Restaurant Review: Franklin Restaurante

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Even though Franklin has only been open since May 1st, it’s already become one of the neighborhood darlings and a popular hot spot in Lima. From the moment we walked into the doors at Franklin, we felt the good vibes.

Franklin Shrimp Cocktail (Photo: AmaraPhotos/Traveling & Living in Peru)
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The highly original concept of Franklin is not lost on me, considering the location of this restaurant is situated on a corner directly across the street from Parque Roosevelt in San Isidro. The restaurant pays tribute to the mid-century (more or less 1940’s and 1950’s), but especially to Franklin Delano Roosevelt (the popular 32nd president of the United States), his wife Eleanor (who was a force in her own right) and Fala (their adorable Scottish Terrier). There are references to these three all over the restaurant….from the names of cocktails and food dishes, to the napkins to the black and white quirky wallpaper in the bathrooms that shows quotes of both FDR and Eleanor and other fun facts.

TLIP team (Photo: AmaraPhotos/Traveling & Living in Peru)

The team of Traveling and Living in Peru sat down with Franklin’s restaurant partners who co-created this marvelous new restaurant venture….outstanding chef, Coque Ossio and renowned interior designer,  Arnie Rottman. The merging of these two minds has brought about the branding mix of decor and food in this wonderful restaurant and bar.

Coque Ossio is recognized as one of Lima’s top chefs, as well as being a successful culinary entrepreneur and a gastronomic consultant. He is also the son of the incomparable chef, businesswoman and premier caterer, Marisa Guilfo.

Arnie Rottman has a successful interior design business both in the U.S. and here in Lima and now he is a restaurant entrepreneur with this new venture of Franklin. He is also a wonderful conversationalist.

This bistro offers New York-style comfort food with an elegant twist….it is most definitely sophisticated comfort food here at Franklin.

Interior (Photo: AmaraPhotos/Traveling & Living in Peru)

Franklin’s decor is considered American mid-century modern design, a style that became popular in a post World War II landscape. Many agree this time period extended from 1945-1969. Clean lines and gentle curves, the abundant use of wood, a love for different materials and designers, rich and opulent pops of color can all be found at Franklin. The decor is chic, vintage and comfortable all at the same time. The illuminated bar area is a sparkling gem. Mirrors on the ceiling above the bar make everything shiny and reflective. Every detail has been thought out and is perfect….from the gorgeous plates and flatware to the white linen napkins to the cozy library area to the right of the bar with some of Arnie Rottman’s father’s books (an extra personal sentimental touch)..and so much more.

The Drinks

Besides the fantastic food we sampled the day of our visit, we also imbibed in some wonderful original cocktails. Diego Macedo was instrumental in creating the specialty house cocktails at Franklin. The bar at Franklin is well equipped with a wide variety of fine quality liquors and exclusive varieties as well. We sampled three of their house specialty cocktails, each one uniquely different from the other.

Franklin (Photo: AmaraPhotos/Traveling & Living in Peru)

In keeping with the homage to FDR, one of their star house cocktails is named Franklin” (S/. 43), a concoction of bourbon infused with bacon, Amaro Lucano (the Italian herbal liqueur), Maras pink salt, Bittermens Burlesque bitters, all smoked with Cabernet Sauvignon wood barrel chips. This cocktail arrived under a glass dome that contained the smoke inside the drink. Once the lid was lifted, the drama took place. To enjoy this cocktail, even more, you are encouraged to take a small bite of the bacon that accompanies this cocktail and then take a sip of the drink.

The Eleanor & Dollar Bill (Photo: AmaraPhotos/Traveling & Living in Peru)

The Eleanor (S/. 39), combined vodka, Aperol, tonic, and an assortment of blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries. An extra special detail and touch were the ice cubes filled with berries. This was refreshing and especially popular among the female members at our table.

The final cocktail we sampled was the Dollar Bill (S/. 38), a very kitschy and vintage house specialty and a conversation starter. The combination of Mezcal, Chartreuse, lemongrass, and ginger, along with a splash of orange and lime juice, and simple syrup. This concoction was decorated with a miniature dollar bill attached to the glass with a mini green clothespin, a genius concept with a nod to the 1950’s era.

The day of our visit we sampled approximately 14 different dishes or items at Franklin. Our overall consensus was that we were extremely pleased with the variety of dishes, the high quality of the food and found everything we sampled to be delicious. When I returned a week later with friends, I found the same level of excellence. There’s no possible way to share my impressions of everything we sampled, but I want to mention some of the “stars.” Franklin has a breakfast menu, and beginning at 12:00 p.m. they have their afternoon/evening menu.

Challah French Toast (Photo: AmaraPhotos/Traveling & Living in Peru)

Franklin serves breakfast every day from 6:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. First to arrive at our table from their breakfast menu was the Challah French Toast (S/. 24) which is prepared with their homemade challah bread. The French toast had a slightly crunchy texture on the outside and a slightly spongy texture inside…perfect for me. The three thick slices were accompanied by a mixture of fresh seasonal berries and small cubes of butter, all topped off with a light dusting of powdered sugar and a generous drizzle of maple syrup. This is one of the best versions I have had in Lima (definitely on my personal top 3 list). French toast goodness!

The Food

Frank’s Benedict (Photo: AmaraPhotos/Traveling & Living in Peru)

The Frank’s Benedict (S/. 32) was another table favorite with a toasted English muffin topped off with smoked salmon, a perfectly-cooked pillowy poached egg and all accented with arugula, edible flowers and lightly bathed in a glorious hollandaise sauce. This was, for me, a wonderfully decadent version of eggs benedict.

The Franklin Shrimp Cocktail (S/. 42) was one of the four appetizers we sampled. Large crispy shrimp along with chalaquita peppers from the jungle were served inside a smoky, grilled avocado and accented with their house cocktail sauce. What a satisfying and unique version of shrimp cocktail.

Wedge Salad (Photo: AmaraPhotos/Traveling & Living in Peru)

One of my personal favorites on their appetizer section was the Wedge Salad (S/. 32). I had not yet found an authentic version of this iconic salad anywhere in Lima, but now I have! The plate arrived with three large iceberg lettuce wedges accented with blue cheese, thin baby radish slices, cherry tomatoes, hard-boiled quail eggs, and bacon served with a homemade ranch dressing. The dressing did not overpower the wedges like happens in many restaurants. I enjoyed this salad so much I ordered it when I returned the following week to share with my husband. He concurred that this wedge salad was excellent.

To be honest, it’s pretty easy to find a decent burger in Lima the past few years, so I was not expecting to be “wowed” by Franklin’s, the New Deal Burger (S/. 42). A house-made brioche bun held lettuce, tomato, a 250-gram Angus beef patty, cheddar cheese, an onion ring and a slice of maple bacon. It was excellent!  I observed many of the other tables ordering this dish.

Braised Short Ribs (Photo: AmaraPhotos/Traveling & Living in Peru)

We were told the Braised Short Ribs (S/. 54) are one of the most popular main dishes at Franklin. The asado de tiara is roasted for 12 hours at a low temperature, along with the natural cooking juices, which rendered very tender short ribs. A rich and decadent aji amarillo romesco sauce bathes the short ribs and is accompanied by roasted baby potatoes and carrots. A very satisfying dish!

As I briefly perused the menu I came across Varenikes (S/. 42).  Varenikes is a Yiddish name. Most people would know them as pierogies. When I lived in Chicago, for many years in November, myself and my best friend’s Polish-American family would prepare these wonderful Polish dumplings (pierogies). I was overjoyed to see them on the menu and was eager to sample them. These dumplings were filled with potatoes and accented with crispy onion and a large dollop of sour cream. For the most part, the texture of these dumplings was “spot on” and delicious. Were they as good as the ones I made in Chicago by the “experts”? Perhaps not, but still highly satisfying.

The Desserts

Chocolate Magic Ball (Photo: AmaraPhotos/Traveling & Living in Peru)

On to the desserts! Many customers order the Chocolate Magic Ball (S/. 34). It is both a pleasure to watch the presentation as well as to eat. This was a very tempting dessert. The heady aroma of the chocolate had us waiting in anticipation. The chocolate ball is made from Veerkade Belgium chocolate. A decanter filled with hot fudge was poured over the chocolate ball which resulted in it melting and opening up and revealing the homemade brownie along with Haagen Daaz cookies and cream flavored ice cream inside of the chocolate ball. This dessert is a great option for sharing.

The Key Lime Cheesecake (S/. 25) was delicious and creamy, and the presentation was beautiful as well. But I found the sweetness of the meringue that was covering the cheesecake to slightly overwhelm this dessert. The key lime cheesecake portion was spot on and tangy.

Chocolate Belga Milkshake (Photo: AmaraPhotos/Traveling & Living in Peru)

I would not typically mention a milkshake in a review, but this was one of the best milkshakes I’ve had in a while. The Chocolate Belga Milkshake (S/. 18)…..OMG! I hated that we had to share this milkshake between the four of us at our table. This mixture of Haagen Daaz Belgium chocolate ice cream, whole milk, and homemade whipped chantilly cream with pieces of brownie nestled on top was decadent and creamy as well as authentic. Franklin is the only restaurant in Lima that exclusively uses Haagen Daaz ice cream as well. It’s not a surprise that Franklin has become THE place for kids to come in the late afternoons after school for their milkshakes and other desserts.

The Roosevelt Hotel & Suites is located right next door and you can access the restaurant via their hotel lobby or at the street entrance. Franklin offers a limited room service menu to the hotel guests. Five complimentary parking spaces are available in the hotel for patrons of Franklin. A parking lot is also located next door and there are only two available complimentary spaces. Otherwise, you pay at the parking lot.

There is nothing “wishy-washy” about my feelings and impressions of Franklin. I loved every minute of it. The food is very relatable. The collaboration and formula between all the partners and the team at Franklin works! This is both high quality and very approachable comfort food. Not to be missed! But do be sure to make reservations.

Franklin

Address: Av. Alvarez Calderon 198, San Isidro

Phone:  751-4243

Capacity:  99 inside/ 34 on outside patio

Hours:  Open every day 6:30 a.m.-12:00 midnight

 

Breakfast:

    Complete (3 options):  S/. 25, S/. 34, S/. 55

    Eggs & More:  S/. 22-37

    Light options:  S/. 18-28

    Bakery:  S/. 5-16

    Sides:  S/. 4-16

 

Snacks & Shares:  S/. 9-32

Appetizers:  S/. 32-49

Soups:  S/. 29-35

Pasta & Pizza:  S/. 39-48

Burgers/Sandwiches:  S/. 34-42

Main dishes:  S/. 46-160

Sides:  S/. 18-24

Kids menu:  S/. 22-26

Desserts:  S/. 12-34

Milkshakes:  S/. 18-19

Fresh Juices:  S/. 12

Water:  S/. 8-9

Coffee & Teas:  S/. 7-15

Non-alcoholic beverages:  S/. 10-20

 

House Cocktails:  S/. 37-45

Misc. cocktails:  S/. 25-45

Wine (by the glass):  S/. 29-40

White wines:  S/. 100-180

Red wines:  S/. 110-420

Sparkling wine:  S/. 120

Champagne:  S/. 370-1,900

 

Cover art: AmaraPhotos/Traveling & Living in Peru

 

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Sheila was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She spent several years in Denver, Colorado at Regis University and lived eleven years in Fort Lauderdale, Florida before moving with her Peruvian husband to live full-time in Peru in 2007. An epicurean at heart, Sheila first became inspired about food and cooking through the fantastic cooks in her Danish family. In her free time, Sheila is a volunteer at an orphanage, is involved in sports, including tennis and spinning, and loves exploring Peru’s incredible cuisine.