🙂 = Easily accessible, large, private parking lot. Extremely casual atmosphere that’s perfect for kids, and fun décor including cartoon llamas painted on the wall. Menu loaded with tasty, authentic Peruvian staples like ceviche, empanadas, yucca frita, and lomo saltado. High chairs and a kids menu available.
🙁 = The restaurant version of The Freakin’ Incan is pretty far out in the northern ‘burbs, so if you’re an ITP-no-exceptions person, you’ll probably want to stick with the food truck. No changing table in the restroom.
Note: The yellow aji sauce drizzled on some of the dishes is a bit spicy – ask to have it on the side if your little ones are sensitive to spiciness.
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that we love food trucks. Food trucks sell yummy, inventive food. They’re usually decorated in fun and creative ways. And they live outdoors, which means they’re usually in an environment that’s kid-friendly. And they go vroom vroom. What’s not to like? So when we heard that The Freakin’ Incan food truck recently opened a restaurant serving the same Peruvian street food as its vroom-vrooming sibling, we jumped on the chance to try it out. Even though it took us 45 minutes to get there, we’re so glad we did.
We arrived on a weekend afternoon to find the place was already pretty packed. It’s a small spot, almost a hole-in-the wall, nestled in a nondescript shopping plaza up 400 North. The first thing we noticed when we walked in was the fun décor. The mural on the main wall is a food truck, with a little window cutout where guests can see the chefs cooking away, and a painting of the cutest cartoon llama ever to grace the walls of an Atlanta restaurant. There was no doubt in our minds that Freakin’ Incan would be a kid-friendly space after we saw that llama.
There appeared to be one server working that day, and he seemed a little flustered by the rush of guests. Nonetheless, we didn’t have to wait too long before he brought us our drink order of water in to go cups, an Inca Kola (a Peruvian soda that Mommy said tasted like pineapples), and a Chicha Morada (a traditional Peruvian drink made of purple corn and spices that tasted kind of like apple pie).
Freakin’ Incan’s menu has most of the dishes one would expect a Peruvian restaurant to offer, and we tried several of them. We ordered: one empanada filled with lomo saltado (a fried pie filled with tender cuts of filet mignon sautéed in a soy sauce based marinade); one empanada filled with Aji de Gallina (fried pie filled with traditional Peruvian chicken stew); a Papa Rellena (a deep fried mashed potato filled with ground beef, raisins, boiled egg, and olives); an order of yucca frita served with 3 different Peruvian sauces (note – the green sauce is the least spicy of the three!); ceviche de camarone (made with shrimp and grouper); and lomo saltado (served with white rice and French fries). Yes, we had a feast. Don’t judge us.
Everything we tried was really tasty. The only gripe we had was that the yellow sauce drizzled on the empanadas and papa rellena was a little too spicy for our sensitive palates – we’ll make sure to ask for it on the side next time. Our favorite dishes were the papa rellena and lomo saltado. The papa rellena was soft and crumbly, with a touch of sweetness from the raisins that complemented the saltiness of the beef-and-egg mixture. The lomo saltado reminded us of a Vietnamese dish called bo luc lac – and if you read our review of the new Vietnamese restaurant Le Fat, you’ll remember how much we loooooove bo luc lac. We were also very fond of the complimentary cancha that came with our meal.
You’d think that we would be full after that huge meal, but we just had to try some Peruvian desserts. We ordered alfajores (shortbread cookies filled with gooey dulce de leche) and vanilla flan (a syrupy custard made of eggs). Of those two yummy treats, the alfajores were our favorite. Fortunately, there were napkins on the table, so we didn’t have to worry too much when the sticky dulce de leche dribble down our little fingers and onto our shirts.
After a meal like that, the only logical next step was to nap in the car on our long ride home. And that’s exactly what we did. Next time we’re in the area, we’ll definitely stop by Freakin’ Incan again. Or we’ll try to find the Freakin’ Incan food truck in town. That vroom-vroom sound gets us every time.