If you’re craving Peruvian food in Philly, you’ll likely have to drive for it. Your options are the Northeast, home of Peruvian-Portugese standbys El Balconcito and El Balconcito II, or City Avenue, where polla a la brasa-chain Sardi’s opened its first Philly location next to a Boston Market, or Upper Darby, where Inka Wall puts out some of the region’s best. But for a taste of that Latin American/Asian fusion closer to city center? Nothing’s filled the hole left by Jose Garces when he closed Chifa in 2013.
That’ll soon change when Miguel Toro — who both co-owns and operates both El Balconcitos with his family — brings his new Peruvian vision to life with a restaurant and pisco bar in the former Serrano/Tin Angel space in Old City.
Right now, they’re toying with something of a similar monicker: Balconcito Old City, but that’s still subject to change. It’ll be the third restaurant by the El Balconcito crew, this one strictly Peruvian — no Portuguese influence whatsoever, which was intentional, “We’re focusing on Peruvian because of the boom happening around the world.” Plus, now he gets to operate with a pisco-focused bar under the direction of bar consultant Nathan Weigert of Aqua Vitae Institute. The food menu you will be similar to El Balconcito’s (still headed by Toro’s step-father René Arroyo), but since there isn’t an entire Portuguese side to worry about here, expect an extended list of more traditional offerings.
Downstairs will go through a bit of a makeover, Toro is shooting for an intensely Peruvian vibe. And as for the upstairs Tin Angel space, he says it’ll be something different, but the concept isn’t fully fleshed-out just yet.
They’re shooting for a summer opening; stay tuned for updates.