I may have pasty white skin and an absurd fear of sharks, but Florida runs in my blood and the beach will always be my home. That being said, the expansion of Pollo Tropical, a Florida chicken chain, to Addison sends a rush of pure bliss from my heart to my stomach.
This Floridian concept prides itself in fresh, bold island flavor using savory Caribbean spices, mixed herbs and citrus. They combine these for rubs and marinades that are the secret behind the tangy kick of Pollo Tropical’s vegetables and meats. Don’t mistake this place for another casual Mexican or Tex-Mex pit stop and miss out on items such as Refresca juices, Rum Punch, and Calypso Beef. If the bright, distinct colors and beach house facade don’t slap Caribbean across your face then go back to that bowl of melted Velveeta and put on your cone of shame.
Pollo Tropical’s menu represents the islands’ melting pot of culinary culture far different than the Mexican flavors Texans are used to. Naturally, all Texans love their meat and this joint does not disappoint. The grilled bone-in chicken is marinated in a blend of tropical fruit juices and spices and flame grilled with much TLC. Clearly, the chicken is the star of this show (as POLLO means chicken in Spanish), but it’s so hard to choose a favorite—that’s why I order them all. One of my personal favorite is the Mojo Pork, a dish slow-roasted for four hours in a Mojo marinade of citrus juices, crushed garlic, onion, wine, and island spices that combine to create tender, juicy meat unlike anything you commonly find around town.
But one does not simply transcend to the island of Caribbean flavors without ordering sweet plantains and yuca fries. Sweet plantains are a cousin to the banana, most often baked or fried Pollo Tropical style to caramelized perfection. Yuca or cassava is the potato of the tropics that comes boiled or fried. I like mine fried and generously lathered in the cilantro garlic sauce.
Speaking of sauce…you thought Cane’s Chicken had the recipe to liquid gold? Pollo Tropical packs a punch of spice and zest with 10 unique signature sauces, including Curry Mustard, Guava BBQ, Pineapple Rum and Cilantro Garlic. Prepare yourself to make several trips, piling your table high with at least five cups of each, and smuggling out bags full of samples (it may feel dangerous, but everyone else does the same thing every visit).
Pollo Tropical provides all the island necessities to create your own TropiChop, sandwiches, salads, wraps, and even drinks. (This is Susie Drink Dallas, so clearly we speak of alcohol here.) Choose a Caribbean beer or add Bacardi rum to one of the popular Refresca beverages, such as tropical breeze, mango peach or superfruit punch.
Dallas may be a landlocked city, but Pollo Tropical makes your beach fantasy come to life. This is their first Texas location, but expect about 20 more to pop up around Texas as diners quickly realize “Life’s better under the palm.”