Max Pollo – authentically authentic

by | October 5, 2007 | 24 Comments

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Max Pollo is open every day for lunch and dinner and is located at 2504 S. Harvey (map).

Authentic. Is there a word that is more mis-used among the general American public? I hear it every day at work, “Hey you want to eat at this authentic Mexican buffet down the road?”. Or, “Hey Andrew, we are going down to Tacoville for lunch. That place is crazy authentic, you will love it!”. After I hurt their feelings, unintentionally, by pointing out their ignorance in cuisine, I usually invite them to come join me in a truly authentic experience in Capitol Hill at Max Pollo.

Sure, I probably over-react to incorrect statements. Loose and lose are not the same word, yet I’m amazed at how they seem to be interchangeable among people who e-mail me. Dr. Pepper and Mr. Pibb are not “the same”. That could be an entire article on its own. A plate of greasy ground beef, diced unripe tomato, and a cheap shredded cheddar imitation stuffed in a flour tortilla and presented to the public as a taco is not an authentic Mexican eating experience. Even if it is in a predominately Hispanic neighborhood. Even if the cashier appears to be of Hispanic heritage. No, not even if your waiter brings your ticket to your table and signs it, “Thank you Amigo!!”. Now I am not against these restaurants, don’t get me wrong. There are some fantastic Tex-Mex, Okla-Mex, Latin influenced Mex restaurants in this town that are tasty and that I would recommend (refer to the review of Casa Perico), but authentic they are not.

Max Pollo is authentic. Let me describe the atmosphere. First off, Max Pollo lies in the heart of Capitol Hill, the unofficial Hispanic Capital of Oklahoma City. I and my fellow food adventurers are the only non-Hispanics in the building and usually receive stares from the others eating there. Waitresses speak very little English and are unable to describe menu items outside of , “Um…it’s chicken, it’s spicy, it’s…how you say….fish?”. TV’s blast the Univision channel and some sort of Mexican MTV at amazingly loud levels. If there is a big soccer game on, you will not get in, and probably do not want to go in. Immigration raids are common.

Lets get to the menu. Max Pollo is named after its founder, Max, combined with the house specialty, broasted chicken. I’m not sure what the process is with this type of chicken, but wow is it flavorful. They use this chicken in their taco’s, enchilada’s, tostadas, and whatever else has chicken in it, I just can’t decipher what else has chicken in it. I usually get the Max Pollo dinner which is a half of one of these chicken masterpieces along with some rice, beans, and roasted potatoes. Max Pollo has tilapia served about 20 different ways. You can get it smothered in garlic, peppers, onions, or maybe as a plate of fish tacos. If you have never experienced a real fish taco, you should. Two corn tortillas thrown on a grill to warm up and then decorated with tasty, perfectly fried chunks of what I assume is Tilapia with onions, fresh cilantro, and diced tomato. Yummy! They also have numerous shrimp and octopus dishes. Shrimp cocktails consist of a large glass full of shrimp, octopus, oysters, and other sea creatures swimming in a tomato-based liquid. I have friends who swear by this dish. Also a shrimp ceviche dish where your shrimp is marinated in lime juice until the citric acid “cooks” it.

There are other choices that I cannot interpret that I am sure are equally tasty. Perhaps a fun game would be to play some sort of “Spanish Menu Roulette” where you close your eyes, point, and then eat whatever it is. Don’t worry, they do serve chips, salsa (chock full of what appears to be a chipotle type pepper), and some sort of liquid cheese type product for all us gringos to snack on while waiting on our plate of cultural goodness. After you have finished experiencing a menu choice here you can always go around the corner for a paleta (Mexican Popsicle) to cool off if you ordered the habanero tilapia dish, but that’s another review.

Don’t be afraid to try a place in a part of town as culturally diverse as Capitol Hill or you will miss out on some of the best eats this town has to offer.

Maxpollo on Urbanspoon

This article was posted by Andrew Littleton on Friday, October 5th, 2007. It is filed under:

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  • Lame Larry says:
    November 2nd, 2007 at 1:34 pm   

    I gave this place a try this week. Not a bad chicken! I was a little disappointed in the lack of other selections. If you want something other than smoked chicken or some type of sea food you are flat out of Luck. Hopefully the owner will expand his menu.

  • Andrew says:
    November 3rd, 2007 at 11:06 am   

    Larry, glad you tried Max Pollo. You are correct in the lack of selection. Its definitely a seafood place. If you want good Mexican land food stay tuned to one of my next posts. Good suggestions coming soon.

  • PDB says:
    November 14th, 2007 at 2:46 pm   

    I took a buddy and we had lunch there a couple of days ago. It was awesome! Yes, we were the only caucasion people there but that didn’t seem to matter to anyone! We lucked out and went on a day where all the TVs were on SpikeTV so we got to watch car chases while we talked. I had the mixed tostada ceviche and the fish tacos. My buddy had the max pollo dinner. We loved it all. The cheese sauce and the salsa that they bring out before your food are both really good. You were right about the language barrier. The wait staff definitely struggle to understand any english but we got what we ordered and that is all that matters. I would highly recommend Max Pollo and will be going back myself soon! Thanks for the recommendation.

  • BRJ says:
    February 19th, 2008 at 3:46 pm   

    For you Max fans; I stumbled upon it’s cousin, Max-Burger! Located between 25th and 29th on S. Western. If you have not had a Hamburgesa you owe it to yourselves to try one.

  • Andrew says:
    February 19th, 2008 at 10:01 pm   

    I actually just had the Max Burger review posted. Be sure and comment on your experience there as well. I thought it was fantastic!

  • Steve says:
    April 28th, 2008 at 11:12 pm   

    We eat there frequently. The Hispanics that frequent this restaurant don’t take offence to Gringos so don’t worry. They offer a menu in perfect understandable English if you need that.
    Don’t worry about the language barrier. Just ask for the English menu. Or order the enchilada dinner, you won’t go wrong with that. Let them mix it up for you, and you will have one of each. We have never known them to have an IMMIGRATION RAID, and Max will back us on that.
    Hasta Manana!

  • Israel says:
    July 23rd, 2008 at 12:45 am   


    Max Pollo is great.
    I been there 5 times in two week.
    The food its tasty.
    You have to try the Fried Tilapia, Its realy good.

  • Justin says:
    August 26th, 2008 at 2:47 pm   

    Finally my quest for quality (and cheap) Mexican food in OKC is over. Thank you Max Pollo. This can’t be the only one though.

  • Joe says:
    November 3rd, 2008 at 4:47 pm   

    Not much of a seafood person unless it’s sushi or I cook it myself, so I went for the Max Pollo dinner…delicious! The chicken was in that perfect area between juicy and greasy, and extremely flavorful. My girlfriend tried the chicken enchiladas and they actually weren’t all that good (kind of bland), but let’s be honest–if you’re going to Max Pollo you’re going for the chicken or the seafood dishes.

  • David says:
    June 1st, 2009 at 12:39 pm   

    Great food. The waitress was one of the sexiest women Ive ever seen. Great smile and a perfect body. The low cut top didnt hurt the ambiance either. I would definately recomend it.

  • Wayne says:
    June 15th, 2009 at 3:38 pm   

    I agree with David. I was in there today and the waitress is smoking hot. Great food, great music and a friendly and sexy staff

  • Anon Reader Dude says:
    August 5th, 2009 at 10:59 am   

    Big fan of Max Pollo. Sometimes the music is really freaking loud, other times it’s fine. But the food kicks butt. The chicken is always a good bet.

    On the seafood side, don’t neglect the shrimp dishes. The “shrimp w/ devil’s sauce” (a.k.a camarones a la diabla) is one of my favorite lunches in OKC. About 17 nice plump little sauteed shrimp served with that beautiful, chile-laden red sauce. SPICY! Wrap it up in a fresh tortilla with a little avocado, some fluffy Mexican rice… I’m drooling here.

  • Dave says:
    August 7th, 2009 at 1:29 pm   

    wow, I agree with everyone. Great food, the beans are like homemade. The chicken is very tender and the hot sauce perfect. The music is sometimes a little loud but it is like bein on vacation in Mexico. I cant say enough about the waitresses either. The one during the day, around 30 years old, is nothing less than a fantasy come true. We go ever week for the food and scenery.

  • DW says:
    September 8th, 2009 at 12:47 pm   

    Wow, great chicken. The beans are really good too. Nice out of the way place for lunch. I tend to agree with the earlier reviews, the waitresses are beautiful and very friendly. The music wasnt too loud but does add to the cultural ambiance. I would recommend it highly.

  • Fonz says:
    September 25th, 2009 at 9:14 am   

    Im in love. Great food, great atmosphere, fun place to go. I also agree, the waitresses are the sexiest in town too.

  • Luis says:
    December 6th, 2009 at 2:12 am   


  • wily says:
    December 28th, 2009 at 3:43 pm   

    aki dejando este pos
    para saludarlos y
    pues k decir
    bendiciones para todo
    y para max pollo
    dios esta con ustedes
    pidan la ayuda de Dios

  • Wimpy says:
    January 22nd, 2010 at 10:09 pm   

    Great chicken! Wonderful flavor, the 1/2 chicken with papas,rice, beans & roasted onion, tortillas is a great bargain ! I had to get a to go box as I couldn’t eat it all, and it was to good to go off and leave. Also a word to the wise fellas, the very pretty waitresses are likely to have husbands/boyfriends, while the girls may seem to flirt, they don’t mean it, however their husbands/boyfriends, are very protective and jealous and they do mean it !!

  • emanuel says:
    April 9th, 2010 at 10:02 am   

    q ondaa aki nomas para
    decearles lo mjoor y saludar
    a todos los dl maxpollo..
    no se olviden de DIOS
    acurdensen q DIOS nnk los deja
    solos y les vaa a prosperar grandemente..
    i ps saludos a tdos aia
    dsd aka d saltillo

  • Ron says:
    May 1st, 2010 at 12:45 am   

    A Mexican friend said this was true Mexican food. So my wife and I had Paella. Not quite the same as I ate in Spain, but still delicious. We like it and will keep it for our Mexican food forays.

  • hernandez says:
    July 12th, 2010 at 10:43 am   

    We heard you guys had good prepared beer, however when we went all we got was bad service, our food was cold and the beer was hot!!! You can’t call enchiladas, enchiladas if they don’t have red pr green sauce!!! Wont be goin there again…and definately not recommending it! And by the way we let the clerk know and he didn’t even seem to care.

  • Cult of Nobody says:
    July 24th, 2010 at 9:29 am   

    Odd… I just ate there a few days ago and the service and food was great.

    I always get the chicken though. Maybe enchiladas aren’t their strong point.

  • wayne says:
    October 20th, 2010 at 7:34 am   

    I love the chicken and the green sauce. Im also in love with the wait staff. Very seductive ladies. I wonder if they would be interested in an old gringo like me

  • Michael says:
    June 30th, 2013 at 12:16 am   

    Are you still open?

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