I’ve been on a never-ending search for high-quality, reasonably priced lunches in New York City for as long as I can remember. When I met up with our editor Tracy last week, we both agreed to seek out a place that wouldn’t break the bank but still be able to satisfy our taste buds. A search led us to La Pequeña Colombia Restaurante (the Little Colombia Restaurant), located in the multicultural neighborhood of Jackson Heights, Queens.
Though under new ownership for two months (according to our waiter), the Spanish-Colombian food establishment has been in business since 1984, so I figured the food had to be decent. While perusing the menu and taking in the sights and smells, we realized that we were hungrier than we’d thought, so we decided to order a few dishes and share.
We started out with homemade meat empanadas ($4.95) and a small order of fried calamari ($8.95). The empanadas were crispy, and had a bit of a spicy, savory kick, while the calamari was fresh, succulent and tender, and accompanied by a warm red marinara-type sauce. Both dishes hit the spot.
Since it was a chilly, rainy day, it was only natural for us to order the lunch special, a large bowl of Consome De Menudencias (8.25)—chicken consommé with a side salad and white rice. Two dressings came with the salad –– I opted for the creamy almost Thousand Island-ish, while Tracy tried the spicy (she said it was tasty but pretty spicy!). The chicken was tender and fell off the bone oh so effortlessly, with the broth’s goodness tying the dish together. Offered every day except Friday, the hot bowl seemed so authentic that a Colombian abuela could have been hiding in the kitchen, whipping up this delicious soup.
Though inexpensive, the fare didn’t come up short on taste. More importantly, I was surprised by the amount of food we received, seeing most daily specials come with more modest portions. With two specials and two appetizers, we had ample leftovers to take home.
What meal would be complete without ordering a Colombian coffee? Not mine. Hey, coffee is their blood, and they do it so well. Who am I to refuse the national drink? The frothiness alone set the beverage apart from any other American cup of Joe I’ve ever ordered. We thought that our server might have mistakenly handed me a cappuccino. Nope. This was regular java, by their country’s standards, with an exceptional look and taste.
While some of the non-special menu items are on the pricier side, there are other worthy lunch special options. I’ll have to try Friday’s Ajiaco (traditional chicken and potato soup, with avocado), or Wednesday’s Sopa De Vegetales (vegetable soup with pork ribs) on my next visit.
If you insist on attending during peak days and times, I hear La Pequeña Colombia is renowned for its Plato Montañero (traditional Colombian mountain platter with either ground beef or steak), Chorizo (sausage), Arepas (flatbread made of ground maize dough or cooked flour) and Entraña (skirt steak).
Service was a bit on the slow side, so if you’re in a rush and want to grab a quick bite, La Pequeña probably isn’t the best choice. We were in no hurry, however, so we didn’t mind the longer-than-usual midday meal.
Ride the 7 train to 82nd Street. The restaurant is conveniently located just one block from the station.
Bienvenido a su casa!
|La Pequeña Colombia Restaurante is just a block from the 7 train.|
La Pequeña Colombia Restaurante
83-27 Roosevelt Avenue
Jackson Heights, NY 11372