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Posted by anonymous on 08/03/2009
Terrible service, but excellent food defines this restaurant. I hadn't finished my dishes, but the wait service was removing the plates from in front of my face. Instead of an enjoyable dining experience I felt rushed and unwanted (this was despite making reservations). Nonetheless, I had bbq lamb that was phenomenal - The portions were very poor (you're going to spend a lot to sate your hunger), but the food is delicious. The decor was interesting and provided an ambient dining experience, but the restrooms weren't clean - One toilet certainly needed to be flushed, and this was after visiting the restroom upon arrival as well as upon departure over an hour later - The floors also weren't thoroughly cleaned and dirt was evident. Ultimately, despite the high-end sophisiticated feel this restaurant attempts to evoke, the poor service and lack of cleanliness leave much to be desired.
Posted by connecticutian on 07/29/2009
My family and I ended up at Chifa by accident. What an amazing accident that was!! We LOVED our meals. Everything was delicious and surprisingly large. We've been to Amada and Tinto and were expecting minuscule "tasting" portions like those sister restaurants sometimes serve. All three of us selected the lunch express option from the menu which allowed each of us to get an appetizer, entree, and non-alcoholic beverage for $18. Expecting to have tiny "tastings," we ordered an extra salad and scallion pancakes. However, the portions were great! And, WOW did we walk away full. For appetizers, the edamame salad is truly remarkable as is their Ecuadorian ceviche and crab empanadas. The scallion pancakes were also truly spectacular. For entrees, my picky 90 year old grandmother ordered the skirt steak and thought it was some of the most tender meat she has had in Philadelphia. I ordered the shrimp noodles which were creamy and amazing: tender shrimp with peas and bacon--sort of like Chinese fettuccine carbonara. My mother selected the beef noodles and thought they were tasty--but, after sampling my grandmother's and my entrees, wished she had ordered what we had. We walked away absolutely stuffed. We will definitely be back! For all the food we got, $18 was a great value!!
Posted by Tyler on 06/03/2009
A caveat: everything in this review should be taken with a grain of salt considering my party didn't get, and couldn't expect, a 'real' Chifa experience: we went on a City-wide event night and didn't have a reservation. Expected a crowd and that's what we got, but more than that we got the feeling that Chifa was a potentially great restaurant from an established great restaurateur still struggling with the same challenges that face a new restaurant with a brand new staff (only, here, a few months after the restaurant's debut without any real controversy to speak of). I assume because we didn't have a reservation we were seated at the bar dining area, which was fine (although I noticed tables open in the regular dining area all night). The bar area was far too crowded due to the city-wide special event, which advertised special drink and appetizer prices until 7. Servers and hostesses couldn't really navigate the crowd because it was overflowing, which meant our seat as far on the opposite end of the bar from the server's station prohibited any really attentive service. We were informed that, because we were eating dinner and not at the bar, we didn't get the bar deal. Again, ok, although it was painful to know I would pay twice as much for pork buns and a beer as people sitting on stools 3 feet away. However, after waiting 20 minutes for water and never having anyone actually take our drink order, it made us wonder why the bar dining room didn't get the same deal, since we obviously got the same slow service. Our server was also helping take orders and serve people sitting on the end of the bar, so it couldn't be that people sitting at the row of tables were paying more to have a server help them. I was up when my wife ordered food but she didn't know what drink I wanted, and no one checked on us at all. Finally asked the table runner bringing our second plate if I could order a beer. She said that she didn't think it was a good idea but she would try. 15 minutes later our server informed us all the kegs had been kicked, I ordered a bottle, and didn't get it until the last plate was served 20 minutes later. We ordered the pork buns, scallops with foam and caviar, duck wonton soup and the special chicken. All the food was great, although for the hype surrounding the (very juicy and tender) chicken I was hoping for bolder flavors. Actually, was surprised by how mild all the flavors were. Hope to go back on a normal night and get the real thing
Posted by Julia S on 04/02/2009
We love to go out in Philly and I thought we'd been to the best restaurants in the city. Now they all kind of pale in comparison to the explosion of flavors we experienced at Chifa. This isn't just another interesting, ethnic, lounge-hip restaurant with nicely done food. It's a culinary trip to a place I had never been, with inventive ingredients and fantastic flavors. If you like Asian and South American flavors and style (small plates), you'll be in heaven. My husband and I ordered the tasting menu and got more than our share as they over-compensated for our particular dietary restrictions (I don't eat meat but love fish and my husband can't have any type of shellfish). It was almost too much food, but we couldn't stop tasting these amazing creations they kept bringing to the table. Usually there are one or two stand-out dishes in a meal like this, but I would be pressed to recommend only a few--everything was great and different from the last. The dishes showed a great attention to detail and lovely presentation, too! Fabulous, fast, friendly service by servers with charm; fine ambiance (though a touch loud for intimate conversation) and it may well be the best food in Philly!
Posted by anonymous on 03/20/2009
thought it was ok. not great. garces is overextending himself. not the same feel as the original homey amada feel. also, the cocktails were extremely sub-par.very disappointing cocktail list and execution!!! expected more.
Posted by Karim Olaechea on 03/10/2009
The combination of Peruvian and Cantonese food is not nearly as weird or random as some might think. Chinese immigrants have deeply influence mainstream Peruvian food, and Peruvian ingredients are used in the Chifas (Chinese Restaurants) of Lima. The concept behind this restaurant isn't just delicious, its smart and well informed. Now to the flavors: fantastic. I have family in Peru, I've spent years traveling back and forth, and I know how Aji Gallina, Ceviche Mixto, and Pulpo al Olivo should taste. Garces has managed to capture the true flavors of Peru while elevating the preparation and subtleties well above what you get in even the best traditional restaurants. Lastly, Garces has done his homework and Chifa serves the best, and only authentic, Pisco Sour cocktail in Philadelphia.
Posted by Anonymous on 03/09/2009
Went with a friend. Ordered the tasting menu. Got something like ten courses total. So that's comparable to what we'd have paid a la carte. The food was good, but not mindblowing or even particularly memorable. Sat in a booth in the back, which was spacious and comfortable. Service was very good. All in all, worth checking out, but probably not worth getting the tasting menu, or the cocktails, which are grossly overpriced and really nothing special.