ‘em. This is non-negotiable.
And these sides play second fiddle to no entree. Everything—from sweet fried plantains to crispy yucca fries and ginger-soy green beans—is perfectly-seasoned, and not to be overlooked.
- The early bird doesn’t always get the worm. Head over for a late lunch (or v early dinner?) between 2:30 – 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday, for 1/4 Chicken with a side -or- the Arroz Chaufa with Chicken for under six bucks, drink included.
- Come here often? Join their loyalty program for freebies.
- Do yourself a favor and ask for Huancaina sauce. It’s not at the sauce bar but it’s an amazing creamy feta-chili sauce that basically goes with everything.
- All the food holds up and travels well so don’t worry about grabbing take-out. It’ll look and taste just as perfect when you get it home (and if you want to pretend you whipped it up, we won’t tell).
- Every Thursday is “Bruno’s Big Chicken Day,” meaning you can score a Whole Chicken + three sides for about $20. It’s enough food to feed a family of four—or just one v hungry person.
- Anyone in-the-know will tell you to mix the yellow and green sauce for the perfect dipping sauce.